University of Washington Tacoma students have transformed a Kent parking lot into a food-producing greenspace. Paradise Parking Plots is a community garden for refugees and immigrants in the Kent area.

UW Tacoma’s Center for Service and Leadership (CSL) specifically chose the volunteer project for its potential to provide refugees and immigrants with job and business opportunities, in addition to the gardens. An on-site kitchen will be built where growers will learn to package, preserve and profit from their crops.

Carly Dunn, the CSL’s local services and events coordinator, heard about the garden project, and thought it was perfect for her students.   “You have to think about the longevity of the project that you’re doing,” she said. “This [refugee and immigrant community garden] is really unique because they’re going to work toward commercializing the space. It’s a sustained project.”

The King Conservation DistrictKent Hillside Church and World Relief Seattle all teamed up to make this project possible. UW Tacoma’s Center for Service and Leadership (CSL) helped complete the first stage earlier this month with the labor from their volunteers.