Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where it all "starts"

In one month (all before spring is officially here) we've seen a host of gardening projects pop up around the Sound. The City of Seattle declared 2010 the Year of Urban Agriculture, Will Allen wowed the town, The Garden Project began, and a day of gardening through Spring into Bed is in the works - just to name a few.

Personally, I've begun to experience the power of community projects and gardening with a Wallingford neighborhood group - Growing Food, Growing Community, a subset of Sustainable Wallingford. Take a backyard greenhouse, dynamic neighbors, seeds, soil, labor, and love and you find the origin of tons (literally, tons) of fresh produce for Seattle food banks.

In 2009, Cyrus Appell, Abby Klingbeil, and other Wallingford volunteers approached Lettuce Link with a grand idea -- to grow vegetable starts in Cyrus' backyard greenhouse for use at Lettuce Link's Giving Garden at Marra Farm and to distribute to Giving Gardens around the city.

Over the spring, they grew approximately 2,500 starts. This one greenhouse was the origin of a good percentage of the 27,000 pounds of fresh produce that P-Patch gardeners grew and donated to Seattle food banks in 2009.

With Sue Hartman and a host of great volunteers on board for 2010, they're gearing up for the coming season. Last Saturday, volunteers met at Solid Ground to talk logistics, inspiration and seed starting. Volunteers will be growing peas, lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs (to name a few) for P-Patch giving gardeners this season.

There's clearly power in community and gardening. One greenhouse, a handful of volunteers, a bunch of seeds, and voila - a start of food for those who really need it.

Lettuce Link also receives starts from P-Patch gardeners, Seattle schools, and Seattle Tilth among others. Would you like to grow starts for Lettuce Link and Seattle's giving gardeners? Let us know! We'd love to hear from you.

-Sadie Beauregard, Lettuce Link, Harvest VISTA
Nicole Brodeur of the Seattle Times profiled the greenhouse group last summer. Read her great column, "Gardening in Tough Times", from June 12, 2009.

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