Councilmember Rasmussen left office on January 1, 2016.
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Planting the Seeds for Sharing

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Seattle has many talented and would-be gardeners.  The local food movement has grown rapidly. It is not unusual to find flourishing gardens in planting strips, on the roofs of restaurants, apartments and even on garages.

Nearly 7,000 people are tending a plot at one of Seattle’s 89 P-Patch gardens.  Over 1,000 more people are on the P-Patch waiting list.  The wait-time can be very long in some neighborhoods.

My neighbor Bonnie and I have a solution for people who want to garden but don’t have a yard.  And a solution for people who have a yard but don’t have time to care for the yard or garden.

Personally, I love to garden and have a yard that is great for gardening but, I do not have the time to care for it.  Bonnie lives in an apartment next door, but didn’t have much yard for a garden.

One day, Bonnie was working in the planting strip and I was in my yard looking in dismay at all of the weeds.  Then, it occurred to me that she might like to plant a garden in my yard.  I asked her and she said she would!

Bonnie 1The next year saw a transforming of a patch of weeds into a nice garden.  Two years later, the garden has expanded with corn, sunflowers, string beans and tomatoes everywhere.  Bonnie and her husband Greg are very busy.

Here is what Bonnie has written about this experience:   “Condo or apartment living is fine, but if you’re a gardener, you miss the dirt. Two years ago you offered me a plot of weedy ground to create a garden, and I couldn’t be happier. I have been enjoying the fruits of my labor, and so have my friends and neighbors.”

Her advice for others?  “If you have an unused part of your yard, ask a neighbor or friend if they would like to cultivate it and see what grows,” she said.

Today, more of my yard is wonderfully cultivated and productive, and best of all we have a stronger bond among neighbors.

Others in Seattle are working together to make a productive use of their yards.  If you want to learn more about how to start yard sharing, Urban Garden Share might be a good place to start.  Or, don’t be shy or too proud, just pop over next door and ring the bell!



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Comment from Scott MacGowan
Time November 13, 2014 at 9:46 am

Hi Tom,
My name is Scott MacGowan and I am one of the founders of Alleycat Acres. I agree with what you wrote here, but I think we need to take it one more step as a community. Everyone has full time jobs these days and free time to garden is not abundant. We at Alleycat Acres are developing plans to help communities work together to cultivate space and create urban farms. I was wondering if you could help us secure the Seattle City Light spaces for urban farms?

Scott and Alleycats

Comment from Tom Rasmussen
Time November 21, 2014 at 4:17 pm


Please contact Lynn Best of City Light for information on that. If I can help you please contact me at my office:


Comment from Eric
Time November 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Hello Tom,
Sharing is s nice goal. My name is Eric and I’m a teacher in the Netherlands. On my school we plant seeds with the children to let them grow. The children take care and in the end they give away the carrots, cauliflower and so one. I think it’s gun to read these kind of initiatives are also in the US. Thanks for the post!

Comment from Tom Rasmussen
Time February 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm

You are welcome. It is nice to hear from our friends in the Netherland. How is bicycling there?

Comment from Jordan Jorgenson
Time October 19, 2015 at 8:54 am

I think it’s a great idea to share a yard. Especially if you neighbor is into gardening or landscaping. I’m a bigger fan of flower gardens, but I struggle to maintain them. After reading this I wish that I lived next to some apartments full of people who love gardening.

Comment from irfani
Time December 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Thank you for the information, it really interesting, very good land use to reduce global warming, improve product plant products or foodstuffs of plant material. Especially if consumed organic crops will be good for health. Keeping the environment can also fill your free time. Hopefully this kind of land use can be developed in various countries, including Indonesia. And also can reduce the import of foodstuffs and others. It’s useful information.

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