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Free resources for Pierce County (Tacoma area)

 
master pollinator
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I'm starting this thread to share the free (or dirt cheap) resources that I discover for Pierce County. We have quite a lot of amazing resources, like free trees, seeds, and garden classes, and cheap worm bins and rain barrels.
 
Jenny Wright
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https://www.cityoftacoma.org/government/city_departments/environmentalservices/urban_forestry/tree_coupon_program
Visit this page to get 3 $30 coupons towards trees. The only requirement is that you are a resident of Pierce County. It used to be for Tacoma Power customers but it's extended to all Pierce County this year. You have until March 15 to request the coupons and until March 30 to redeem them and I recommend redeeming them at Gordon's Nursery in Yelm where their bare root fruit trees are just around $30.

It's a one time per address thing so if you've done it before, normally you aren't eligible again, but this year they reopened it back up to those who have previously redeemed coupons. So I got three wonderful trees a few years ago and I am going to get three new trees again this year. Yay!
 
Jenny Wright
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Pierce County Conservation District and their Environmental Education program have some great resources and classes. If you don't already get their email newsletters, I thought I'd share.
https://piercecd.org/499/Edible-Gardens-Workshop-Series
Visit this webpage to sign up for a year long series of classes about gardening. All the classes in the series are free and will be online this year.
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Jenny Wright
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If you have a farm in Pierce County, did you know you can get financial assistance for projects such as:
Cross-fencing for rotational grazing
Manure and composting infrastructure
Livestock heavy use area protection at .5 square feet per 100 pounds
Pasture renovation
Cover crop seed purchase
Native and beneficial insect pollinator plantings
Riparian buffer plantings
Fencing to exclude livestock from waterways
Irrigation efficiency
Roof water management

There is also a Renewable Energy and Efficiency Grant program. Put some solar panels on your barn!

If you have a stream, there's a program that will pay you to let them plant and maintain a buffer of native plants between your farmland and the water. Sounds like a great deal!

https://piercecd.org/609/Farm-Improvement-Financial-Assistance




 
Jenny Wright
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If you have forest, the conservation district will send someone out to help you make a plan for your forest's health. We only have a couple of acres of forest but we did this when we first bought our place. They help you identity plant species and develop a plan for the best health of your forest.

They are currently doing a series of webinar classes on forest health.
https://piercecd.org/642/Forest-Stewardship
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Thanks, I see that Seattle has a similar program called "trees for Neighborhoods". I'll bet many other cities have similar resources that we can find if we know to look.
 
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I believe composted humanure is available for free in Tacoma, I think it's called Tal-Grow
 
Jenny Wright
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Tk Gillman wrote:Thanks, I see that Seattle has a similar program called "trees for Neighborhoods". I'll bet many other cities have similar resources that we can find if we know to look.



I'm always pleasantly surprised by how many resources are out there if you know where to look! The city of Lacey had a free tree program as do many other towns and counties.
 
Tk Gillman
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"I believe composted humanure is available for free in Tacoma,"

Is that another Aroma in Tacoma joke, or is it true?  I guess the big thing for me about using it would be all of the pharmaceuticals and toxic gik that might persist beyond treating the pathogens most people would be concerned about. At least if it were your own, you would know where its been and what is has in it.
 
Jenny Wright
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James Landreth wrote:I believe composted humanure is available for free in Tacoma, I think it's called Tal-Grow


Yes, it's called Tagro. I have used it in my garden. Unfortunately it was in the news this past spring for extremely high levels of pfas chemicals. 😭 😭 😭 I'm pretty upset about it but am now resigned to the fact that there doesn't seem to be any where on earth that you can avoid them... Though I am not planning on using it anymore in my garden.

The news article came out right after we had spread several yards of it on a section of my garden.

Then a few weeks later there were news articles about PFAS being found in breast milk and I'm exclusively nursing my baby. But I'm sure not going to switch to formula over it as there are probably PFAS in formula as well. And then this fall the week my dad brought me an elk he got up in the mountains nearby, there was a bunch of news about elk meat in a different area being full of PFAS and they were telling people to throw the game meat away. Though that just seems silly to throw the meat away if it meant people were going to eat feedlot beef instead. If wild elk are full of these chemicals, how many industrialized products at the grocery store are probably contaminated with them too. They haven't tested every single thing yet. It just seems like everything they test turns out to have these chemicals. So yes I can get Tagro or I can get a bag of "organic" compost from Home Depot that hasn't been tested and it's probably loaded with chemicals as well. I just won't know about it. Anyway I'm going to stop ranting now. 🤷
[Breathes deep calming breaths...]
 
Jenny Wright
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This is a wonderful resource in Tacoma that I'd love to volunteer with some day. They do preservation parties with excess food (gleaned apples, etc) and the food is donated to those who need it.  Lots of educational resources for food preservation too. The following is from their website, preservefoods.blogspot.com :

The Center for Food Preservation Arts (CFPA) is a community resource grown from an awareness of the fragile nature of our food supply.  Founder Hal Meng shares, "After the events of Hurricane Katrina, and disasters closer to home like the 530 Mudslide in the Oso area,  I became aware that our economy is very fragile particularly around the food system.  Our ‘just in time’ delivery system has only about 72 hours’ worth of food available in any store.  And our current system is unjust and unequal, leaving far too many without the opportunity to access a sufficient amount of healthy food, even in the best of times.

"I learned that resilient communities have food systems that are inherently more just and equitable because they localize food production, diversify distribution, and reduce waste while valuing contributions from every member of the community.  

"This is how things used to work.  The work we do seeks to cultivate resilience by bringing back practices that used to be common."  

“Our mission is to work very locally to re-center the food system by addressing food insecurity and waste. The Center for Food Preservation Arts strengthens our community by creating opportunities for people of different abilities, socio-economic statuses, cultural, and racial backgrounds to come together around the shared experience of food preservation.

Services available include:
Educational demonstrations and hands-on workshops in food preservation and family nutrition both on site and as outreach. (learn more under the EDUCATION page)
Activities that support local emergency food programs.  Our Preservin' for the Hungry, for example, operates under WSDA permits to produce jams and apple sauces that can be distributed to those in need. (learn more under the SUPPORT page)
Provide use of commercial kitchens for neighborhoods and groups to hold Canning  and Preserving Parties.
 
Tk Gillman
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Jenny Wright wrote:This is a wonderful resource on Tacoma that I'd love to volunteer with some day. They do preservation parties with excess food (gleaned apples, etc) and the food is donated to those who need it.  Lots of educational resources for food preservation too. The following is from their website, preservefoods.blogspot.com .



Not only keeping the food from going to waste, but getting it to those who need it and teaching them how to preserve food for the future. This sounds like a great resource.
 
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