As an added bonus to my market visits this week, Green Plate Special was hosting an open house last Friday evening on the same night as and just across the intersection from the Madrona Farmer’s Market . Green Plate Special is an urban farm/school project that is the brainchild of Seattle chef Laura Dewell, who, if you have been around Seattle for a while, you will remember as the chef/owner of Pirosmani (which was one of my all time favorite Seattle restaurants…its closure was much lamented). The goal of Green Plate Special is, as their website says:
“…to be part of a movement that provides access to and tools for our low income Seattle youth to become the healthiest next generation, breaking the cycle that surrounds inadequate diet, poor eating habits, and the lack of access to and knowledge of healthy whole foods.
Through gardening and cooking we will actively empower our next generation to take on new responsibilities and to make healthy choices regarding their bodies and their minds. GPS will teach practical everyday life skills with a focus on local and sustainable earth-healthy food. We will cultivate connections between the land, the food we eat, and the impacts of these elements on daily health and nutrition.”
Fantastic idea. On the Friday evening in question, Laura and her team were meeting the neighborhood (and incidentally feeding the neighborhood garden fresh snacks and drinks…I had water sweetened with basil and lemon and a bite of a fresh berry cake) in the little green space that will one day be their garden and teaching facility. I had a chance to look around the facility and was impressed by their commitment to reusing, remaking and recycling to maximize the resources available to them. For example, many of the raised vegetable beds were made from reclaimed lumber, and landscaping included logs gained during a serious trimming back of the trees on the property. I especially liked the “Rain Garden”, built into a shallow depression in the ground to maximize the retention of naturally available water, and the vegetable garden growing in recycled burlap coffee bags from Caffe Vita. If you are looking for a worthwhile challenge, it would be hard to find an urban garden project with a better vision. Check out this link for photos.