The plan for developers Lake Union Partners to build a second mixed-use apartment project at 23rd and Union means change and some amount of displacement. But the farmers of the Alleycat Acres land at 22nd and Union, a patch of neighborhood farmland maintained by community members, seem ready for change.
“Our understanding and agreement with the developer is that they want us to stay there till the last responsible moment,” said Fisher Qua, farm coordinator of the space at 22nd and Union, told CHS. “They want the site to be active till they bring the bulldozer.”
The farm at 22nd and Union has been in existence since 2010 and has helped the community come together to produce and build relationships as well as fresh produce. The farm has yielded a variety of crops like potatoes, beans, garlic, flowers and northwest plants. Whatever is harvested is shared amongst the community members and then whatever is left is then donated to the community partners. Leftovers are often shared with various food banks and preschools and the farm in the past has even partnered up with the YWCA.
Alleycat Acres has plans for further development as well. The non-profit organization is working on a project called Alley Kittens. The new project will convert planting strips around the city into farmlands. The organization is also in talks with Seattle City Light and the Seattle Parks Foundation to find vacant land in the area to turn into pocket farms. This will be an opportunity for Alleycat Acres to put those bits of space to use and have the community work together on it as well.
Qua said that the group is also looking for a new central farm and searching for a place to lease for at least 10 to 15 years. In the meantime, the existing plot will continue to be farmed for two or three years before they eventually have to move.
“Come to our work parties, come meet your neighbors. That is the best way to contribute,” Qua said. You can also help by suggesting vacant land in your neighborhood that people want to see farmed.
“That’s a great way to help Seattle grow,” Qua told CHS.
You can learn more at alleycat-acres.org.