Farmer Frog About us
Farmer Frog started with a food garden at a school in Everett, Washington in 2010. Today we support a dozen school gardens in the state, work with several sites in urban and rural communities, and are developing two farms on acreage. We cultivate programs, school gardens, and hands-on learning to nurture communities.
We operate under the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Foundation for Sustainable Community and are registered to do business as Farmer Frog.
Happy communities thriving in a healthy environment.
Our mission is to end child hunger and build safe communities by empowering people to grow their own food. We foster community-based, socially just, urban, and small-scale agriculture that protects and restores habitat and quality of life for people and wildlife both. To sustain traditions of growing food for generations to come, we provide agricultural curriculum to schools that aligns with state and federal standards for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
We turn underutilized sites into environmentally sound, food-producing farms and gardens.
The video Farmer Frog: Growing the Future gives an overview of our organization.
We accomplish our work with the following resources, methods, and technologies:
Aquaponics is a system for growing fish and vegetation together. The waste from the fish, which are kept in a pool, feeds the plants. The plants filter the waste from the water in the fish pool, and clean water cycles back into the pool. This practice provides protein and vegetables in one space and needs very little outside input. Aquaponics uses 90 percent less water than conventional agriculture.
Conservation agriculture is a set of soil-conserving practices that support soil life, preserve and build soil, and capture carbon into the soil—which is one of the largest carbon storehouses on Earth.
Hoop houses are structures made for growing plants. With hoop houses, we can control the climate and extend growing seasons. They are usually built with metal frames that are anchored into the ground and covered with a transparent plastic sheeting.
Intensive gardening relies on polyculture methods—growing multiple crops in one space. Gardening spaces, which can be small, are planted to their full potential and are highly productive. Intensive gardening methods protect soil health, boost plant immunity, conserve water, and keep pests at bay.
Permaculture is a closed or almost closed food-growing system that uses sustainable and self-sustaining agricultural practices that imitate nature and natural processes and cycles.
Urban farmer educators
Urban farmer educators are individuals who are both well-versed in urban farming practices and able to work with children and youth, showing them how to grow food. With teacher support, urban farmer educators integrate school curriculum into their work with students.
Wild farming is the practice of growing food in natural areas, mostly assisting native edibles and adding only non-invasive plants that produce well while supporting the natural ecosystem. The natural ecosystem remains healthy and minimally disturbed. Wild farming can be practiced in the forests of the Pacific Northwest that have berry-producing plants. There, wild farming practices ensure that the berry plants are able to receive needed sun and rain and that they are protected enough from wildlife that crops can be harvested reliably.
Farmer Frog’s work began at Olivia Park Elementary School in Everett, Washington. Following the economic crash of 2008, many families in the area were unemployed and even middle class families struggled with hunger every day. Homeless families were parking overnight at the school because it was a safe, well lit area where they could spend the night in a car. The school staff, aware of a large weedy area in the back of the school, wondered if they could do something to eliminate the burden of hunger for their students. They knew that Zsofia Pasztor and her husband Zsolt, who had children at the school, were both horticulturists. They asked them to help. Zsofia and Zsolt said yes.
The weedy site had once had a garden but was abandoned and covered with blackberries and Scotch broom. While working to remove over 19,000 lbs. of weeds, the work crew uncovered—perhaps symbolically—a broken garden ornament in the shape of a frog. The team worked with parent and faculty volunteers and built a beautiful garden space.
The project at Olivia Park has since been duplicated at several schools. Farmer Frog helps communities one garden at a time. Collaborating with all willing partners to grow food locally ensures that food desert and food justice issues will have lasting solutions.
Why a frog?
Environmental scientists have found that amphibians, including frogs, are excellent biological indicators of the overall health of an ecosystem. Protecting the environment is very important for Farmer Frog. The name of our organization is symbolic of our purpose—sustainably producing healthy food in a protected environment. Healthy farms are habitat to healthy frogs. Finding frogs among the plants we grow always makes us happy.