The days are getting longer, choosing shoes in the morning is a low-stakes version of Russian roulette/exercise in futility (rain boots or strappy sandals?), the scent of cherry blossoms is in the air, and the first Pacific Northwest Halibut has shown up at Pike Place Market– all signs point to spring! And what is spring in Seattle without gardening?
Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s in the Arizona desert, the words “sustainable” and “local” in relation to food never crossed my mind. So when I landed in this wonderland of farmer’s markets and rain, the fresh fruit and vegetable choices made me dizzy. Yes, yes, the flowers are also breathtaking, but as a food lover… oh, the vegetables! Vegetables as I had never seen them before! Bright vivid colors, deep dark greens, sweet, bitter, crunchy, juicy, spicy, complex- a smorgasbord for the senses. Don’t even get me started on the tomatoes- I could write a volume of poetry on that topic. When I tentatively dipped my toes into the waters of container gardening, I realized that lo and behold- if you plant it, it will grow! The science projects of my youth entailing a single lima bean and a Dixie cup of soil all started to finally make sense.
All of this amazing gardening and eye toward sustainability has blossomed in the context of a city truly dedicated to local, sustainable food options, nutrition, and creative thinking around how to make that accessible to all. In April and May, The Seattle Public Library will be partnering with local organizations to host an all-ages Edible Garden Series at branches around the city. The series will kick off on Saturday, April 5th at the Gates Visitor Center’s Family Day: Food for Good . The Seattle Public Library and the middle-school program Green Plate Special will be among a host of other organizations at that event focusing on food, nutrition and sustainability. Then we hit the ground running with programs across the system, with a series of programs from Seattle Tilth, story times and science-focused garden programs for kids, presentations from the internationally recognized Beacon Food Forest, information on urban beekeeping, panel discussions with local chefs, growers and food advocacy organizations, and much more. Check the website for a full list of programs and partners.