Seattle P-Patch gardeners donated 33,000-plus pounds of produce to food banks in 2023
Community P-Patch gardens in Seattle parks are more than a hobby — they’re a resource to feed some of the city’s hungriest people. Gardeners donated tens of thousands of pounds of organic fruits and vegetables to local food banks last year.
It's a chilly, February afternoon but the sun is out and people are hard at work in their gardens at the Beacon Food Forest.
The Forest is a large group of P-Patches in Jefferson Park in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. The gardens are terraced on a hill facing west so gardeners kneeling in dirt have a clear view of the downtown skyline and Space Needle.
“Food is everywhere,” says Khalil Griffith, the Site and Programs Director at Beacon Food Forest. He points to the 3.5 acres of gardens that stretch down the hill to the road.
Gardeners grow so much food here, Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods says Beacon Food Forest donated 3,540 pounds of produce to local food banks in 2023.
Griffith suspects that number is higher since the gardens are open to the public year-round for harvest.
“Folks can come through and pick foods, pick medicinal herbs, pick things for crafting, or just hang out in the space for community,” he says.
They grow it all at the Forest: raspberries, bok choy, corn...
“Tomatoes. We donated tomatoes to the Rainier Valley Food Bank,” Griffith says. “The first drop-off was 135 pounds, and these aren't the big tomatoes —these are like the little cherry and grape tomatoes.”
Seattle's P-Patch program has existed for 50 years now with about 90 locations throughout the city. Altogether, P-Patch gardeners donated 33,438 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables to food banks and meal programs in 2023. Many food banks receive a lot of canned food donations, so fresh, local produce is a plus.
“Everybody deserves good food,” Griffith says. “We all deserve to have solid produce. We all deserve to be in community and be healthy — it's our right as humans.”
Beacon Food Forest could grow even more food next year. Griffith says they are in the process of expanding the gardens to a full 4 acres on the hill.