Red Black & Green Barn Ranch
CREDIT: KUOW/Megan Farmer. Read Jenna Hanchard's KUOW piece here.
Red Black and Green Barn Ranch (the "Ranch") is an underutilized parcel of land in Auburn, owned by Seattle Parks. Basketball star Elgin Baylor originally owned the nearly 40-acres of land and transferred it to the City of Seattle but the parcel has been sitting vacant for multiple years.
Nurturing Roots is an incredible Black-led grassroots organization that operates a community farm in Beacon Hill. Through physical toil and love, Nurturing Roots has created a green farm and garden healing space, and runs a farming and education program that fosters wellness around the neighborhood. It is entirely volunteer-run and has been in service to the community for over seven years.
Nurturing Roots is currently leading a collaborative effort to transform the Ranch into a Black-led farm, healing space, and foundation for youth empowerment. Organizing and working tirelessly with community partners for over a year, this incredible cause has gained thousands upon thousands of community allies in support and they are moving forward to acquire and develop the nearly 40 acres of vacant, unused farmland in Auburn, Washington!
Here at King County Equity Now, we consistently elevate racial realism, i.e., the understanding that America’s economic, political and legal structures result in a permanent Black racial sub-caste. Racial realism says if you look at the material conditions of Black peoples (as evidenced by wealth, for example), Black America is not on a path towards equity convergence. There is no magical moment in America’s future (as it is currently constructed) where Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech materializes.
Today, Seattle is presented with an opportunity to disrupt racial realism locally, i.e., to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the Black community in King County RIGHT NOW. All they need to do is honor the tireless work of Black organizers and community builders who’ve already done all the hard work, and transfer the land to Nurturing Roots Farm for immediate activation for community benefit.
Complete a few questions below to share your voice with the thousands of others calling to activate this underutilized property. Transfer the Ranch to Nurturing Roots!
What Black liberation looks like: 40 acres in Auburn, Washington
For Nyema Clark, Black liberation looks like 40 or so acres in Auburn, Washington. It’s called Red Barn Ranch, and it belongs to Seattle Parks & Recreation.
It hasn’t been used in years, but soon Nyema Clark will enliven its soil, and invite people to heal and grow. To reap and sow. She will call this land the “Red, Black and Green Barn Ranch” – to honor the colors of Black liberation. When she works the land, she feels whole. "I feel like my ancestors are talking to me,” she says.
Red Barn Ranch Gets One Step Closer to Black Community Ownership
“People have asked me if I wanted to own it, but no, I want it to be all of ours,” said Nyema Clark, the founder and director of Nurturing Roots, during an interview with the Emerald in October. “All of us should have a share, and that share should never be able to be sold. You could pass it down to other generations, but you couldn’t make money off of it. We want to make a legitimate model that lasts.”
South Seattle Community Farm Pursues An Alternative Vision for Agriculture
Looking beyond Beacon Hill, Nyema Clark and her team from Nurturing Roots farm are hoping to expand and take over Red Barn Ranch in Auburn, which is currently owned by the city and offers 38 acres of untapped potential (you can sign the petition to support their proposed takeover here).