In late August, Mayor McGinn announced the growth of our P-Patch Community Gardening Program with an increase of 20 new or expanded P-Patch gardens over the past four years, with another eight gardens in the works.
This growth is a result of funding from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy, which originally provided $2 million for four new gardens. Due to strong partnerships with neighborhood volunteers and community organizations and the leveraging of funds, 22 new or expanded garden projects have been supported with this funding. In addition last December, the Levy Oversight Committee recommended the reallocation of $427,000 in inflationary funds which will support another six projects. In total, 28 projects providing more than 700 additional garden plots will have been added by 2014.
“The spirit of volunteerism in the community and the management of this program has made the public’s investment go much further,” said Mayor McGinn. “As the second largest program in the nation, I’m excited that our city’s P-Patch Program has grown to provide more community members from across the city the opportunity to grow fresh organic food, as well as engaging with their fellow gardeners and neighbors.”
The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy has an Oversight Committee which reviews expenditures, advises on allocation for upcoming budget years, and makes recommendations on Opportunity Fund expenditures. “The Levy Oversight Committee feels strongly that community gardens are important gathering places for our neighborhoods. The key word in community gardening is ‘community,’” says Pete Spalding, chair of the Levy Oversight Committee. “Our P-Patches serve as places where neighbors work together to grow not only food, but relationships as well. That’s why we recommended the additional dollars last December to provide more opportunities for community members.”
The announcement occurred at the Unpaving Paradise P-Patch in Summit Slope Park, one of the projects partially funded by the levy. With a $150,000 investment and hundreds of hours of volunteer time, the garden was completed in 2011. This 37-plot P-Patch is now an urban oasis at the heart of one of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods, Capitol Hill.
“We hear every day from people walking through Summit Slope and Unpaving Paradise what a wonderful space we are lucky to have here,” says Saunatina Sanchez, a gardener at Unpaving Paradise. “I like to remind them that luck had nothing to do with it. This park is an example of a small community pulling together to make the neighborhood they live in a better place for everyone.”
As the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy nears its expiration in 2014, we now have an opportunity to discuss which future investments are most important, and how best to make those investments. The current levy provided $146 million in taxpayer-supported funding of new green spaces, p-patches, neighborhood parks, recreational spaces, and playfields of all types. These spaces provide benefits to communities across the city.
A Parks Legacy Plan Citizen’s Advisory Committee has been formed to advise the Mayor and City Council as to longer term funding options. For information about the Committee’s work and how to engage in this process, visit www.seattle.gov/parks/legacy/committee.htm. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings. This committee will provide a recommendation to the Mayor McGinn and City Council by February of 2014, with a potential levy renewal going to voters in August or November of 2014.
Celebrating its 40 year, the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Community Gardening Program manages 85 gardens with 2908 plots serving 6780 gardeners across the city. The P-Patch gardens serve as neighborhood gathering places that strengthen networks through cooperative ventures; provide a source of pride among residents; are a visible product of land stewardship; and create a healthier urban environment, in addition to providing fresh organic food for gardeners and local food banks.
All Mayor’s Office press conferences, town halls and general public meetings are archived by Seattle Channel. Many town halls and press conferences are also broadcast live to the web. Sign up for The Reader, our office newsletter, at our website. And learn more about your neighbors and the mayor’s activities on our blog.