Every Tuesday evening from mid-April to October, a group of dedicated volunteer gardeners gather at the Interbay P-Patch to plant, weed and harvest food for people who are hungry.
Supported by Solid Ground’s Lettuce Link program, the Giving Garden at Interbay has several P-Patch plots dedicated solely to growing fresh fruit and veggies for local food banks. These food bank plots yield approximately 5,000 lbs of fresh, organic produce each season—all of which is donated to the Ballard Food Bank, Mary’s Place and St. Martin’s on Westlake.
Master gardeners Deb Rock and Jude Berman both garden at Interbay and co-coordinate the Food Bank Gardening Program there. They also spearhead the Tuesday night work parties—enthusiastically sharing their passion for “gardening while doing good” with a core group of volunteers. Rock has been a food bank gardener at Interbay for more than a decade, and Berman joined the program in 2004.
Last Tuesday, about a dozen volunteers braved the temperamental spring Seattle weather to help plant a huge donation of lettuce starts that had come in earlier that day.
Berman says that volunteers show up each week for a variety of reasons. Some live in apartments and have no garden of their own. Some are new gardeners eager to learn from seasoned pros. Some are students from Ballard High’s horticulture program; others have their own P-Patch plots at Interbay and simply want to be part of the good work going on.
“No matter what brings them here, after they are here, they fall in love with the garden, and they stay,” Berman said. “This isn’t just about growing food for a salad. There’s a critical need in this community—especially now. We’re feeding people.”
Lettuce Link supports P-Patch food bank gardeners with seeds, starts and volunteer support, as well as with help coordinating delivery to the food banks. Lettuce Link works with more than 40 P-Patches like Interbay throughout the city. Combined, these Giving Gardens bring in nearly 28,000 lbs of produce each year.
Work parties at the Interbay P-Patch are held every Tuesday evening from 5:30 until sundown throughout the growing season. At the end of each work party, the food bank gardeners usually gather in the beautiful Interbay patio space to share ideas, a glass of wine and perhaps a nibble of something fresh from the garden.
Everyone is welcome, whether you are a master gardener or a novice just starting out. Just stop by anytime after 5:30. The Interbay P-Patch is located at 2452 15th Ave W (15th Avenue W. and W. Wheeler Street).
You can email Jude about volunteering on Tuesday evenings at Interbay, or about food bank gardening in general.
To get involved with other P-Patch Giving Gardens throughout the city, contact Lettuce Link.