The seed for GRuB was planted in 1993 as the Kitchen Garden Project (KGP).
Inspired by the work of Vietnam veteran Dan Barker (founder of the Home Gardening Project), South Sounders Richard & Maria Doss began building free vegetable gardens for low-income people in southwestern Washington. The KGP’s mission was to empower low-income people by giving them more control over their own food security and decreasing their reliance on emergency food programs.
A few years later, in 1996, an Elder in our community named Bonnie Turner offered her back yard as the site for an intergenerational community gardening project. This gave our founders an opportunity to establish and anchor a garden program for youth and seniors. In 2001, these programs merged to become Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB). There's a common misconception that our name is Garden-Raised Urban Bounty - but it's not. When we tell folks that, they often ask, "But what's the 'u' for?" The answer is simple. It wouldn't be GRuB without 'u,' our community.
Since 2001, we have built an established 501(c)3 community nonprofit which works at the intersection of food, education, and health systems to grow healthy food, people, and communities. Each year, we directly engage approximately 1,500 Thurston County residents of all ages in relationship-based programming around growing & cooking food. We primarily work with marginalized young people with low incomes and/or behavioral and disciplinary indicators of high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) scores, low-income families, students, seniors experiencing hunger, tribal communities, and veterans.
In 2007, we purchased 2 acres of urban farmland and built a 3,000 square-foot farmhouse. In 2015, we secured an additional 1.18 acres of adjacent farmland in partnership with South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust. In 2016 we supported our partners (including our co-founder Blue Peetz) at Olympia High School's Freedom Farmers with getting four new Career Technical Education (CTE) frameworks approved by OSPI, inspiring a new Career Pathway for the State of Washington called “Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture.”
The same year, we successfully piloted a second urban farm, run by volunteer veterans, active duty military members, and their families. To date we’ve supported the launch of five GRuB-like farm and garden-based youth education and employment programs in Thurston, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Mason, and Pacific Counties and twice hosted Rooted in Community, a national youth leadership summit. In 2009, we were honored with a Washington State Senate Resolution. On March 7, 2018, legislation supporting GRuB-like youth programs was included in a state “breakfast after the bell” bill (HB 1508) which was signed into law.
Our organization and staff have been recognized with numerous awards. Highlights include:
- Thurston Economic Development Council’s 2018 Nonprofit of the Year
- Voted “Best Local Nonprofit” of 2017 by readers of regional newspaper the Weekly Volcano
- Recognition as a 2017 Thurston Green Business
- Cultivation Manager Kerensa Mabwa received a 2016 Peacemaker Award from the Thurston County Dispute Resolution Center
- Lead Victory Farmer Mark Oravsky received a 2015 WA State Department of Veterans Affairs Outstanding Service to Veterans Award
- Co-founder Kim Gaffi received the 2013 YWCA Woman of Achievement Award
- Co-founder Blue Peetz received a 2011 ING Unsung Hero Award
- 2005 Human Rights Award from the Thurston Council on Cultural Diversity and Human Rights
We acknowledge the land on which we reside, farm and gather is the ancestral home of the Steh-chass people of the Squaxin Island Tribe. We thank the many Salish coastal peoples, including the Squaxin, Sq̓ʷaliʼabš (Nisqually), Chehalis, and other nations for stewarding and tending this land with great intention since time immemorial. Through our programs founded in social justice, food access, anti-racism, equity and community building, GRuB is on the long journey toward decolonizing our relationship to the land, its peoples and cultures, true history, plants, and wildlife. Thank you to all of those who came before us, and to those who make our work possible.