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Growing Green: An Inventory of Public Lands Suitable for Community Gardening in Seattle, Washington
  • Megan Horst, University of Washington
Planners and policy-makers in the United States and around the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of food systems planning. Effective food systems planning at the local and regional levels offers tools to address some of the major challenges faced by modern cities, including high rates of joblessness, poverty, and hunger along with growing environmental problems related to fossil fuel dependency and resource consumption. Urban agriculture, mainly in the form of community gardens, is one of the many food systems planning strategies that different cities have been using to address these kinds of problems. Urban agriculture offers many economic, social and environmental benefits to cities, including increased food security and equitable access to food, the beautification of previously vacant or under-used sites, opportunities for training and employment of under-skilled residents and youth, and the enhancement of community life.
Seattle is one of many cities across the United States and the world that has established a public community gardening program. The existing 72 gardens, or P-Patches as they are called in Seattle, are popular with residents; many have waiting lists of up to three years. As the city’s population continues to increase and particular areas increase in population density, there will likely be a demand for more P-Patches. The city has already expressed its desire to create additional community garden spaces in some of its key policies and plans.
Securing land for garden space is not an easy feat in a city where pressure for land and the cost of purchasing are increasing. Nevertheless, as in most American cities, there is vacant, excess, and under-used public land that is suitable for urban gardening. Recognizing this, the Seattle City Council recently passed a Local Food Action Initiative Resolution. As part of the Resolution, the Department of Neighborhoods is requested to create an inventory of publicly-owned land that has P-Patch potential. The following report responds to that request. It represents the first comprehensive attempt to identify publicly-owned lands that are potentially suitable for community gardens in the city of Seattle.
Publication Date
July, 2008
Report prepared for City of Seattle
Citation Information
Megan Horst. "Growing Green: An Inventory of Public Lands Suitable for Community Gardening in Seattle, Washington" (2008)
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