Seattle, known as the emerald city to some, has urban agriculture popping up all over the place.  I’m actually going there in the fall to work with Seattle Youth Garden Works as one of their AmeriCorps garden coordinators.  I’m so excited!  I can’t wait to be part of this awesome community.  Here’s an article that was recently in the PI about urban gardening and food security in Seattle.  Below that are a ton of links to urban gardening stuff in Seattle.  Enjoy!

Gordon, a lead gardener at Seattle Youth Garden Works, holds up the bucket of compost he’s been speading. 

 

Written by Jennifer Langston

for the Seattle Post Intelligencer (June 3, 2008)

Instead of fighting hunger with grocery-store handouts, some see part of the solution in gardens, apartment balconies and front yards.

Over the past five years, the amount of fruit and vegetables grown or harvested in Seattle neighborhoods for food banks and meal programs has doubled to more than 44,000 pounds.

Though just a fraction of what fuels the emergency food pipeline, it will help meet unprecedented needs this summer, given rising prices and lines of low-income people that have ballooned since the holidays.

“It’s really key to our success,” said Rick Jump, executive director of the White Center Food Bank, which has seen its weekly demand increase by nearly 40 percent in the past several months. “We’re all out there striving to find resources.”

Soon, the food bank will start getting apples and plums from West Seattle yards — part of a neighborhood fruit tree harvest program pioneered four years ago by Solid Ground, a social service organization.

There will also be fresh vegetables from gardens worked by Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle, a new volunteer group also offering canning, gardening and tree-care classes at senior centers and local grocery stores.

“We’re trying to increase access to local fresh fruits and vegetables, not only by providing them, but also by teaching people how to grow and preserve their own,” said founder and West Seattle resident Aviva Furman.

At City Hall, conversations are under way to figure out how to expand programs enabling low-income gardeners to sell produce directly to urban consumers.

Generally, it’s illegal to sell from city P-patches, except for a small-market garden program allowing immigrant farmers in public housing developments to sell weekly bags of greens and produce.

Even foodies are struggling to shed some of the movement’s preciousness — peopled by those with the time to debate local vs. organic, or make handmade truffle pasta from scratch — and become more egalitarian.

“Unfortunately, people can get really snotty about where their food comes from,” said Willi Galloway, a Seattle Tilth board member who has worked to spread organic gardening to lower-income communities.

 

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“It’s something that’s fun that everyone can do, and I hope our city becomes a place where everyone has a place to grow their food, regardless of income.”

At a recent container-gardening class at the White Center Food Bank, Regina Bash scooped dirt from the bed of a pickup truck with a yogurt cup and poured it into a bucket.

She planted a sturdy tomato plant in one pot, with salad greens, carrots and radishes sharing another. There were discussions on the best way to pick sweet peas (often) and protect roots (carefully). Experts answered questions on the science of propagation and the art of watering.

At the end, Bash carefully loaded one pot in a backpack, stuffed the other in a rolling duffel bag and headed toward the bus stop.

“I’ve always wanted cherry tomatoes because I love them,” said Bash, who lives in an apartment with no yard. “But I have a balcony … so my little patio is waiting for me when I get home.”

A few blocks away, at newly renovated White Center Heights Park, 17 virgin garden plots will be tended by local residents and food bank clients this summer.

Katie Rains, a former Rat City Rollergirl, has volunteered to grow vegetables and herbs specifically for the food bank.

“They get a lot of produce donations,” said the 25-year-old Evergreen State College student. “But the things they’re not getting are more of the cultural foods — bok choy, Chinese cabbage, cilantro, peppers, eggplant.”

Immigrant farmers at Seattle Housing Authority developments such as New Holly and High Point have been selling produce out of community gardens there for the last decade.

Now, the city neighborhoods department that oversees P-patches and community gardens is considering how to widen the program to include other low-income gardeners.

That could involve making more land available, or creating farm stands or other means to distribute local produce. But a major expansion would likely require partners from the private sector, said Rich MacDonald, the P-patch program manager.

One complication is a state ban on allowing people to profit from public resources. That’s why some have entertained creating market gardens or urban agriculture training programs on private land owned by churches, individuals or other community organizations.

“It’s a nice stable little program, but it’s little,” MacDonald said of the market garden program. “And it’s hard to imagine without a lot of resources that it would get much bigger.”

Paul Haas, development director for Solid Ground, has just that kind of ambitious goal: Acquire 100 acres over the next 10 years for food bank, low-income and immigrant farmers.

“The thing that’s been lacking in this is a great tangible vision, like the Kennedy space program,” he said. “It starts with ‘here’s two acres, we have this site, let’s do it.’ ”

Last week, Emiko Keller stopped by West Seattle’s High Point Market Garden on the first day of the season, picking up a bag of parsley, spinach, tah tsoi greens, radishes, bok choy and salad fixings.

High Point Market Garden

Her family splits a half “share” — which costs $310 for roughly four months — with a neighbor down the street.

“I like the feeling of this kind of community,” she said, after giving gardener Hien Vinh Nguyen a warm hug. “And I like the fact that I get … things I don’t normally see at the store.”

The garden’s proceeds will be split among five families this year, including Nguyen’s. A former South Vietnamese army officer, he spent 13 years in a Hanoi prison where he grew beans, rice, potatoes and vegetables on the prison farm.

In 1994, he immigrated to Seattle and helped build two community gardens at High Point.

“It’s extra money for the low-income people … and the customers are so happy,” he said. “It’s good for all the residents.”

 

Related Articles:

Urban Farming Sprouts in Seattle: Overlooked nooks and crannies colonized to grow food

 

Urban Agriculture in Seattle:

Longfellow Creek Garden

Growing Washington

Seattle Youth Garden Works

P-Patch Community Gardens

Seattle Tilth

WA Food System Wiki

Veg Seattle

Pick Your Own

Marra Farm

Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle

High Point Market Garden

Seattle Green Map Project

Seattle Farmers Markets

Seattle Urban Farm Company

Urban Garden Residence

Ballard Farmer’s Markets

Common Ground

Laughing Crow Farm

Farmhouse Organics

Eat Local Now!

100 Mile Diet- Sustainable Ballard

Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound (SCALLOPS)

Puget Sound School Gardens Collective

Lettuce Link

Growing Food, Growing Community

Seattle Dirt

Seattle Green Schools

Abundant Yards

Community Fruit Tree Harvest

Northwest Harvest

Cultivating Youth

Green Seattle Guide

“The Green Book”

Sustainable West Seattle

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Gardeners fend off starvation in Berlin, 1946.

At the beginning of World War II, victory gardens began to emerge again. Some of these gardens had started as depression relief gardens, others were gardens from the first world war. There were also many were new gardens, carved out of vacant lots, back yards, and city parks. The War Food Administration created a National Victory Garden Program, which set five maine goals.

1. lessen demand on commercial vegetable supplies and thus make more available to the Armed Forces and lend-lease programs.

2. reduce demand on strategic materials used in food processing and canning

3. ease the burden on railroads transporting war munitions by releasing produce carriers

4. maintain the vitality and morale of Americans on the home front through the production of nutritious vegetables outdoors

5. preserve fruit and vegetables for future use when shortages might become worse (Bassett 1981)

Some victory gardeners proudly distplaying their vegetables. 1942 or 1943.

Library of Congress Digital Photography Collection.

Gardens began, once again, to change in the eyes of Americans, just as they had in the first world war. They were no longer just for the poor, or for those who could not feed themselves, but for everyone. Gardening became popular not only for food security, but for it mental and physical health benefits and its benefits to the community. Gardens gave a feel of productivity that citizens on the home-front needed. A garden plot feels much more useful, productive, and important than a vacant lot or lawn. With loved one off at war, it greatly improved morale to have an outlet for the patriotism, fear, and anxiety that many Americans felt about the war. In 1942, about 5.5 million gardeners participated in the war garden effort, making seed package sales rise 300%. The USDA estimated over 20 million garden plots were planted with an estimated 9-10 million pounds of fruit and vegetables grown a year, 44 percent of the fresh vegetables in the United States. (Bassett 1981) In 1943, American families bought 315,000 pressure cookers for canning vegetables up from 66,000 in 1942 (Wessels).

Jeffersontown, Kentucky. The Jefferson County ommunity cannery, started by the WPA (Work Projects Administration). Canning beans and greens raised in a victory garden. It costs three cents each for cans and two cents per can for use of the pressure cooker. June 1943.

During the war years, Americans discovered and benefited from gardening’s many advantages. It was stylish to garden. This didn’t last long, however. Once the war ended, there was an overall decline in interest in gardening as life returned to normal in the US and the baby boomer era began. Many victory gardens were grown on loaned property, which needed to be returned in peacetime.

But urban gardens were not gone…..

Poster circulated by the New York City Work Projects Administration, between 1941 and 1943. Artist: Herbert Bayer

 

J. H. Burdet, National Garden Bureau. 1939-1945.

This is a garden built out of a bomb crater in London, 1943

Victory gardening on the Charles Schwab estate. New York, New York. June 1944.

May 1943, New York, New York. Children of the New York City Children’s Aid Society work on their victory gardens at the West Side Center.

Victory gardening at Forest Hills, Queens. New York, New York. June 1944.

 

Washington, D.C. A resident of the Southwest section and her Victory garden. June 1943.

 

 

Washington, D.C. Vice President Henry A. Wallace in his victory garden. Aug. 1942.

So, wait… food… I can grow it in my yard? That’s like a lot of work right? But you know what? It helps the war effort.

“To save gasoline, they use a horse and plow and humble farm implements. It is anything but organic. We see every kind of pest, worm and disease that can affect the garden. Rick sprays various noxious looking chemicals on the vegetables without wearing a face mask or gloves.

“A victory garden is like a share in an airplane factory, the film opening tells us. It is also a vitamin factory that will keep Americans strong. The film ends on a patriotic note, ‘No Work, No Victory!’ Bear that in mind all you Victory Gardeners and Work! For Victory! A no-nonsense, non-idealized look at what it is like to have to really grow your own food.”

Stock Footage: MOT 1943\: COMMUNITY VICTORY GARDEN\: WS People preparing soil for planting in empty lot of rural neighborhood turning soil w/ hoes. Young adult women tilling soil. WWII 49309081_043

Stock Footage: MOT 1943\: DRAMATIZATION\: PERSONAL VICTORY GARDEN\: * EXT Seed store. Man walking into store CU War Gardens poster man buying seeds hoe saying only way to get what you want to eat grow it yourself. CU Seed packets on counter. Food shortage WWII 49309081_042

1942 Barney Bear’s Victory Garden

Similar Garden Projects

PASADENA, CA – As localization becomes increasingly popular due to the continued rise in gas prices and with the cost of living skyrocketing in the southland, Reginald Miller shows us one mans way of saving money by bringing back an alternate method of putting food on the table the old fashioned way.

Blair Randall, program director for San Francisco’s Garden for the Environment, proposes re-implementing the WWI and WWII Victory Gardens as a way to gain independence from our current food system with Victory Gardens 07+. You can check out the Victory Gardens 07+ project in San Fran here.


Handbook of the Victory Garden Committee War Services, Pennsylvania State Council of Defense. April, 1944

Available as an e-book here.

Use the references below to learn more about victory gardens during World War II:

Bassett, Thomas J. “Reaping on the Margins: A Century of Community Gardening in

America.” Landscape, 1981 v25 n2. 1-8.

Buswell, Sherley. 1980. “Victory Gardens: The Garden Warriors of 1942, Winning through 1943.” City Farmer: Vancouver, BC. 3(2).

http://www.cityfarmer.org/victgarA57.html#vict%20garden1

Goldstein, Libby J. “Philadelphia’s Community Garden History.” City Farmer, 1997.

http://www.cityfarmer.org/Phillyhistory10.html

Very brief history of Philly’s community gardens in the last century.

Helphand, Kenneth. 2006. Defiant gardens : making gardens in wartime. San Antonio, Tex. : Trinity University Press.

Lawson, Laura. 2005. City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America. University of California Press. SB457.3 .L39 2005

Levine, Ketzel. 2006. Tending “Defiant Gardens” During Wartime. NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5435131

Pennsylvania State Council of Defense. Handbook of the Victory Garden Committee War Services. 1944.

http://www.earthlypursuits.com/victorygardhandbook/VGHv.htm

An online version of a gardening handbook first published in 1944 for victory gardeners.

Tucker, David M. Kitchen Gardening in America: A History. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State

University Press, 1993.

Web, Margaret Rainbow. “Grandpa’s Victory Garden.” City Farmer.

http://www.cityfarmer.org/grandpasVG.html

Remembering grandfather’s victory garden.

Wessel Living History Farm. Farming in the 40s:Victory Gardens .http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/crops_02.html

A History of the Victory Garden.

http://www.victoryseeds.com/TheVictoryGarden/page2.html

Fruit From Washington – Fruit Harvest and Other Historic Posters from World War I, the Depression, New Deal and World War II

http://www.fruitfromwashington.com/History/harvest.htm#victory

More posters and a little more history

Fruit From Washington – Victory Gardens.

http://www.fruitfromwashington.com/garden/victorygarden.htm

Exirpts from Bolton Hall’s popular book, Three Acres and Liberty, published in 1918. a lot of photos and posters from both the first and second world wars.

Urban Agriculture photos.

http://homepage.mac.com/cityfarmer/PhotoAlbum42.html

some good random photos of urban agriculture all ove rthe world and throughout history… no other details sorry.

School children gardening 1912-1918.

http://homepage.mac.com/cityfarmer/PhotoAlbum33.html

lots of cute little kids gardening in quaint clothing.

Garden Warriors of Yesteryear.

http://homepage.mac.com/cityfarmer/PhotoAlbum34.html

WWI and WWI victory garden pictures

Wikipedia. Victory Gardens.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_garden

Brief overview of victory gardens.

Victory Gardens: an instructional video

http://www.archive.org/details/victory_garden

The Holder family in Maryland lays out a quarter acre Victory Garden during World War II….

Fenway Victory Gardens

http://www.fenwayvictorygardens.com/

America’s oldest victory garden, grown since 1942.

Victory garden scheduled to open with Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington D.C., fFall 2008

http://americanhistory.si.edu/house/yourvisit/victorygarden.asp

City Farmer just added some more great posts about WWI Victory Gardens

Victory Garden Resurgence

British Pathe News Reels Show Historic War Garden Programs.

Barney Bear’s Victory Garden

 
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