Tag Archives: design

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

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.


Curtains, please!

November 13, 2013

        Before the hard work

Before the hard work

Freeway Estates Community Orchard
Final Public Design Review Event

Friday, November 15
7:00 -9:00pm
at the Hearthstone Retirement Facility
6720 E Green Lake Way N
(E Green Lake Way N and 1st Ave NE, just west of Spud Fish n Chips)

090813 s to n  P9081062

Plenty of design space

It’s been a busy year! This final design event is the culmination of a nine-month effort. Funding was provided by the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhood Matching Grant program. Support was provided by our fiscal sponsor, the P-Patch Trust. Encouragement was provided by all of you and your emails, comments from neighbors, and high-fives from many other organizations and small businesses.


Come to witness the result of a merger of ideas from:
two public meetings,
survey monkey data,
hard work by the architectural/permaculture team (197 hours),
our orchard volunteers (1,030 hours – design grant administrative hours only!) and the
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) (10 hours).

Sun, Nov 17, 1-4pm,
Mushroom Inoculation Event

(see previous post)
Sun, Dec 8, 2-4pm, Work Party
Species Tulip bulbs to plant.
Bring your leaves!

All are welcome to say yea or nay to the resulting final design. Let us know if you want to be involved in the future construction of any of the design elements.
Light refreshment served.


Design Review Meeting Soaked With Enthusiasm

October 2, 2013

Twenty seven people gathered on the cold rainy Saturday morning of September 28 to review three designs from Barker Architects’ design team. Many warmed up with coffee or hot chocolate. In attendance were Mark Huston, P-Patch Trust Board Member, our fiscal sponsor, and Rich Macdonald, Supervisor of the Seattle P-Patch program.

Iphone photos 2013-10-01 043 altJustin gave a brief history of the orchard and then read the Pomegranate Center Ground Rules for Public Participation. “Assume that together we know more than we know individually…”

Ruth picked up the pace with a drawing for two door prizes. She then asked people to speak up if there was a design element they would help install. “It is easier to weight and prioritize design elements that are attached to volunteer commitment.”

Please let us know if you can help with flyer distribution for the October 19 Cider Fest.
Sun, Oct 13 work party 2-4pm. We will weed, add compost and dig out English Laurel (http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/english-laurel.aspx )

Nic Morin (Barker Associates) and Jackie Crammer (Permaculture Designer) then set the tone for how designs should be reviewed. “Study a design feature even if you don’t like it as it will generate new ideas. Be prepared to let go and remember that a key outcome is your increased connection to the community.” And, “Try to imagine more than one use for each design element.”

The architectural team reminded us that if the space is active and sight lines are good there will be less nefarious activity. “When a space feels loved and is gardened it will attract that same kind of energy, rather than illicit behavior.” We were encouraged to scrutinize design elements that might promote vandalism or safety issues.

Design number one, Light Touch, shows the space as integrated, with a little more fruit in the south end and a few vegetable beds to the north. Paths are fewer and non-symmetrical. The very south would be opened up by limbing up trees and taking others out.

Design two, Infinity Loop, emphasizes symmetrical paths and a large broad community gathering area. There is just one entry.

Design three, Active Eco-system, divides the existing orchard area from an active community area. It has the most paths and the most development per square foot.

The public choice was overwhelmingly design number one, Light Touch. (See all designs on the Library page.) “It’s simple, clean.” “It’s minimalist.” “Inviting, but austere.” Those responses erupted when the gatherers were asked why they liked design one.

The participants were very sensible and good-natured, which does not happen at every public design meeting! However, there are always minor differences. At one point, a voice from my left suggested Wisteria for the sound wall. Seconds later, a voice from my right answered, “Hold the Wisteria! That stuff can choke small dogs!”

The possibility of a rain garden at the south end was mentioned, but we acknowledged that Seattle Public Utilities would have to help instigate such an expensive project.

The meeting concluded with a nice lunch. I wasn’t quick enough to get a homemade scone but I heard they were scrumptious.

The architects now go back to the drawing board to piece together the popular design elements from the three drawings. We will all have a final say on Friday evening, November 15, from 7-9pm at the Hearthstone.

Don’t forget, if you missed the meeting, forward your ideas via email or complete the survey monkey on the Get Involved page.

Thank you to the volunteers who exceeded all expectations: Max, Sue Ellen, Joan, Justin, Melany, Nancy H, Renee, Dana and Melody.