Seattle Permaculture Guild
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Plans for the Community Orchard in West Seattle are coming along well. All we need now is a supportive community. The Community Orchard of West Seattle is just months away from becoming a reality. Join with the rest of West Seattle in helping our neighborhoods lead Seattle into what our Mayor has called the Year of Urban Agriculture. This is your chance! We’ve been making lots of progress on the planning and I’d like to update you on what has been happening.
Location –Our first orchard will be part of a new permaculture garden at the south end of South Seattle Community College. We feel very lucky that this plot of land has been offered by the college. We are excited about partnering with the other groups who will be contributing at this site, including Seattle Tilth, and a Biochar group. We will have 4800 sq ft for trees and an additional 1200 for fruiting vines and bushes. Whereas this is not a huge space, it will hold at least 30 trees, and more vines and bushes. The college site is open to the public, with easy access and parking.
Vision : Long and Short Term – We are envisioning a network of orchards throughout West Seattle, with the potential of being operated as a member co-op. Those who are members contribute to the upkeep either through volunteer hours and/or funds, and receive a portion of the fruit in exchange. An additional portion of the fruit would be sold locally, to assure sustainability, and another portion would be donated for those who are unable to volunteer or pay. We will plant a demonstration orchard: there will be some easy-to-grow varieties as well as some more challenging to maintain fruits. Classes and seasonal events will be part of the orchard.
Funding – We are in the process of applying for a Large Projects Grant from the Department of Neighborhoods. This is a matching fund based on community involvement. We have had a very encouraging response to our Letter of Intent. However, the success of the project rests on whether there is enough interest and energy for it in our community. If so, we can build a beautiful orchard which provides all those things we have been envisioning – fresh local fruit, a source of inspiration and education for fruit growers, a neighborhood gathering place, and a model for future projects.
If you are interested in being part of this – as a volunteer, class participant, harvester or recipient of produce, etc – please fill out this survey, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7ZV8GNW so we can know and provide the information to our potential funders. Let’s make West Seattle a model for increasing our local food security through community involvement!
Best, Aviva Furman
Founding Director, Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle