Category Archives: Grants & Fundraising

The Legacies of Five Pioneer Volunteers

December 1, 2020

One speaker, from a recent soil-related Conference of Hawaii Farmers Union (HFUU), declared that he wanted to leave a legacy. He aspired, during his tenure as a farmer, to create as much great soil as he could.

Volunteers are needed! Please see our Calendar Page or email
freewayestatescommunityorchard@gmail.com

Our early volunteers shaped what FECO is today, and their legacies vary. This past week I looked through my notes and summarized what we appreciate about five of those volunteers.

Bryon W – Legacy – Hard-working

Bryon came to the orchard in June of 2011 and usually brought his alert five-year-old daughter (who ate worms with no hesitation, just let them slide down the hatch).

Bryon was a professional landscaper and held a permaculture certificate. He sat in on the initial meeting with representatives from WSDOT, SDOT, and Richard Conlin’s office. ‘Sat in’ isn’t quite right … we all sat on a pile of chips, which was all that was in the orchard, but for a few trees.

He helped dig out the blackberry along the sound wall, made our first compost bin, taught a compost class and, at the 2011 Cider Fest, presented a beautiful design showing how the orchard could be developed. He was willing and able to be involved in every aspect of FECO.

Today his family lives in Colorado and he recently added a ‘food forest’ to the Eagle (CO) Community Gardens.

Maximo M – Legacy – Good-natured

Max joined FECO in November of 2012 and put in nearly seven years until he moved to Portland with his fiancé Maya. Math was Maximo’s strong suit and he would always check or make calculations. Lucky for us, he was able to quickly add markings, to represent each 5 gallon increment, on the round elevated water barrels. He bailed me out several times when I needed something to add or change on our WordPress website. During the 2013 Cider Fest, he took responsibility to make notes of all steps to setup and operate the Cider Press.

Max was interested in everything. He hosted a class on Invasive Plants, helped plan a class on Herbs, taught by Maya and Sue, and volunteered at most every event from the 2013 Night Out through the 2019 Herb class. He would often surprise us with baked cookies at work parties.

Nancy M – Legacy – Welcoming

Nancy volunteered for five years, beginning in July of 2013. She would be the first to ask for event flyers so she could post them in the complex she lived in. She faithfully would act as greeter at events and was very attentive to visitors. She helped me shop for a nice sandwich sign board.

Another volunteer remarked that Nancy was always upbeat at work parties, regardless of how she might be feeling. She worked the garden plot that is four feet tall, planting squash and cucumbers.

One thing I really appreciate about Nancy is that she rounded up very talented musicians for every cider fest from 2014 through 2019, and Mary G was amazing at the Dulcimer.

Ellen H – Legacy – Enthusiastic

Ellen also began volunteering in 2013. She would take the bus down from Woodinville, She knew Nora L and they would often work together. Their claim to fame was tearing out all the invasive English Ivy along the sound wall. It didn’t matter what was on the list for the work party; they got out the ladder, loppers and a garden fork and seized the Ivy – Nora on the ladder and Ellen digging at the root. Her tasks also included all of the accounting for the 2015 construction grant!

Ellen might be anywhere these days. On the radar she might be in Vader, but she also loves the Parks. One summer she bid us adieu and left to volunteer at the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Before she left, she donated her favorite iris (Plachta family) for the William’s Pride guild.

Kimberly C – Legacy – Passionate

Kimberly hurled herself into the orchard in 2013. Within a few months time, she applied for a grant, carefully chose pollinator plants, then created an attractive planting design.

Kimberly was very interested in the idea of a pollinator pathway from Gasworks park, through Wallingford, and on into the orchard. She already knew of a pathway, developed by Sarah Bergmann, on Capital Hill.

From the Wallyhood news: “Congratulations to the Wallingford community for completing an astounding 54 outreach activities for Waste Management’s (WM) 2013-14 Think Green Recycling Challenge!” Kimberly’s outreach activity was a pollinator patch at FECO and she was awarded $330. She got in touch with Emily Sarah Gendler, a plant propagator, and they came up with a long list of native plants.

They ended up planting six red flowering currants (Ribes sanguineum), 10 strawberry plants (Fragaria choloensis) and 10 kinnickinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). She also seeded the Bee Plant (Phalacea tanacetifolia).

The pollinator patch is thriving and we have something useful and beautiful to remind us of Kimberly’s passion for bees.

Ruth

FECO’s 10th Annual Cider Fest – en vivo! A COVID-unfriendly event

October 8, 2020

Friends! This year’s Fest will be the best ever. Bring your raincoat, join us Saturday  from 2-4pm, and enjoy the lineup:

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2-4pm
6th Ave NE, just south of NE 63rd St
rain or shine
freewayestatescommunityorchard@gmail.com
check calendar for details

Three fabulous young musicians

The best assortment of homemade pie slices, scrumptous homemade granola, raspberry jam, and
invigorating homemade salsa verde

Plants for sale include natives, strawberries, and a few fig and elderberry plants

Miscellaneous art items

The kids will be busy filling out their passports.

OH! and free warm cider from the press!

Quite different from prior years, the Fest is designed as a tour. The anti-Covid team marked a one-way loop route through the orchard and native areas. Distancing and masks are required.

For those who don’t like rain (maybe you just moved to Seattle) we have runners who will greet guests with a handout of all sale items and prices. If lighting strikes your car, you don’t even have to get out!

There are quizzes and interpretive signs along the loop. Everyone will learn something new about gardening.

This is our annual fundraiser. Please bring cash or your checkbook. Volunteers have spent so many hours tidying up. We are very proud of what we have accomplished this year. See you soon!

Ruth

Ten Years at Freeway Estates

February 18, 2020

Volunteers who put in 20+ hours last year gathered recently to sip Chestnut soup and brainstorm. Good ideas flowed, including a suggestion to add a sign to the kiosk, summarizing our efforts during the past ten years. Below is the content created by the 20-hour club.

Freeway Estates Community Orchard (FECO) is located on Duwamish land. Today this 12,000 square foot plot is managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and leased to FECO.

In 2010, a small group of neighbors planted the first fruit trees and began transitioning the grass and invasive plants to planting guilds. In 2013, the City of Seattle awarded us a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant (NMF) to formally survey the neighbors about their vision for this space. We were unanimous in choosing one concept and created our Vision and Mission Statement:

Vision: Seattle residents have nearby access to a beautiful public space where they can learn and participate in food growing, connect with neighbors, and nurture the environment.

Mission: We are creating an inclusive, action-oriented community, excited about:

–producing organic food to be shared,
–educating ourselves and our neighbors,
–improving and beautifying this public space.

In 2015 we received a large NMF grant and, guided by our steering committee, volunteers built infrastructure which included: gravel paths, a shed re-build, two rain-water cisterns, plumbing for city water, and raised beds. Another small NMF grant in 2018 allowed us to implement a water conservation project.

Sat, Mar 7, 10-12 Work Party
Sun Mar 15, 2-4, Work Party
Mon Mar 30, 6:30-8 Fig Pruning
Mon Apr 6, 6-8, Work Party

All of our NMF grants required volunteer matching hours. We have always exceeded the requirement. To date, more than 150 volunteers have logged a total of 11,000 hours.

We grow all of our food in compliance with organic standards. We produce our own thermal compost. We continue to learn about urban agriculture and share our knowledge with each other and with other organizations. We sponsor workshops on fruit-tree pruning, compost production, culinary herbs, invasive plants, and pollinators. We regularly host grade-school children. Since 2011, we have offered an annual cider-pressing festival for neighbors and friends.

One of our major ongoing activities is growing food for the University District Food Bank. In 2019, from just four garden beds, we contributed more than 700 pounds of fresh produce for neighbors in need.

We have faced many setbacks in terms of theft and vandalism. It is challenging to work in such a public location. However, when a neighbor walks through and expresses appreciation and gratitude for what we are doing, we feel the rewards outweigh the disappointments.

For the near future, we are increasing our commitment to use resources wisely and to include all people.

FECO is a hub where neighbors and volunteers connect. We welcome everyone. No special skills are needed and we have tasks for all levels of ability.

Contact us at freewayestatescommunityorchard@gmail.com.
Support us at FreewayEstates.org

The 2019 20-hour club: Maxwell, Joan, Reid, Kate, Jennifer, Sue, Nancy, Allison, Michelle, Amy, Nora, Ruth, Arly and Brannon