Area of Study
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
This summer, I researched the plants, fungi, and people of Tacoma’s Swan Creek Park Food Forest (SCPFF) in order to allow the site to tell its own story through the histories in which the local plants and people are both rooted. My overall goal was to unearth the submerged influences that have shaped the SCPFF which, in their exposure, can create an approach to sustainable community building that is inclusive of multiple cultural identities, as well as respectful of the sovereignty of those identities.
I began my investigation with plants and fungi that are indigenous to the area, with a focus on how they were used by the First People of Cascadia. The Puyallup Tribe Indian Reservation’s boundaries used to include Swan Creek Park, and honoring and promoting awareness of this history is integral to the overall ethical development of the site. I also researched local native culture as it exists today, highlighting Native American food sovereignty projects in the Puget Sound area that share a mission of promoting native traditional foods and plants.
I examined how waves of immigration added context and complexity to the SCPFF site as it stands today, including early European settlers and today's Ukrainian diaspora. Finally, I made recommendations for ethical development and cultural sensitivity.
Meschi, Renee, "People, Plants, and Fungi: Examining the Ecological and Social Landscapes of the Swan Creek Park Food Forest" (2014). Summer Research. 220.
University of Puget Sound
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