CHICKENS IN THE GARDEN In 2009 a state-of-the-art chicken coop was constructed in the Danny Woo Community Garden. In 2010 14 chicks made this coop their home as the first chicken residents of our urban community garden. Three more chickens were 'adopted' into the family. Providing shelter (the chicken run is now roofed), nutritious food, and appropriate medical attention is made possible through donations. Supporting our chicken caretaking also helps children, who otherwise never have access to a farm, learn about these farm animals. The chickens draw the children to the garden and engage them in learning through hands-on experiences. Furthermore, elder gardeners participate in doing 'chicken chores,' and connect to the children sharing memories of their own childhood experiences in their home countries.

InterIm CDA’s Danny Woo Community Garden

620 South Main Street, across from Maynard Ave South; Contact: Tom Im, tim@interimicda.org.

The Danny Woo Community Garden unites community members of all ages from Seattle’s Chinatown/International District through sustainable gardening, seed-to-plate garden education and community events.  The garden connects immigrant elders with their roots by providing space to practice agriculture that is familiar to them from their homelands.

The Garden is a special urban park in the heart of downtown Seattle. Located adjacent to the City of Seattle’s Kobe Terrace Park, the Danny Woo Community Garden makes up part of 1.5 acre of the largest green space in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District (C/ID). The steeply terraced garden is comprised of 88 plots that are tended by about 65 elderly Asian gardeners. The garden is an important place where low-income gardeners can socialize, get exercise and raise vegetables that reflect their cultural foods of choice: bok choy, bittermelon, daikon, and watercress among others.

Seeds of Change, Roots of Power

In March, 2016, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience opens Seeds of Change, Roots of Power, an exhibit celebrating 40 years of the Danny Woo Community Garden and the social justice movement that created it and sustains it today.

Join us on Opening Night, March 3, First Thursday Art Walk, for a special reception that starts at 6:00 PM. More details here.  Please RSVP here.

 

The following foundations and grants have supported the Garden program in recent years

  • Peach Foundation: maintaining garden staff and programs
  • Schiff Foundation (Children’s Garden Educational Program): supplies for cooking healthy foods from the garden
  • City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods, Neighborhood Matching Fund: repair of walls and the creation of an outdoor cookery
  • Rainier Valley Eats! through United Way of King County: support for AppleCorps, an Americorps position facilitated through a partnership with Solid Ground, to staff this urban agriculture outreach program
  • Central Co-Op: sponsors the annual community pig roast held in July

childrens garden sign

The Danny Woo Children’s Garden first began by offering summertime gardening experiences to children and youth from the neighborhood in 2009. In years past , the program has engaged students from local educational institutions in after school and summer programs.  The Denise Louie Education Center, Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, Puget Sound Community School, Helping Link, and the Chinese Information Service Center participants also have had an opportunity to learn in the garden Since 2011, over 240 local students annually learn about sustainable gardening practices, where food comes from, environmental stewardship, and animal caretaking.   Additionally, students are provided a chance to express connections between food and culture.  Nutritional education has increasingly become an important part of the Children’s Garden program, and today youth and young children learn how to grow, prepare, cook, and eat healthy foods.

Generous support from the Schiff Foundation is providing kid-friendly cookware, portable tables and chairs, and re-usable eating utensils. Soon we will expand the Children’s Garden Educational Program by building a permanent outdoor cookery and classroom through a project called the “The Neighborhood Cookery: Cultivating Community.” To learn more about how you can help with this project, contact Tom Im, Community Planner at 206.624.1802 x17 or tim@interimicda.org.

 

Chickens by Camille Dohrm
Chickens by Camille Dohrm

 

 

The Danny Woo Community Garden is a place where youth and elders connect to the land and to each other. This intergenerational component is a unique opportunity for immigrant elderly gardeners, most of whom do not speak English, to both teach and learn from the children and youth who are learning to garden through the Children’s Garden Educational Program. By incorporating an intergenerational learning component, the Danny Woo Community Garden is helping to spread information about the relationship between the health of our urban environment and healthy lifestyles choices for people of all ages as well as maintaining the tradition of growing food in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District.

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In existence for over 40 years, each year the Danny Woo Community Garden relies on volunteers and donations to help maintain the garden’s vibrancy and to address basic safety needs like crumbling infrastructure. If you’re interested in finding out how you can help preserve this unique green space, please contact info@interimicda.org.

The 1.5-acre garden provides community gardening space, picnic benches, public art, and walking trails. InterIm CDA manages this urban space, coordinating hundreds of volunteers every year to maintain and improve the Danny Woo Garden for everyone to enjoy.  The Danny Woo Garden is located on the corner of Maynard Avenue South and South Main Street .  During the months of March through November, garden work parties are held on the 3rd Saturday of each month from 10 am – 2 pm.  Additionally garden work parties for businesses, community groups and schools also provide critical help.

Volunteers with Chickens in the Danny Woo Community Garden
Volunteers with Chickens in the Danny Woo Community Garden

Chicken Facts

Residents come to plant summer vegetables and flowers, visitors and tourists come to connect to an urban green space. Named after a member of the Woo family that has leased the property to InterIm CDA since 1975, the garden is uniquely tied to the history of the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and other Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants who helped make Seattle the city it is today. Find out more about the history of this unique urban park.

History of the Danny Woo Community Garden

It was a combination of vision and moxie that created the Danny Woo Community Garden.

In 1975 resources specifically targeted for Asian and Pacific Islanders were scarce. The concept of culturally-appropriate services was new, social and health service agencies like the Chinatown/International District community clinic and the Head Start Center were just beginning, and Seattle’s own P-Patch program was only a couple of years old.

Activists and organizations led by InterIm CDA negotiated with local landowner and community leader Danny Woo to take his property on sloping open space in the north side of Chinatown/International District and convert it into a useful, functional space for the residents in the neighborhood.

The vision was simple: a community garden for Chinatown/International District elders work in, to feel the earth in their hands, to plant the foods they missed from their native countries, and, most importantly, to provide social connections, recreation and exercise for the aging immigrant residents.

“Uncle” Bob Santos provided the moxie.

Executive Director of InterIm CDA at the time, Santos proposed an unprecedented private-public partnership that would eventually combine Danny Woo’s property and a city-owned park, Kobe Terrace, into the Danny Woo International District Community Garden.

Santos recalls the day he negotiated the deal, “Danny and Wilma Woo owned the Quong Tuck Restaurant and Lounge, and it was becoming the hangout for the InterIm staff and local community activists. One day I asked Danny Woo for permission to build a garden for the Asian elders on his property above Main Street. But as a nonprofit agency, I told him InterIm could only afford $1 a year for rent. I also asked him, ‘Oh, and by the way, could we have a long-term lease?’ Well, Danny said yes to the dollar, but no to the long-term lease. That was in 1975, and InterIm is still operating the garden.”

People came together to plan and build the garden, terrace the slope, haul the lumber, till the soil, and plant the first seeds. As they did this, they broke down racial, ethnic, and generational barriers.

This tradition continues today as hundreds of volunteers of different ethnicity from all walks of life work in the garden each year.