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Establishing Urban Farming and Community Gardens

City Of Seattle   
Urban | Suburban |
Broadview, Bitter Lake, and Haller Lake (BBH) is a collaboration of neighborhoods in the city of Seattle who help to provide vision and planning procedures for community growth. One of these visions is greater access to local and healthy foods. Healthy food access has been shown to increase the health of the population, stimulate the local economy, and provide a better sense of community. In 2012, the BBH Neighborhood Plan Update included a short article on community-member interest in local and healthy food access. With the use of community responses, BBH crafted a goal for greater access to healthy foods and ideas to achieve that goal.

Community responses showed an interest in smaller, independent food retail stores that sell more natural foods and high-quality groceries. They also expressed an interest in seeing an expansion of local farmer’s markets, as well as efforts to grow food locally and communally through gardens. The article focused on the expansion and use of P-Patches (a term specific to the community gardens of Seattle) and educational gardening. These organized efforts not only offer healthy and natural foods to the community, but increase awareness, knowledge, and self-sufficiency regarding healthy food access. In 2017, P-Patches alone donated over 63,000 pounds of food to the city.

In 2016, Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan expanded on city-wide efforts to increase healthy food access and communal gardening through tailored goals and policies. These measures create a local food network by encouraging community garden collaboration, an increase of allotted open land for garden use, an expansion of farmer’s markets, increased access between restaurants and local farms, and a better selection of healthy and natural foods in grocery stores.