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City of Seattle

June 11, 11:05 AM click here to comment > 1

Check out Seattle’s newest P-Patch, over four floors up

Last month volunteers and members of the food community got together to help plant our raised beds on the 7th floor balcony of City Hall. Planting vegetables on the limited space on our balcony is a small way to help provide produce to the Cherry Street food bank, the food bank nearest to our office.

But our eight raised beds and containers are dwarfed by the new rooftop gardening project on top of Seattle Center’s Mercer Garage. Called the “Up Garden”, this project was paid for with voter-approved funding from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy. Because the land was publicly owned, the choice of location was cost-effective for taxpayers.

This P-Patch is:

  • The result of thousands of volunteer hours
  • The country’s first large-scale rooftop community garden, at 30,000 square feet (but still less than half of the garage’s footprint on the top level)
  • The first municipal rooftop community garden fully accessible to the public
  • Set up for a total of 110 p-patch plots

The Up Garden is an innovation to the P-Patch system, but also a great example of an innovative use of City land. While rooftop gardens do present special challenges (lightweight soil, specialized drainage), more is known now about how to address them, allowing rooftop gardening to rise in popularity. We’re getting creative about how to locate open space in constrained urban environments (pocket parks, Parklets, planting strips, etc) as we gain knowledge about how to make these spaces work.

While everyone was assembled for the planting of the Mayor’s Office balcony, we also hosted a Food Day planning meeting. October 24th, 2012 will be the second annual Food Day, which is a nationwide day of awareness for food issues such as promoting safer, healthier diets, supporting sustainable food, expanding access to food and alleviating hunger, and more. If you’d like to hear more about Food Day or would like to participate, contact Sharon Lerman, the City’s Food Policy Advisor, at

Photos by: Nate Merrill

Posted by: Rebecca Deehr


Comment from Art Huber
Time June 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

We need more of these and a prime spot would be the recently demolished buildings on Westlake Avenue, across from the AGC building. Also, see this link for more inspiration.