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Permaculture at Swan Creek Park

Update!! The first project is currently being installed. Come find the 'Swan Creek Park Food Forest' just south of the Swan Creek Park Community Garden. (close to E. 42nd St. and E. Roosevelt) or get involved or find more info here.

Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human habitat that is in harmony with the earth we depend on. It uses methodologies from traditional and modern sustainable technologies, and seeks to heal the relationship between industrial human culture and the land.  Thoughtful design can be applied to a variety of spaces, from an individual's yard to an entire community.

Permaculture Principles at Work

Permaculture design and techniques offer the following (and more!) to Swan Creek Park:

Overall Design

  • Placement of elements to encourage certain types of activities in higher-traffic areas and leaving intact wilder areas for wildlife.
  • Working with current soils, water hydrology, solar and wind patterns, and wildlife to create spaces that make sense within the natural pattern.
  • Enchantment with the natural world.

Food Forest

There is 1 acre in Swan Creek Park just south of the community garden that is being restored (from abundant Himalayan Blackberries) to abundant edibles in the pattern of a forest. Map here. Though primarily hosted by the group Forage Pierce County, Tacoma Permaculture has supported the project from its inception many years ago.


  • Enhancing the edible and medicinal nature of many native plants through signage and maintenance.
  • Grow food and medicine in a low-input, organic and natural way.
  • Install natural barriers to rampant species by structuring gardens like native ecologies.
  • Provide a source for diverse communities' favorite seasonal fruits that are not available fresh at local markets.
  • Alternate food-growing methods that work well within our forests, such as mushroom cultivation.


  • Roundwood framing of trellises and bulletin boards showcase using park-sourced wood as a sustainable resource.
  • Benches of various local-sourced materials made by community workshops to encourage rest and appreciation of our forests.
  • Trails of varying materials depending on usage; wheelchair access that is made of water-permeable and thoughtful materials.
  • A collaboratively-designed ecologically-built toolshed will be the focus of Summer 2015 projects at the Swan Creek Park Food Forest. To get involved join the Google Group.

Educational Opportunities

  • Self-guided tours and informational signage in multiple languages.
  • Space for people to meet and gather in informal and formal settings.
  • Areas where the community can work to learn and implement together, whether it be gardens, pathways, beehives, structures, or more. 

Permaculture can develop Swan Creek Park into a park where the human community and the natural community nurture each other.

By organizing work projects that provide products valued by individuals living near the park, Permaculture can connect neighbors to nearby natural ecosystems..  When neighbors have contributed time and energy to install structures and plantings in the park they will be invested in a continuing relationship with the park, providing stewardship. 

To find out more about Permaculture at Swan Creek Park and the greater Tacoma community, visit: