Summer is the perfect time to spend in the garden! We have a number of exciting opportunities here at GPS and would love for you to get involved. We’re currently looking for interns to play an integral role in the planning and implementation of our 4-week summer camp in the GPS garden and nearby community kitchen space! For more information and to apply, visit our VOLUNTEER page.
From the little team of GPS (Laura, Libby, Tracy & Jeff) a huge THANK YOU to so many in and around (and far from) the corner of MLK & Union; for your hard work, support, sense of community, sense of humor and strong backs! Over 40 of us, ages 5 to 65, worked together, gave of ourselves, gave a Sunday, gave a hand and a bunch of brain power. We volunteered, made new friendships, did strategic planning for our future compost and its location; found some pretty
scary things among the rubble, but also imagined how to reuse and “memorialize” items long buried. If you have ever seen Spirited Away, think the river spirit when he comes to the baths and is cleansed by the removal of old tires, bicycles and toilet bowls (yes there was) buried within him. We broke ground together and also broke bread together, thanks to Cortona Cafe for all the fabulous coffee we could drink, Cupcake Royale for the beautiful miniture cupcakes (they won a few hearts), our generous neighbors for home made blueberry muffins, cookies, vegetables with hummus, and much more!
But wait there’s more! This day would not have happened so smoothly and so well without the very generous donation from our friend Todd Gardinier. Todd is a marvelous landscape and hardscape designer (he does great water features and irrigation too!). Todd donated 2 days of his time and the time of 2 of his work-partners, all their tools and equipment and his bobcat (for leveling and moving the big stuff out and around). We could not have managed it without them! Thank you TODD! I also want to sneak in a thank you to my family. Max for creating and sewing our flags (and installation too), his great camera skills and a full 8 hours of work. My husband Martin for his strategy work and expert packing and hauling techniques (and his 8 hours of labor with a chain saw), and my sister Jane for coming out to be part of the team.
Further, on Saturday, just hours before the wind and rain picked up, the trees received a serious pruning. No easy feat (or I didn’t think so anyway). More donated time and expertise! Aaron Jorgenson, came out to help us weeks before when we tackled the blackberries. He came for an hour and worked for 5. Aaron doesn’t even live in Seattle, but comes for the weekends. We were looking for someone (we could afford) to prune the trees, they were in bad shape (ask the neighbors). Aaron suggested his tree climbing/tree pruning friend Tyler Bergstrom. If you’ve never seen someone prune a tree while swinging from rope to branch with a chain saw dangling from his belt, I highly recommend it. He was a master and I have the photos to prove it. Tyler and Aaron gave 4 hours of their time to us, we thank them!
Announcement & Invitation To: GREEN PLATE SPECIAL’S
Ground Breaking – Work Party
Sunday, February 13, 2011
10:00 AM to 4 PM
The corner of: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WAY & EAST UNION STREET
Wear good boots, work gloves (we will have a few pairs to share) & PARTY HATS (or warm hats…)!
WHAT WE WILL BE DOING
· Removing and bagging garbage
· Helping Todd and the bobcat remove Blackberry roots
· Loading organic debris onto the truck
· Piling rock and cement for removal or “creative reuse”
· Loading garbage onto the truck
· Helping Todd and the bobcat take down the old brick walls and separate brick to be reused in the garden
· Planting sweet peas or early climbers, at the base of our signs (have you notice they are changing with the property?)
WE HOPE TO
· Have the trees pruned; if so, there will be wood to cut and stack
· Level the ground as much as possible in preparation for our next steps
· Share with you our visions
· Introduce yourselves
· Lend a hand
· Share coffee, cocoa and something cold
· Share a snack (we are looking for snack donations too)
· If you have special skills to volunteer we welcome your input!
We will be a teaching garden and kitchen for middle school youth in the neighborhood. We welcome young volunteers and will be:
· Looking for a core team of 6-8 youth 11-15 years old to help us design the garden
Come at 10 and stay until 4 or come by when you can, we’d love to meet you; we’d love for you to lend a hand…
RSVP: On the contact page!
If you can’t come consider donating, click on the donate button to the right!!!
Visit us on Facebook!
The GPS Team
Yesterday (December 30th) I signed the lease agreement with The Madrona Company; so it’s official, GPS has a 3 year home on the corner of Martin Luther King Way and E. Union Street!
As per an official “ground breaking” please stay tuned as the original date (January 2nd) is a bit daunting for us. We have some great volunteering offers and a group of AmeriCorps folks will be giving us a day of their time during Martin Luther King week (of January 17th). They will be working with us (and any of you who can come out) on Wednesday, January 19th. Before they come, we hope to have that first “ground breaking” so the most likely weekend will be Saturday or Sunday the 15th or 16th. We will send out an update soon to finalize this. There will definately be snacks and drinks to keep you warm!
After Martin Liebowitz and I signed the lease, we went by the property (there is a great deal to dream about there) and then had coffee at a fabulous little (really little) cafe on 25th and Union, Cortona. They are just a few blocks from us and serve fabulous coffee (really excellent), pastries and breakfast items (waffles I think) and have some good beers and wines on the menu for the evening. Why is this important (besides the obvious plug for a great coffee place)? Because I met the manager and she expressed interest in what we are doing and just happens to be a landscape designer and vegetable gardener in her other life. She has also volunteered for a good number of groups doing similar work. It is always very exciting to connect with interesting folks!
Speaking of great people and connections, we have been finding ways to collaborate with Coyote Central as we move forward. Coyote is revitalizing the corner of 23rd and Cherry and designing this lovely old building to accomodate many of their classes. We have plenty of common ground and as well as different focuses; we hope to reach out and support a broader group of youth, together.
We have been given a 3 year lease on a piece of property at Martin Luther King and E. Union Street! The generous land owner and developer, Madrona Company, is asking only that we pay the property taxes and overhead (improvement costs, utilities etc.). In the future this property will be developed with the needs of the Central Districts’ community in mind. This property will give us the opportunity to show what we can do and start a good track record for grants and larger donations. We will be looking for the first permanent location for GPS during these 3 years.
The property is small, but big enough to have both a good size garden (we will use planter boxes, raised beds, vertical gardening, etc.) as well as a small building on the property. We hope to get a portable or prefab donated for a small kitchen, warm gathering place and office, as well as an outdoor wood burning oven.
Because of this generous gift, a private donor stepped up to make the property a reality by donating the money needed for 3 years of property taxes. They are a lovely family and believe there is a real need for what GPS plans to do. We will have the funds in December and take control of the property January 1st (brrrrr).
Anyone up for breaking ground January 2nd?? I hear it’s going to be a cold and snowy winter…. So “breaking ground” might be literal.
The property is 4 blocks from Madrona K-8 so we have a middle school very close and one with a demographic in need of this program. As our focus is middle school, this is a wonderful connection. We will be offering after school programs, holiday and summer camps. We hope to create a small youth-core to be part of this initial process; it’s vital that they have voices and muscle in this initial stage.
Treehouse 4 Kids is also now a partner of Green Plate Special. Treehouse is a foster children’s foundation, who have been helping foster children and their families for a very long time: www.treehouse4kids.org. Treehouse is excited about what we are doing and we feel we can offer their middle school foster youth a great program in the future. There is a full time Treehouse coordinator at Madrona K-8, which is another way we can support them. We will be doing a cooking day camp for mid winter break in late February so they can see what we are all about and we can show them how we envision the cooking side of our program to work. From there, we hope to come in a few times a month and do more cooking classes.
So it seems that Green Plate Special is taking root.
Libby Sinclair and I have done most of the foot work up to now. Libby’s connections, educational and community background, intelligence, passion and tenacity have instigated much of what has been accomplished at this time. We are a small team at this point, or will be once there is the financial support for this. In the meantime we are gathering “sweat equity”. There are lots of nonprofit unknowns, volunteer and donation opportunities. Please send me any thoughts or suggestions you might have in any of these areas.
Cedar Grove has said they will help with donations of compost and there are other requests and offers in the works.
Thanks to all of you who have given me advise, connections, support and general interest (and did not waiver when you weren’t quite sure if my head was on straight) throughout this last year! Believing in something, especially when times are very rough, creates the energy to make the change. The power and strength of community comes from that belief.