Where grass grew, a veggie garden grows in Edmonds

EDMONDS — The first garden took shape last year with the help of two neighbors and two women from Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church.

Carlo Voli tore out the lawn from the front yard of his suburban ranch-style home and planted a vegetable garden to share with his neighbors.

“The food is right here. There is no transportation or storage taking energy,” Voli said. “Anyone can grow food. You just have to start somewhere, even if it is growing food in a planter. Everyone has the power to change the system as individuals, you don’t have to wait for governments to do it.”

As an organizer of an annual clean-up of a neighborhood green belt, Voli felt that a community vegetable garden would be a good use of his sunny front lawn. His neighbors share watering duties and in the bounty.

Ten years ago, following a decade as a volunteer in Third World countries, Voli came to the quiet street in the Firdale neighborhood of Edmonds, where his family had originally settled in the 1860s.

“I was depressed to see what we are doing here,” he said. “I want to live my dream of renewing the environment and growing food.”

To that end, Voli has given up his clothes dryer and does not use disposable cups, napkins or food containers. He bikes to work and takes the bus. When he needs to use a car, he drives a biodiesel-fueled compact.

And he makes it a habit to reexamine habits.

“There is always a new level,” he said. “You always have to look for the next thing. Next, I am getting hens.”

Voli uses renewable energy as much as possible — he has solar panels, a wind turbine and a solar oven. Rain, collected from the rooftop, is used to operate his dual-flush toilets and water his garden.

Voli said he doesn’t look harshly on those who haven’t followed in his carbon footprint.

“I recognize that my being able to help bring real change cannot come from a space of anger, resentment or negativity,” he said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

Diane Kay Thompson, center, listens during their sentencing at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Marysville woman sentenced to 2 years for running over, killing husband

Diane Thompson pleaded guilty to manslaughter. “My home was taken, my daughters hate me and I have no money to my name,” she said.

The Marysville Municipal Jail is pictured Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Marysville weighs mandatory jail time for repeated ‘public disorder’

The “three strikes” proposal sets a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail for crimes like public drug use and trespassing.

A girl walks her dog along a path lined with dandelions at Willis D. Tucker Community Park on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Spraying in Willis Tucker Park resurfaces debate over herbicides

Park staff treated about 11,000 square feet with glyphosate and 2,4-D. When applied correctly, staff said they aren’t harmful.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
County Council delays vote on requiring businesses to take cash

Concerns over information and enforcement postponed the council’s scheduled vote on the ordinance Wednesday in Snohomish County.

Thrill-seekers fly through the air on a ride during opening day of the Evergreen State Fair on Thursday, August 24, 2023, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Evergreen State Fair attendance dips 9% from 2022

Slightly over 228,000 people attended the fair this year in Monroe, down from 253,000 last year and 355,000 in 2019.

Most Read