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Old 03-11-2023, 07:11 AM
Location: Seattle
8,185 posts, read 8,339,959 times
Reputation: 6013


Article link here: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle...ity-gardening/

“Leona Griffith has planted vegetables and herbs near her South Seattle home for more than a decade, growing collard greens and kale in a series of plots at a local community garden.

During the summer months, her plot is a small-scale urban oasis, teeming with life and surrounded by other patches of green, tended by neighbors and friends who frequent the Leo Street P-Patch.

Griffith, the 75-year-old matriarch of the small public gardening space, learned how to tend a garden while growing up in the city’s Central District, where her parents grew and canned vegetables throughout her childhood.

“It’s served as a way to be self-sufficient,” she said. “We lived off the land.”

Griffith and thousands of other Seattle-area residents have for decades grown fresh vegetables and herbs in public gardening spaces known as P-Patches. Revered by residents, the program is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, marking the occasion with events and improvement projects at some of its 91 gardens throughout the city.

The program, which traces its roots to a single garden in northeast Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood, now provides space to over 3,600 gardeners across its roughly 34 acres citywide — enriching residents by engaging them in a productive pastime that improves their access to local and culturally relevant food.

Gardeners also give away much of their yield: In 2022, the program and its partners donated over 44,000 pounds of produce to area organizations addressing food insecurity.

At the same time, the P-Patches help those who frequent them develop self-reliance, promote environmental stewardship and build community, with each garden embodying characteristics of its neighborhood and the diverse cultures of its residents.

Gardeners often share tips for growing food and exchange cultural knowledge about their produce, which in many cases isn’t native to the Pacific Northwest — or even North America. Educational workshops are common, tools are shared and gardeners often see children running about as their parents tend to the family plot.

Griffith, for her part, occasionally plants alongside her daughter and granddaughter, bringing three generations together to pay homage to her family’s heritage by growing some foods her parents once harvested in Madison Valley.

“They planted with knowledge from our homeland that was passed down from generation to generation,” Griffith said.

One of the nation’s foremost community gardening programs wouldn’t exist if not for a neighborly ask some 53 years ago. University of Washington student Darlyn Rundberg acted on her inspiration for a small garden near her Wedgwood home, asking her neighbors if they could spare a corner of their small truck farm, which sold produce in the area.

The Picardo family obliged, and Rundberg got to work, planting beans, broccoli, corn and cabbage with help from students and families at an elementary school bordering the Picardos’ property. Her idea took off, and the Picardos leased the rest of their farmland to other gardeners seeking space within the city limits — eventually selling their land to the city as the national “back to the earth” movement picked up steam after the 1970 declaration of Earth Day.

Seattle officially designated the Picardos’ land as the city’s first community garden in 1973, naming the new P-Patch program after the family of Italian immigrants. The early years were rocky, seeing some gardens plowed over or lost to development projects as other social service programs took priority and city funding fluctuated.

But an advisory council founded in 1979 helped provide stability, and the P-Patch program took off over the ensuing years, growing to dozens of gardens by the late 1990s”.
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Old 03-11-2023, 12:00 PM
Location: Seattle
7,544 posts, read 17,277,534 times
Reputation: 4888
Nice! My friend and I have a P-Patch in SW Seattle (far from me, but the center city ones have big waitlists). It's one of my favorite city programs.
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Old 03-12-2023, 01:53 PM
Location: PNW
1,684 posts, read 2,719,769 times
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We used to rent a P Patch years ago in Seattle and it was the best experience. A great way to socialize with other gardeners and grow your vegetables without having a yard. It was very peaceful and in many ways nicer than having your own garden.
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