Urban gardens and orchards support our urban food system as spaces where food is grown and shared and community members can learn and participate in different growing practices. They can be spaces of beauty and offer retreats from the bustle of city life – connecting people to nature in their neighborhoods – and can be important greenspaces in our urban environment for wildlife and pollinators. Particularly when these growing spaces are designed, carried-out, and managed by neighbors, these gardens and orchards can become a community hub and support ways for neighbors to meet, stay connected, and work together on a shared project.
At City Fruit, we believe that fresh, healthy food is a human right and that every community should have access to greenspaces where food could be grown and shared. We invite our Seattle neighbors to dream about places in their neighborhoods where future gardens and orchards could thrive! If you are part of a religious or cultural group, school, community club or center, or existing community garden that has space for a new public fruit orchard, we encourage you to apply for the City of Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF). According to the City, the NMF “was created to provide matching dollars for neighborhood improvement, organizing, or projects developed and implemented by community members”, and since its start in 1988, the fund has supported 5,000 community projects throughout Seattle.
To be eligible for funding, a project must:
– Involve community members in creating and completing the project
– Create community improvements
– Be free and open to all members of the public
– Be feasible and ready to begin within 1-2 months from the award date
– Demonstrate community match
– Occur within the Seattle city limits
– Not have received NMF funding within the last two years (applies only to events)
City Fruit would love to see more orchards within our communities and would be happy to advise NMF applicants on the orchard planning and grant writing process. Let us know if you are thinking of applying or would like us involved in either the preliminary assessments, planting, or after care of your public space. With advanced notice, City Fruit may be able to review grant drafts or help grant awardees obtain saplings and volunteer support for the planting. As part of our commitment to public orchard stewardship, City Fruit may also be able to provide technical assistance of the new orchard by sharing tree care education resources and training opportunities, as long as our funding and capacity permits.
For more information on NMF (application deadline: 9/12/22) or to attend an informational meeting about the program, please visit: https://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/neighborhood-matching-fund. Community members interested in partnering with City Fruit for the development of a new orchard can reach out to us at [email protected]. Thank you for helping us build a bountiful and just food system!