Did you know that some of your neighbors grow food in a free community garden? If you’d like to join them, here’s what you need to know.
The name P-Patch comes from the program’s first community garden, which started in 1973 at Picardo Farm in north Seattle. So, the ‘P’ in P-Patch stands for a big thank you to the Picardo family.
Today, there are P-Patch community gardens found in nearly every neighborhood throughout Seattle. P-Patches come in many shapes, sizes, and ownerships.
Currently, the program oversees nearly 90 P-Patches distributed throughout the city. Community gardeners grow food on 14.9 acres of the land. In addition, P-Patch gardeners take care of another 18.8 acres as public spaces, for a total of 32 acres. Mama Mia that a lot of acres!
With the huge and growing interest in gardening and urban agriculture, all p-patches have a waiting list. So, get on the interest list as soon as possible. Here’s are the basic steps to sign up for a P-Patch:
How to sign up for a Seattle P-Patch garden
Step 1: Learn About the Interest List. Since all P-Patches have a wait time, you will want to become familiar with How the P-Patch Interest List Works. Please note that P-Patches are available to Seattle residents only (limited exceptions may apply).
Step 2: Identify Your Preferred Gardens. You are allowed to be on two garden interest lists at a time. It’s best to choose P-Patches close to where you live in order to enhance community building opportunities and allow you to visit the garden often. To find P-Patch gardens near you, visit the P-Patch Map.
Step 3: Sign Up. Either complete the web form to sign up for your chosen gardens’ interest lists or call 206-684-0264, press 1, and provide your name, address, zip code, phone, email, and top two garden choices in order of preference.
Step 4: Wait for an opening. Plot openings typically occur between January and June. When a plot is available, you will be contacted by a member of the P-Patch team. If you don’t respond, you will be removed from the P-Patch interest list.
Step 5: Get involved with other community gardening activities while you wait!
For more information, visit the website for the city of Seattle P-Patch Community Gardening Program.
While you wait for a spot in a P-Patch, some of the following websites may help get you gardening sooner:
Urban Farm Hub compiles an amazing amount of urban agriculture-related news.
Solid Ground- Lettuce Link program operates an urban farm in South Park Seattle where neighbors grow produce for themselves and their communities.
Tilth Alliance works to build an ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable food system.
Alleycat Acres is an urban farm collective that “transforms vacant spaces to create a network of sustainable urban farms that reconnect people to food while helping to increase food security on a community level.”
City Fruit works neighborhood by neighborhood to help residential fruit tree owners grow healthy fruit to harvest and use what they can and to share what they don’t need.
Seattle Department of Transportation allows gardening on planting strips with a simple permit. Click here to learn more about this program
Community members on Beacon Hill are working to design, plant, and grow the Beacon Food Forest – an edible urban forest garden that inspires the community to gather together, grow its own food, and rehabilitate our local ecosystem. They are looking for Beacon Hill community members, local institutions and citywide volunteers to participate.
UW Farm is a registered student organization and always welcomes help and community involvement.
Clean Greens is a small nonprofit organization, owned and operated by residents of Seattle’s Central District. They grow and deliver clean and healthy produce at reasonable prices. They are looking for volunteers to work on the farm and the market. Contact Lottie Cross for more information.
Seattle Community Farm is now being managed by Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS). The farm produces healthy, locally-sourced food for those experiencing hunger. They’re looking for caring individuals who can consistently lend a hand! Tasks can include preparing the garden beds for Spring, weeding, tilling, planting, providing light maintenance to the farm facility and harvesting.