Throughout Seattle, tucked between buildings or in fields or beside community centers, there are more than 90 community gardens. Popping with color and food crops from spring to fall, Seattle’s neighborhood P-Patches not only feed the families who tend them, but many of the area’s food banks as well. This year the program celebrates its 50 anniversary.
According to the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods program website the name “P-Patch” commemorates the Picardo family who operated a truck farm in the Wedgwood area in the early twentieth century. In the early 1970s, the family let a neighbor use a portion of their property to start a community garden to grow food for people impacted by the economic recession. The community garden space was initially managed by Puget Consumers Co-op (now PCC Community Markets). The experiment was so successful that the Picardos eventually sold the remainder of the farm to the City of Seattle, becoming the city’s first P-Patch.
Today, the P-Patch Program has grown to serve more than 3,500 households in 91 gardens located in neighborhoods throughout Seattle. True to its origins, the P-Patch program continues to grow food for those in need and focuses on supporting low-income and historically underserved community members.
How do you get a P-Patch plot? It’s easy, although patience is the name of the game. Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Learn.
Pick out two gardens you’d like to join from the website’s P-Patch Map.
Step 3: Sign Up.
Either register on the P-Patch interest list online or call (206) 684-0264, press 1, and provide your name, address, zip code, phone, email and whether you belong to any group underserved by the program: Black or African American, Indigenous/Native, Latinx or Hispanic, households making 30% or below Seattle area median income, immigrants or refugees, or people who need an accessible garden.
Step 4: Wait for an opening.
Plot openings typically occur between January and June. But, don’t expect it to happen in the same year you apply. It can happen, but it’s rare.