You can grow your own food. We can help.

Rainier Beach High School Courtyard Garden

After a decade of falling attendance and declining test scores, Rainier Beach High School, located in a low-income community near Lake Washington, is turning the corner. A deepening engagement with the broader Rainier Beach community has revitalized the school’s culture, while supporting the community itself. The courtyard garden project is part of this renewed relationship between school and community. It was started last summer by two RBHS students, with support from Seattle Tilth, a community organization that provides hands-on education and healthy food alternatives for Rainier Beach community members. Work on the garden has continued, thanks to teacher Aaron Jefferson, a group of studio art students, maintenance staff, and the continued support of Seattle Tilth. The garden has garnered praise in local publications and welcomed MacArthur Genius Will Allen for a work party in November of 2013.

The courtyard garden's mission is three-fold. First, the courtyard was a wasted space. Students avoided it and teachers shut their blinds rather than look onto the desolate space. RBHS students Elizabeth and Makayla wanted to revitalize the space, creating a productive, green, inviting space for students, thereby increasing overall community health. Second, the garden aims to empower students by providing them with long-term opportunities for direct, hands-on service to their community. Very few have had experience with growing food. Working in the garden and seeing the direct impact of their efforts can be a transformative experience. We will use the funding to engage more of the school community in the garden, enabling students to direct all aspects of the project. Third, the Rainier Beach community is subject to food-desertification. The garden will provide students with a healthy food source on their school grounds, connecting students to the food they consume, and encouraging them to think critically about their food choices.

Where it's at:

8815 S Seward Park Ave
Seattle, WA 98118
United States

Garden type:

school/youth garden

Garden size (in square feet):


Garden beneficiaries:

children and food insecure people

Number of people reached:


What this project needs:

community garden creation guidance

Project leaders:

Alexander Desmarais
Katie Pencke

About us:

KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.  

Join our mailing list:


Connect with us:

Contact us:

Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA
(207) 956-0606