The produce section of the Food Bank will soon feature fresh rhubarb, colorful leaves of swiss chard, and sharp, lemony sorrel. These will be the first of the bounty of crops grown for us from the Roosevelt P-Patch Giving Gardens this season. The Roosevelt P-Patch Community Garden, located on 12th Ave and 71st St., is home to one of several giving gardens where vegetables are grown for our Food Bank. Last year they donated 143 pounds of produce for our customers.
The Roosevelt P-Patch began 11 years ago when surrounding neighbors wrote a grant to the City of Seattle to convert the previously blighted space into a community garden. Along with the contributions of an anonymous donor and a core group of 10 nearby residents, the P-Patch was born. This group began the initial work of digging trenches for water lines, building a toolshed, and creating raised beds. According to Renee Davis, Giving Garden Coordinator at Roosevelt, the development of the giving gardens has been a real community effort.
Maple Leaf Ace Hardware Store has donated hoses and offers a 10% discount on all supplies purchased for the gardens. The Roosevelt Whole Foods provided meals during work parties last year and has consistently served as a great sponsor in expanding the giving gardens. This year, Renee has switched over from raised beds to large metal feed tanks for the giving gardens because they are sturdier and easy to maintain. The majority of plant starts are donated by Solid Ground and seeds are provided by the P-Patch program. This season, Renee plans to grow beets, bush beans, snap peas, lettuce heads, squash, and more.
During the growing season (May – early October), Renee harvests produce and delivers it to the Food Bank once or twice a week. Renee has learned that if people live too far away from the garden, they eventually stop coming so the P-Patch works best when it’s part of the neighborhood. “It’s a great way to get out of our houses, see each other, and cross this busy street,” she says. “The garden also gives us a sense of accomplishment when we feel like we are making a difference.”