West Seattle Blog... » Sustainable West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 28 Nov 2014 02:06:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Sustainable West Seattle presents awards, celebrates a busy year http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/sustainable-west-seattle-presents-awards-celebrates-a-busy-year/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/sustainable-west-seattle-presents-awards-celebrates-a-busy-year/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 04:27:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283206

This year, Sustainable West Seattle members and friends headed into the trees for the group’s annual picnic, gathering among the food-producing plants at the Community Orchard of West Seattle on the northeast edge of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. Before dessert time – which included the option to make smoothies with a human-powered blender! – SWS’s Stu Hennessey announced this year’s honorees. First, Steve Richmond, honored for his work with native plants and removing invasives – projects such as the wetland restoration by Sanislo Elementary – “which he does all by bicycle!”

Speaking of bicycling – tonight’s other honoree was West Seattle Bike Connections president Don Brubeck, not on hand, but lauded by Stu for his “mild-mannered” advocacy, and everything he and WSBC have accomplished in just a few short years.

Stu also listed some of SWS’s main projects/events this past year, including the orchard itself, where a row of trellissed apple trees grows – most made naturally problem-resistant, compared to a few on the north side that aren’t:

Apples were going into the cider press borrowed from the West Seattle Tool Library, also a SWS project:

SWS also planned and presented the GreenLife area at West Seattle Summer Fest again this year; other programs and projects include DIY Bikes, Tox-Ick.Org, Spokespeople, and West Seattle Meaningful Movies, whose next presentation, September 6th, is “Princess Angeline,” about Chief Sealth‘s daughter, an event also intended for support of and updates about the Duwamish Tribe‘s ongoing battle for official recognition.

Find out more about SWS at sustainablewestseattle.org.

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You can help! Sustainable West Seattle welcoming, celebrating volunteers next Saturday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/you-can-help-sustainable-west-seattle-welcoming-celebrating-volunteers-next-saturday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/you-can-help-sustainable-west-seattle-welcoming-celebrating-volunteers-next-saturday/#comments Tue, 29 Apr 2014 01:32:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=271747

(WSB photo from SWS picnic – including a celebration of volunteers – last August)
“Volunteers are the essential ingredient to make West Seattle more sustainable.” So says Sustainable West Seattle, inviting you to its first Volunteer Orientation and Appreciation Party next Saturday (May 3), 4-7 pm, at CrossFit West Seattle in The Admiral District (4200 SW Admiral Way). From the announcement:

… The orientation for prospective volunteers includes descriptions of what SWS volunteers do and the many opportunities offered. Volunteers work at the Tool Library, Community Orchard, Tox-Ick wastewater awareness program, multiple bicycle activities including WS Spokespeople, West Seattle Bike Connections and our newest project, DIY Bikes.

… The celebration includes a Volunteer Appreciation Party, with a potluck, music and green prizes. SWS will provide food and beverages and you’re welcome to bring a dish to share. For additional information, contact Kimberly Leeper at kimberly@sustainablewestseattle.org

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West Seattle holidays: Festive ‘Festivus’ for WS Tool Library http://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/west-seattle-holidays-festive-festivus-for-ws-tool-library/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/west-seattle-holidays-festive-festivus-for-ws-tool-library/#comments Sat, 07 Dec 2013 04:25:42 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=258352

Yes, there really is a Festivus pole at tonight’s West Seattle Tool Library/Sustainable West Seattle holiday party/fundraiser at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (that’s Chas Redmond next to it in our photo). They chose the theme of the “Seinfeld“-sparked anti-holiday just for fun – and a lot of that was being had when we stopped by in the early going, with a casual dinner, kids’ activities, silent auction, and more:

Out in the lobby, an unexpected sight – Santa Claus!

Santa (with Bill Reiswig in our photo) said he was actually on his way to another event so wouldn’t be able to stop for the traditional Festivus “airing of grievances” or “feats of strength.” We didn’t check the roof for his reindeer, but we’re sure they felt right at home on this North Pole-chilly night. If you missed the party, you can visit the Tool Library on the north side of Youngstown, open two weeknights and two weekend days each week, where you’ll even find the cider press that was in use at tonight’s party:

The nonprofit Tool Library also suggests that gift memberships make great presents – for Christmas as well as Festivus; you can even buy them online.

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Duwamish River: Taking a look toward its future, ‘for all’ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/duwamish-river-taking-a-look-toward-its-future-for-all/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/duwamish-river-taking-a-look-toward-its-future-for-all/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 10:24:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=253441

(2011 photo by Danny McMillin)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“The Duwamish really needs our help.”

So began this month’s Sustainable West Seattle community forum about our city’s only river.

How can you help? One way is through simple personal action, particularly when it comes to reducing/preventing stormwater/runoff-pollution, a campaign crystallized at Tox-Ick.org, whose champion “Diver Laura” James emceed the forum. She told those in attendance that just days earlier, she had spoken about it to 800 high-school students outside West Seattle.

Another way: Realize that the process of determining a cleanup plan for the river – so polluted in spots, it’s a “Superfund” site – is the process of determining whether it can be “A River for All.” That’s the vision of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, whose coordinator James Rasmussen spoke at the forum, recapping the comment period just concluded on the Environmental Protection Agency‘s proposed cleanup plan for the river – a plan which would leave 62 percent of the river “under monitored natural recovery, which basically means, ‘we’re not going to do anything with it’.”

DRCC, however, wants to “kickstart that with enhanced natural recovery,” and is very intent on “source control” – addressing the source of pollution, present and future as well as past – being part of the plan.

Rasmussen explained more of the backstory, for those who haven’t followed the cleanup saga extensively, noting that the Port, city, county, and Boeing formed the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group – but note that third word: “It’s fascinating to me that they never want to call it a river .. I’m sure they’ve done studies showing people would care about it if they call it a river.”

(The word “waterway” came into the equation more than a century ago, related to the straightening of what had been a curvy river – here’s the HistoryLink.org essay about that.)

(WSB photo this Tuesday, taken from passenger seat during drive over the West Seattle Bridge)
Other verbiage explained: The DRCC, Rasmussen noted, is not just an advocacy organization, it is the “technical advisory group” to the community and for the community in working with the EPA, educating rather than coaching; ” we take that role very seriously … we are not going to foist onto the community what we think they should do.”

He talked about some of the early cleanup work, such as T-117 in South Park, where work is under way now and “it’s amazing what they are finding there … barrels and tanks of recycled oil … even though it was visible … they didn’t think they would find what they have been finding.” When cleaned, though, he says, it will become “one of the most important habitat areas on the Duwamish River” – which already has several key areas, such as Kellogg Island (just off West Seattle’s shore – here’s a map).

The new South Park Bridge also will have “another big, huge habitat area.”

(September 2013 photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
But, Rasmussen stressed, people need to understand the city, county, port, etc., aren’t cleaning up and restoring habitat out of the goodness of their hearts – they have incentives to try to make up for the damage that’s been done over decades. And, he said, there’s pushback – while one goal is to clean the Duwamish to a level of pollution comparable to Puget Sound, which, according to Rasmussen, “is not a high bar,” they are asking for waivers even before things begin.

He then spoke of the concerns for the health of people who fish, and DRCC’s belief that they have the right to fish in a place with pollution no worse than the Sound. “We already know that thousands of people use the river to fish,” despite so many warnings – some for economic reasons, some for cultural reasons, including tribe members – Rasmussen noted that he himself is a member of the Duwamish Tribe.

The pollution is hard to imagine sometimes because it is hard to see or smell – he spoke of a DRCC outreach worker from Honduras who said, “This river looks great” – no smell, no floating dead fish, no open outfall pipes … and that can be deceptive, as well as dangerous, because the river is used by people who come from miles away; they come because there are no Fish and Wildlife agents, since no one is SUPPOSED to fish there. And it “becomes a haven” for people who don’t want official entanglements.

So, he elaborated, while no one is supposed to fish there, people ARE fishing there – and yet while the EPA is supposed to make sure the fish can become edible, he says, they already have warned that won’t be possible: “Which is very disappointing.” He said that DRCC does not do its own modeling – instead using information culled from elsewhere – one reference point right now, for example, is the Hudson River Superfund cleanup back east. A point of contention here right now is how much dredging should be done, and some concern that it will stir up more pollutants – but the Hudson’s recent dredges, according to Rasmussen, “have been among some of the cleanest dredges in the United States,” largely because an “environmental dredge” is being used, a piece of equipment that makes it a more-precise, closely monitored process. “Turbidity” – mud in the water – is an important measurement, he continued, saying that even recent dredges at “the most polluted site on the Duwamish River, Boeing Plant 2” (where bombers were made at a fast and furious pace last century) had very little.

It’s not just industrial pollution – there are also untreated sewer overflows into the river, for miles and miles and miles, Rasmussen noted – overflows that the county and city are now under orders to get controlled. Those control processes are higher on the priority list so that they’re taken care of sooner rather than later.

Rasmussen acknowledged the plan with more dredging would cost $200 million more than the EPA’s $300 million estimate – but he described it as something of a drop in the bucket compared to what’s being spent, for example, on beautifying Seattle’s waterfront. Responding to an attendee’s question, he said the locals aren’t even behind the EPA’s proposal. “If Seattle and King County don’t get out in front of this and show the leadership, none of the other cities that will go through this will (try hard).”

Seattle is the wealthiest city on Puget Sound in no small part because of the Duwamish River and what it’s enabled, like Boeing’s work.

“We OWE the river,” Laura James said at that point, from the sideline.

A question about money brought more enlightenment: Superfund is not so well-funded any more.

But the point remains, he said in another response, those who made the mess need to take care of it.

Things have changed, he said – businesses generally do not deliberately pollute any more. Pollution used to be 80 percent industry, 20 percent others, and now it’s the other way around. Storm runoff and sewer overflow is huge, so an awareness campaign is under way. And it’s possible – remember that a quarter-century ago, we didn’t separate our trash, and now everyone (here, at least) recycles.

He brought it home to their “A River for All” philosophy – for industry, for people, for fish/wildlife. For all. “I believe firmly not only can we do this, we NEED to do this. … My people have been here for 10,000 years, since the ice receded … it’s only been in the last 150 years that all this has happened.”

To truly address keeping more runoff out of the water, the city and county are building capacity – therefore the efforts with green stormwater infrastructure, for example, such as raingardens to get storm runoff into groundwater, not into sewer systems and then into waterways. The ground cleans the water. Eastern West Seattle, in particular, needs more of this, he said – Longfellow Creek, which runs along Delridge, kills off 90 percent of the returning fish.

It’s not just runoff – it’s thinking about substances that are used in manufacturing. Overall, it’s not even just about fish and wildlife. Between South Park and Ravenna residents, he said, there’s a 13-year gap in life expectancy. And it’s not just about industry; it’s now a matter of environmental justice and social justice

Rasmussen’s closing exhortation, circling back to how the Duwamish “needs your help”: Contact your city councilmembers, county councilmembers, mayor, and county executive, and tell them you want a better cleanup for the river, “because right now they are listening to their staff people, who are telling them, ‘we can get this done quickly and cheaply’ … But we need to help the river. … Our vision for the Duwamish River is that it can be ‘A River for All’.”

(WSB photo, summer 2010)
Introducing the next speaker, from the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle, James recalled growing up in Eastern Washington and not knowing about the toxicity of fish she and her family ate from a river near where they lived.

The speaker, Kevin Burrell, is South Park-based ECOSS’s executive director and a West Seattleite, who started by mentioning a video from the organization’s website, marking its 20th anniversary, starting with a trip out onto the Duwamish:

Burrell explained that ECOSS is “non-advocates and apolitical,” focused on teaching, “though we wouldn’t be nearly as successful” if not for those who ARE advocates and champions.

They focus on teaching businesses (with courses such as “regulatory compliance”). ECOSS, he said, is working with the community near the river about not only the cleanup but also about gentrification concerns and issues such as “how do we create better access to the river itself.” That’s a big issue in South Park, which has changed in a big way in recent years, and is grappling with many issues.

He wondered what expectations for the Duwamish would be if we fast-forwarded 20, 25 years. And he also noted that the business community along the river is vital in that “we need those jobs – family-wage jobs.” One suggestion for the future would be that those who use the river might be more the source of its good than government money and operations – especially if people learn the skills that are needed.

James observed that it is indeed the residents and others who for example keep small businesses in business – ultimately being reliant on your fellow locals is a good thing.

Same goes for West Seattle, said Burrell – if we all want healthy communities and healthy people, “there’s a lot more we need to be doing.”

Back to South Park and the Duwamish, ECOSS is working hard on outreach to as many parts of the community as they can, including people from all corners of the world. More studies with results due in the months ahead will show more information about “who’s using the river” and how, Burrell added, also sharing words of advice – be careful about spending non-locally, be careful what you buy, and what you do with it.

Laura James at that point made note of the “simple daily solutions.” She also works with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, and brought up her previous volunteer work pulling lead batteries out of Puget Sound.

Speeches over, the ensuing dialogue ranged beyond specifics of pollution/cleanup to issues of racial equality and social justice. One exchange involved the apparent predominance of “well-off white people” in environmental work – and how people of color and economically challenged people can best be brought in – showing them how to make a difference in their own neighborhood is empowering, rather than something abstract such as “taking inner-city kids out into the splendor of a national forest,” Rasmussen suggested.

The issue of jobs and companies came up. The cleanup is not a threat to jobs, Rasmussen noted – for one, it creates jobs; for two, if it’s done right, there will be ongoing jobs in industry. And, he added during another conversation line – “We have to find compromise. … we have to be honest, but we have to find middle ground.”

Burrell said there are many facets to issues and concerns – residents might think businesses have been getting away with murder, while businesses are feeling “not taken care of.” But: “We’re all in this together,” and in the end, “we’re going to see a very different-looking shoreline” someday. Even in recent months, cleanup work has made changes.

And yet – “we have some catching up to do,” James said.

But “less fingerpointing and more working together” is vital, said Burrell.

Somebody has to show leadership, countered Rasmussen. And be sure to let your leaders “who are supposed to represent the community, but right now they are not” know what you are thinking, he insisted.

City contact info is at seattle.govkingcounty.gov.

The forum was held Monday, October 21st, at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). SWS began with a couple of announcements, including that it is looking for additional board members – watch sustainablewestseattle.org for information on that, and that the West Seattle Tool Library – launched as a project of Sustainable WS – will have a holiday party with the “Festivus” theme on December 6th.

Watch the SWS website for word of upcoming community forums’ topics and dates.

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Tomorrow: Imagine, and talk about, the Duwamish River’s future http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/tomorrow-imagine-and-talk-about-the-duwamish-rivers-future/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/tomorrow-imagine-and-talk-about-the-duwamish-rivers-future/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 01:00:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=253304

In the wake of Saturday’s semi-annual Duwamish Alive! cleanup day, you have the chance tomorrow night to join in a discussion about the river’s future – not just the bigger cleanups that are happening now and in the future, but also the vision for what it should be. Sustainable West Seattle is convening the conversation, to be moderated by “Diver Laura” James, who shared the photo above from the start of Saturday’s cleanup (including kayaks loaned for the occasion by West Seattle’s Alki Kayak Tours). Reps from the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition will be there too, as well as other organizations with a stake in the river’s future, but this isn’t just about the experts – it’s about you. Come to C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor) Monday night, 7-9 pm.

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Video: Sustainable West Seattle honors ‘Diver Laura’ James, WS Bike Connections at Lincoln Park picnic http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/video-sustainable-west-seattle-honors-diver-laura-james-ws-bike-connections/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/video-sustainable-west-seattle-honors-diver-laura-james-ws-bike-connections/#comments Tue, 20 Aug 2013 05:00:42 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=161540

That photo is from tonight’s Sustainable West Seattle community picnic at Lincoln Park, where SWS (whose president Kimberly Leeper is second from right) honored West Seattle Bike Connections (4 reps at left) as Sustainability Champions and “Diver Laura” James (at right) as Volunteer of the Year. Here’s our video of the back-to-back presentations – and speeches:

As members explained in the clip, WSBC is a relatively new group – its early organizational outreach last year, in fact, involved the WSB Forums. WSBC has since gotten deeply involved in advocacy for safety, for a louder West Seattle voice in transportation planning, and much more. You can find WSBC online here.

“Diver Laura,” meantime, at first gained attention for her amazing underwater video and cleanup work – and then got increasingly involved in organized environmental advocacy, taking over the Tox-Ick Monster runoff-reducing campaign and most recently joining up with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.

The announcements were part of an annual tradition for SWS, now in its seventh year (first mentioned here on WSB in the summer of 2007) – a celebratory summer picnic:

This past year, its meetings continued evolving into community forums, focusing on a particular sustainability topic for more than one month at a time – such as a popular series on gardening. Watch for upcoming events – not just sponsored by SWS, but related to sustainability, all over the peninsula – on the group’s frequently updated website.

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Sustainable West Seattle announces annual picnic for August 19th http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/sustainable-west-seattle-announces-annual-picnic-for-august-19th/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/sustainable-west-seattle-announces-annual-picnic-for-august-19th/#comments Sun, 11 Aug 2013 04:39:13 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=160651 Much yet to come this summer – including Sustainable West Seattle‘s annual picnic on the Lincoln Park shore, just announced:

Join Sustainable West Seattle on Monday, August 19th for our fun and beautiful Annual Community Harvest Celebration and Picnic!

We will be gathering at Shelter #3 at Lincoln Park, the large shelter with a barbecue grill, on the southern end of the park near the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal dock. The picnic begins around 4:30 pm with the preparation of the grill. We should have everything ready for celebrating by 5:00 pm. Members, guests, and new folks who want to check out this group are asked to bring a potluck item to share — side dish OR dessert would be great. SWS will provide the protein for the BBQ + condiments. Bring your own dishes/utensils, if possible. The picnic continues through sunset on the beach and usually concludes around 9:00 pm with shelter-area cleanup.

We’ll honor a few of the amazing people in our local community, too – Sustainability Champion and Volunteer of the Year. Also, consider bringing your acoustic instrument to share a song or two with our creative & playful group…maybe a community jam will happen?! We’d love to hear about the “green” things you’ve been up to in the last year! Come on out and connect with an inspring community of people, ideas, and practice!

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West Seattle Summer Fest countdown: New Timebank debuts! http://westseattleblog.com/2013/07/west-seattle-summer-fest-countdown-new-timebank-debuts/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/07/west-seattle-summer-fest-countdown-new-timebank-debuts/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 00:54:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=157749

The countdown’s almost over and West Seattle Summer Fest 2013 is hours away – but we have a few more previews tonight – including this: The brand-new West Seattle Timebank will debut at Summer Fest! The idea’s been percolating for a while, and there was an organizational meeting last year. Now, Tamsen Spengler sends word the West Seattle Timebank‘s website has just gone live, and the Timebank will be at GreenLife with Sustainable West Seattle (see the GL location on the map above), 11 am-5 pm all three Summer Fest days, Friday-Sunday. To find out more about it, check out the brochure here and the flyer for the July 24th orientation, here.

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Need tools? West Seattle Tool Library expanding hours, days http://westseattleblog.com/2013/06/need-tools-west-seattle-tool-library-expanding-hours-days/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/06/need-tools-west-seattle-tool-library-expanding-hours-days/#comments Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:25:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=156191 Just in from Sustainable West Seattle‘s Kate Kaemerle – the WS Tool Library is adding more hours for summer:

As of July 1st, WSTL is adding hours on Tuesdays from 5-8 pm. They are also adjusting their hours on Thursday and weekends to serve more member requests for tools and workshop use.

“We’re expanding our hours to keep up with demand for our tools,” said WSTL Manager Micah Summers. “Our new hours should help accommodate more people and increase the convenience of checking tools in and out.”

The new West Seattle Tool Library summer schedule begins July 1st:

Tuesday 5-8 pm (new day)
Thursday 5-8 pm (new hours)
Saturday 11 am – 4 pm (new hours)
Sunday 11 am -4 pm (new hours)

The West Seattle Tool Library is a non-profit, community service, offering access to a collection of over 1,500 tools. With more than 1,000 members, the tool library has helped build orchards, playgrounds, greenhouses and supported thousands of home, yard and neighborhood projects.

The West Seattle Tool Library is located at:

Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW

The West Seattle Tool Library is a project of Sustainable West Seattle and was made possible by a neighborhood grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and is powered by the LocalTools.com lending-library-management system.

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Happening now: Sustainable West Seattle and friends build ‘Presto Garden’ to help White Center Food Bank http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/happening-now-sustainable-west-seattle-and-friends-build-presto-garden-to-help-white-center-food-bank/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/happening-now-sustainable-west-seattle-and-friends-build-presto-garden-to-help-white-center-food-bank/#comments Sat, 18 May 2013 22:38:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=151881

(First two photos courtesy SWS)
Thanks to Kate Kaemerle from Sustainable West Seattle for sharing updates from the “Presto Garden” project that’s now moved on to the planting stage at Westcrest Park P-Patch in Highland Park. It was just a couple of hours ago that volunteers were putting down compost, as shown in an earlier photo from Kate:

And a few hours before that, we caught up with Kate and Bill Reiswig getting ready at the West Seattle Tool Library:

(Photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Food grown organically and sustainably in the garden will be donated to the White Center Food Bank. Read more about the project on the SWS website; if you haven’t been by yet, head for 8th/Henderson; they’re scheduled to continue till 5, and the more help they have, the more they can get done.

ADDED: We went back around 4:40 pm to see something close to the “after” photo:

Now – it’s time to grow!

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Sustainable West Seattle to debut new garden next weekend, growing food to feed those in need http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/sustainable-west-seattle-to-debut-new-garden-next-weekend-growing-food-to-feed-those-in-need/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/sustainable-west-seattle-to-debut-new-garden-next-weekend-growing-food-to-feed-those-in-need/#comments Mon, 13 May 2013 03:06:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=151149 A day before the West Seattle Bee Garden debuts with a celebration in High Point next Sunday, another new local community garden will debut in Highland Park on Saturday – a section of the new Westcrest Park P-Patch dedicated to growing food for the White Center Food Bank. The “Presto Garden” project is being led by Sustainable West Seattle, incorporating donations from local businesses and organizations listed in this update on the SWS website. Here’s where you come in: Many hands, light work. Be there on Saturday (May 18th) 1-5 pm for the planting party that will help make it happen. Westcrest is at 9000 8th SW (for those not familiar with the park, we’re tracking down specific directions to the planting site, and will add them here).

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Sustainable West Seattle explores ‘Designing a Perfect Garden’ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/04/sustainable-west-seattle-explores-designing-a-perfect-garden/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/04/sustainable-west-seattle-explores-designing-a-perfect-garden/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2013 20:16:00 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=148451

Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Sustainable West Seattle continued its “Successful Gardening with Nature” series Monday night with the second of three installments: “Designing the Perfect Garden.”

A walk-through of the Community Orchard of West Seattle included adding topsoil around existing fruit trees and planting seedlings that have been grown in South Seattle Community College’s greenhouse.

To demonstrate “companion planting” (placing plants that provide beneficial qualities within close proximity of each other) Stu Hennessey and Narcissa Nelson led forum attendees in a planting exercise.

Garlic and onion were placed around the fruit trees to repel voles with their odor, and other companion plants added included French Marigolds and vegetables from the Brassica family, including kale and broccoli, which also repel pests. A helpful chart to determine which plants make great companions can be found here.

An “Edible Yards and Structures” presentation by Stu Hennessey followed, providing members with information regarding starting an edible garden in the residential yard. Stu began by reflecting briefly on the tragic events of the day in Boston. He noted that when it comes to security — including food security, it’s not something we can take for granted. Food security is however, “something we can have control over.” This includes harvesting rainwater and creating your own compost, as well as edible gardening.

The big announcement of the evening was the winning site of the “Presto Garden” — an edible garden that will be built by Sustainable West Seattle Members in one day using lasagna gardening techniques and benefiting the community. The winning site is the Westcrest P-Patch in Westcrest Park. The garden will be tended by P-Patch members and produce from the Presto Garden will be donated to the White Center Food Bank.

Other upcoming events at the Community Orchard of West Seattle include Thursday’s Health & Harvest in the Orchard from 3-5 pm, and Explorer West Middle School’s Horsetail-pulling Contest on April 23rd.

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Sustainable West Seattle digs into natural gardening http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/sustainable-west-seattle-digs-into-natural-gardening/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/sustainable-west-seattle-digs-into-natural-gardening/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 04:42:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=145462 Story and photo by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Sustainable West Seattle is taking a new approach to its monthly member meetings by focusing on a particular theme each quarter. Last night kicked off this quarter’s “gardening with nature” theme with a focus on soils.

Due to our region’s glaciated geological history, our soils can be challenging to work in, and often take time, energy and amendments to create an environment where plants can thrive. Stu Hennessey (right) demonstrated the work that has been done at the Community Orchard of West Seattle – site of part of the meeting – to improve the soil, taking it from a compacted lawn to a healthy, nutrient-rich soil supporting edible plants and fruit trees. Much of the resulting produce will be shared with the Delridge Grocery, announced last night as one of three SWS Green Grant Recipients (we reported on the grant recipients here, before last night’s meeting was over).

The healthy soil was created using a method called “layering” which is also known as “lasagna gardening.”

It’s pretty much what it sounds like — laying layers of cardboard or burlap, leaves, manure, compost, grass cuttings, and other organic materials and allowing it all to biodegrade together creating a humus-rich soil on top of the more challenging soil. A handout was provided describing the different layers and their functions so members could begin this soil improvement practice at home.

More information on Lasagna Gardening can be found here: squidoo.com/lasagna-gardening-method

Attendees were further educated on soil improvement while watching the film “Permaculture Soils” by Geoff Lawton, which demonstrated the use of composting and mulching to enhance and enrich soils using natural materials as a more sustainable choice over stripping and fertilizing soils.

Upcoming Sustainable West Seattle workshops will focus on this natural-gardening theme, with the West Seattle Tool Library hosting a Fixers Collective this Thursday (March 21st) from 6 pm to 9 pm, offering local gardeners the opportunity to sharpen their tools and repair wheelbarrows.

Building on the gardening theme, April’s SWS meeting will focus on garden planning.

In May, the group will spend one day building a garden, what Stu Hennessey calls their “legacy,” in a yet-to-be-determined spot in the community. SWS is currently accepting nominations for a garden installation for a community group, school or church. To nominate a garden site, go to sustainablewestseattle.org and leave a comment. You can also watch Sustainable West Seattle’s website for more details on their next meeting, Monday, April 15th.

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Sustainable West Seattle awards grant money to 3 projects http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/sustainable-west-seattle-awards-grant-money-to-3/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/sustainable-west-seattle-awards-grant-money-to-3/#comments Tue, 19 Mar 2013 02:41:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=145355 From WSB contributing reporter Keri DeTore at tonight’s Sustainable West Seattle community forum: SWS has just announced not just one winner from its new grant program, but three. Keri says the newly renamed Delridge Grocery group received $1,000 – you can congratulate them at their membership “launch/lunch” event next Saturday – and another $1,000 was split by the Time Bank of West Seattle and DIY Bikes applicants, after SWS announced it had extra money to give. The three were among six applicants for the new program; in addition to making their pitches to the group, they also were rated in an online survey open to community participation. Main topic of tonight’s event is “gardening with nature”; we’ll have Keri’s report on that later – the forum continues at the SSCC Horticulture Center and Community Orchard of West Seattle until 9.

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You be the judge! Who merits Sustainable West Seattle’s $1K grant? http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/you-be-the-judge-who-merits-sustainable-west-seattles-1k-grant/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/you-be-the-judge-who-merits-sustainable-west-seattles-1k-grant/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 19:31:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=143754 Sustainable West Seattle has a $1,000 Green Incubator Grant to award, with six potential recipients in the running. SWS is now inviting you to help judge – rating the proposals for those six West Seattle/White Center projects. Even if you haven’t heard about them before, you can help by going to this online survey page, reading the thumbnail description of each proposal, and rating each one on how it relates to five criteria: Feasibility, Sustainability, Social and Economic Justice, Community Building, Educational Elements. SWS will use your feedback and choose the recipient in time for an announcement at its March 18 Community Forum at the South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) Horticulture Center/Community Orchard of West Seattle site.

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