Slowing Down

For me March was always the kick off to camping season. Finding a cabin early in the season then in April heading to our family campsite on the Olympic Peninsula for opening day of fishing; May and June to Eastern Washington before it gets too hot and that itch to go and explore is still there. To combat that sense of go, go, go I walk since it’s now my only form of escape. What I noticed this time around, since I have the time and don’t feel a need to rush, I actually pay more attention to my surroundings.

Still image from 10 Parks That Changed AmericaI found a pocket park near my house. A tribute to fallen motorcyclists with trees and placards honoring those who had passed. Walking through slowly I read all the names and couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. Maybe because it was next to a busy street and so more of a place we pass then visit, but not that day. That had me thinking of other places that were once other things made beautiful, made whole. In 10 Parks That Changed America, available through Access Video, two Seattle parks are highlighted, Freeway Park and Gas Works Park. Freeway Park reconnected the city in a new and modern way and Gas Works took a scab and healed it, while still honoring its past. I feel that same feeling along Ruston Way and Dune Peninsula in Tacoma, seeing a new vision and a place of healing after the removal of the Asarco copper smelter.

Cover image of The StopGardens are another thing that have caught my eye more and more, especially the Food is Free Tacoma Project, which takes front yards and turns them into gardens for all. Along with community tables to share food from the garden as well as canned items and other goods. Similar to the P-Patch community gardening of Seattle this creates a sense of community and unity, but also gives strength back to those that need it most. Food insecurity now more then ever is at the forefront of our lives. In Nick Saul’s The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement is one pathway through generosity and connection to view food as a public good. It advocates that access to good healthy food is a benefit to the community as a whole.

Cover image of Practical Projects for Self-SufficiencyAnother thing you can’t help but hear, honestly before I even open my front door, is projects! Gardening, mowing, building, cleaning, repairing, anything involving labor is happening near me every step I take. I see new fences, decks, pathways, flowers, plants, compost bins, rain barrels–just about anything and everything. And while some of these things are due to a quick trip to the hardware store, others are simply the DIY life. Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency: DIY Projects to Get your Self-Reliant Lifestyle Started by Chris Peterson offers a few of the many projects I’ve seen the past few weeks. I also love to follow Tacoma blogger, Liz Morrow, who truly lives the DIY life.

Sometimes taking things slow can lead to amazing discoveries.

~posted by Kara P.

Get Your Garden On!

 Now that the nice weather has started revving up, everyone I know is looking for excuses to be outside. When it comes to gardens, I’m of the plant-it-and-hope school, but if you’re ready for some hands-on advice to get started, or to further your skills, here are some inspiring books and local resources to check out!  Continue reading “Get Your Garden On!”

Growing Neighborhood Gardens

Photo of Shiga's Garden in June 2010 taken by a Shiga's gardener. Used with permission

Gardening is in my blood – my mom is a Master Gardener, and I’ve enjoyed digging around in the dirt since I was little. However, as a Seattle renter, I haven’t had much space to garden until this year when I finally got my own plot in a P-Patch Community Garden. Run by the City’s Department of Neighborhoods, the P-Patch Program (the “P” stands for Picardo Farm, the first community garden in Seattle) has enabled Seattle residents to create beautiful and inviting public spaces in their neighborhoods and grow food for themselves and the needy for over 37 years.

Photo by Abby B. Used with permission.

Shiga’s Garden, my P-Patch (pictured above), was built by a group of stalwart volunteers, myself included, on a garbage-strewn, blackberry-choked lot in the University District that had lain dormant for over 30 years. It’s named after Andy Shiga, a local entrepreneur and founder of the University District Street Fair.

You can learn more about this P-Patch and the 82 other community gardens Continue reading “Growing Neighborhood Gardens”