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Seattle Market Gardens


Seattle Market Gardens are cultivated by excellent gardeners who grow high-quality produce using only organic compost, organic fertilizer and water.

Most gardeners are immigrants, primarily from Southeast Asia and East Africa. Besides supplemental income, the gardens provide food for gardeners' families and friends, a sense of community, and promote healing for those who have experienced the stresses of war.

Meet Gardeners

Oun Yeav
In 1979, at age 16, Oun left Cambodia and found foster parents in Thailand. She worked four years on their farm planting a variety of crops: corn, peanuts, sesame, beans and cotton. She then married and moved to the Kumput refugee camp in Thailand, but wanted to come to the United States where she hoped to find freedom and opportunity.

With two children, Oun came to Seattle in 1986 where she had two more children. Oun's family has lived in the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) community of High Point since 1989. The High Point community has undergone redevelopment and is now a mixed-income community. Oun has a new house here and plans to remain in this community. While raising her children, she has taken ESL classes through a branch of the South Seattle Community College and participated in citizenship classes at the Khmer Community Center enabling her to pass her citizenship exam. She also volunteers in the community with the Action Team Project observing and/or reporting any community concerns to SHA.

Oun has participated in the High Point Market Garden for over six years. Her excellent skills and leadership have contributed to the amazing productivity of the High Point Market Garden. In 2006, the gardeners were able to provide produce to 50 subscribers on less than three-fourths of an acre of land!

"Gardening is my best friend, my recreation place, and my connection to nature. Gardening makes me happy, brings me lots of benefits like meeting people, exercise and relaxation, and fresh organic produce for my family and the community. I appreciate the community support for the High Point Market Garden."

Interview conducted and translated by Bunly Yun, Seattle P-Patch Garden Coordinator.

Hien Nguyen
Hien was an officer in the South Vietnamese Army and worked with the United States Army in Saigon during the Vietnam War. He was captured and sent to a North Vietnamese prison near Hanoi for 13 years. He worked extremely hard on the prison farm, planting beans, rice, potatoes and vegetables.

After his release, he returned to Saigon and in 1994 had a chance to move to the United States. He came to Seattle and it became his new hometown. He and his wife have been living at High Point for 12 years and like it very much. Hien speaks four languages, English, French, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Hien is very active in the High Point community. He helped to build two community gardens and the High Point Market Garden. He participates in the SHA Action Team to support community improvement and safety.

Mr. Hien has participated in both the High Point Market Garden and the community garden for over 11 years. He likes gardening because he can be outdoors and stay healthy.

"I like the High Point Market Garden more than any thing else because I can work with others, meet with customers, and make extra money."

You can usually find him there every morning and late afternoon during the gardening season. He likes to plant Chinese mustard greens, green beans, tomatoes, lettuces and garlic.

Interview conducted and translated by Bunly Yun, Seattle P-Patch Garden Coordinator.

Kim Ball Der

"I am happy to meet many people at the garden, I don't like to stay home watching TV, and instead I enjoy gardening! It is so boring in the winter season, because I can't work in the garden."

Mr. Kim and his wife moved to Seattle in 2006 and they are residents of the New Holly community developed by the Seattle Housing Authority as a mixed income community. He got involved with the New Holly Market Garden right away and loves to work in the garden growing and cultivating a variety of produce. His favorite vegetables are bok choy, green beans, snow peas and tomatoes. Mr. Kim likes to help other gardeners and assists with garden construction.

Mr. Kim also has garden composting and soil building skills. This past season he buried his garden waste in his garden beds to improve soil fertility. Mr. Kim works well with others in the garden with all steps of production, from watering the plants to harvesting and processing produce for customers.

Interview conducted and translated by Bunly Yun, Seattle P-Patch Garden Coordinator.

Seattle Market Gardens farmers
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