A group of Mount Rainier residents has begun to transform the city-managed 31st St park from a mostly vacant lot into a beautiful, biodiverse food forest that will feed the city’s residents and wildlife for decades to come.
Everything being planted provides food for birds, pollinators, or humans. The plantings use a permaculture practice where beds are designed to follow and capture the natural flow of water in the park and to conserve it for the plants. So far, volunteers have formed the swales required for this technique, planted shrubs, trees, and perennials in the berms, and dug the adjoining trenches, which are filled with brush and covered with wood chips. A large area at the bottom of the park has been cleared for a paw-paw patch and a native grass maze.
Next steps will happen gradually, as we continue to keep ourselves socially distant. They include planting additional perennials in the berms; establishing natural play and seating areas; and adding educational signs, a blog designed to provide additional information, and a nature-themed Little Free Library.
Please come by and take a look at what’s going on, and respond offline if you have suggestions or questions, or would like to participate in long-term care of the park.
Also, please note that this is one piece of the larger Native Plant Network that City Councilmember and neighbor Luke Chesek is trying to create for Mount Rainier. If you’d like to learn more about the bigger picture, please email him at LChesek@mountrainiermd.org.