December 27, 2013
Congratulations to all of you for pulling off some terrific accomplishments this year. We hosted three parties, with more than 100 people attending each, showcased our trees during a pruning education class, and we are nearly complete with our City funded Community Orchard Design Process. Hats off to those of you who also contributed many hours toward orchard improvements.
Accomplishments related to the City design grant:
This past year was laden with administrative work. It took over 1,000 volunteer hours to apply for, work through, and evaluate our $20,000 City of Seattle Neighborhood Matching Grant! Going forward, we would like to better leverage your hard work. As we move into the construction phase, we will attempt to either secure a larger grant or find other funding that won’t require so much administration and accounting.
Fifty-nine people were involved with the orchard design process between the months of April and December. Most live close by and several are still volunteering.
We are waiting for some construction cost estimating tools from our architect but we have a nearly finished final design (which just has some minor changes from the one presented at the final public meeting in November).
The uncomplicated design chosen by the public (see Library page) allows a high level of food production but also invites full public use of the space.
We spent slightly under the $19,214 grant budget and a recap of all costs will be posted to the Library page in January. Additionally, our general fund (non-grant) will show a positive balance by year-end.
Agreement on design elements with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is still a work in progress. We are diligently trying to win the right to implement as many community-desired design elements as possible.
We will gather for a strategy meeting, including fund raising, in January. Watch for the date! All volunteers will be welcome.
Please take the time to fill out the Grant Design Process evaluation survey. The final grant requirement is to evaluate whether we made good use of taxpayer money. There are just nine easy questions and we hope you can find time to complete the survey soon, or by Thursday, January 9.
Accomplishments not related to the City design grant:
Volunteers spent an additional 700 hours on non-grant related orchard work, including work parties and other events. We celebrated Seattle Night Out in August and hosted our third annual Cider Fest in October. In November, we coordinated with Sound Transit and the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association to invite the public, with their drills, to inoculate 150 oak logs with Shiitake mushroom spawn.
Justin and Ruth attended City Fruit’s Orchard Steward Summit and we are collaborating with organizers of 12 other public orchards around the city.
This year we increased the average attendance at work parties. For the last half of 2013, we had an average of nine volunteers per work party!
We filled in three fruit tree guilds with complimentary plants and over 200 new Species Tulip bulbs were poked in along the sound wall.
We added an additional 850 square feet of sheet mulching and we are just a few feet away from mulching the entire perimeter in the north end.
We harvested honeyberries and strawberries again and our first apples, blueberries, and raspberries.
The male and female hardy kiwi plants bit the dust, after two years of moderate growth. We will plant again soon. Otherwise, the fruit and nut trees are all doing well and are awaiting Ingela’s top-notch pruning in February.
With a mighty effort by Dean Wenick, we have a very efficient and easy to maintain website, including an event calendar. We have 46 following our blog, versus 35 followers of the old Google Group. We also published a nice brochure that is available at the orchard.
As we look forward to 2014, the steering committee is very confident that we can meet any challenge. Our confidence stems from the fine quality of volunteers who are committed to this project.