Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seattle's wealth of experience in community gardens

This afternoon I have been doing a bit of research on community gardens and I have discovered a fantastic set of resources based around the Seattle Local Government and also the P-Patch system. There, online for all to use, are so many wonderful pdf documents covering everything from how to set up, fund and manage a community garden, to graphs of produce grown per person or per acre or per season for every community garden in Seattle for many years and how much was donated to foodbanks and other charities. There are even templates of labels you can print off, in several languages, for every conceivable edible plant you might want to grow. And there is a seasonal newsletter, packed as full as a goog with all kinds of happenings, ideas and information like these:

2010 Declared
Seattle Year
of Urban Agriculture

Mayor McGinn and the City Council released a joint
press announcement on Wednesday, February 3 to
announce 2010 as the city’s Year of Urban Agriculture.
This exciting campaign highlights the city’s work on
food systems policy and city-community partnerships
being organized around urban agriculture in Seattle.

News from Lettuce Link

by Sadie Beauregard, Lettuce Link, Harvest Coordinator
In 2009, P-Patchers donated over 27,400 pounds of fresh produce to two
dozen food banks and hot meals programs in Seattle. Thanks to many
of you who shared the bounty of your harvest with your neighbors who
struggle to feed their families. As you plan out your garden for 2010,
keep these tips in mind:
• Plant an extra row. The more you plant to give away, the more you
can help.
• Plant just two extra crops. This will result in a larger harvest of
fewer items, which is better for food banks.
• It’s all about veggies. Plant hearty, familiar crops (no exotic or
heirloom varieties): beets, carrots, collard greens, green onions,
beans, peas, cucumbers, pak choi/bok choy, radishes, peppers,
tomatoes, cilantro, spinach and head lettuce.
• Food banks love herbs. Package herbs in small bundles to ease
distribution. Label the packages. Dill, basil, rosemary, cilantro and
bay leaves are popular.
• Plant successively. Many crops can be grown several times during
a season—lettuce, green onions, spinach, radishes, carrots and
cilantro to name a few.
• Grow less chard and kale. Chard and kale grow spectacularly in
Seattle, yet are not spectacularly popular at food banks. Clients
don’t recognize or know how to prepare these greens and they
often go unused. However, if you have time to teach a cooking
demonstration at your local food bank, bring some hearty greens
along.
Want to learn more? Whether you have a row, a food bank plot, or want
to donate from your own garden, Lettuce Link would love to help you
get started. The Lettuce Link website has many resources, including
multilingual veggie signs, giving garden tips, names and locations of
Seattle area food banks and more. To join the many P-Patchers who
nourish their neighbors each season by gardening and giving, contact
Sadie at sadieb@solid-ground.org/programs/nutrition/ppatch/ or 206-
694-6751.

Spotlight on:
City Fruit
from the website at
http://cityfruit.org/

City-grown fruit is a resource for the entire community. Because most
residential tree owners can’t—or don’t—use all the fruit produced
on their properties, much of it falls to the ground and rots. In
addition, much of the fruit grown in urban landscapes is infested with
preventable pests.
City Fruit works neighborhood by neighborhood to help residential tree
owners grow healthy fruit, to harvest and use what they can, and to
share what they don’t need. City Fruit collaborates with others involved
in local food production, climate protection, horticulture, food security
and community-building to protect and optimize urban fruit trees.
City Fruit is in the process of becoming a non-profit corporation with
a 501(c)(3) tax exemption. It is supported by donations, memberships,
sales and grants.
City Fruit has a variety of projects going on, including Phinney
Sustainable Fruit Harvest, Urban Fruit Tree Mapping, Fruit Trees and
City Parks, and hands-on workshops and classes throughout the year
on topics including pruning, fruit tree selection, preserving, and more.
Visit their website to see more about their current projects or send
ideas for new ones, to view advice on growing fruit, and to find out
about upcoming workshops and classes.

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And these are not just community gardens full of boring boxed plots.... these are beautiful, creative, enticing, community spaces for the enjoyment of all.... such as this new one.....featured in the newsletter.

And finally a note from the editors of this 12 page newsletter :

Note from the Editors:
We would like the P-Patch Post to reflect the diversity of gardeners in the Seattle P-Patch
Program. We welcome stories about P-Patch gardeners who bring techniques and crops from all parts of the world, individuals who have stewarded the P-Patch Program over time, novice gardeners and their adventures, etc. Please contact us at p.patch.post@ppatchtrust.org with ideas, gardener profiles, information about crops, recipes, and photos. The whole community will benefit from this wealth of experience.
- Deb Britt, Sue Letsinger and Susan Levine

Create a Successful Giving Garden in YOUR P-Patch

Leadership Handbook

Seattle Gov - Department of Neighborhoods

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