New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Seattle’s urban farmers are reclaiming public space

“We are really lucky to have this space to come clear our heads and be together and tend to the land,” Garcia says. (Dorothy Edwards/Crosscut)

A movement to use land for productive gardening will help communities support themselves during and after the pandemic.

By Hannah Weinberger
November 17, 2020


The city has invested in programs to increase food security and expand garden access. These include a partnership with City Fruit to harvest from hundreds of fruit trees across parkland; youth gardening education programs; and farms on parkland like Rainier Beach Farm and Wetlands (which used to be a city nursery, and is now co-operated by community organizations) and Marra Farm. There’s also the 89-garden-strong P-Patch program, which generates 38,000 pounds of fresh produce for food banks annually. The P-Patch program within the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods includes roughly 34 acres of land comprising 3,630 plots used by 3,500 gardeners. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for space far outstripped supply.

“Interest in the program has spiked since the onset of COVID-19,” says Sam Read of the Department of Neighborhoods, with wait times for individual gardens ranging from 0-6 months to 3-5 years. The longest wait times “are generally for gardens in densely populated neighborhoods, such as Capitol Hill and the greater downtown area.”

But people like Henderson believe more of that land should be used for different kinds of public benefits, including food production. Cal Anderson is part of the 6,414-acre park system managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation. That comprises 12% of Seattle’s land area. Of the department’s 485 park sites, 11 feature food gardens and orchards.

Read the complete article here.