Next Sketch Outing

Sept. 22: Columbia City

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Beacon Food Forest: Work Party!

On the third Saturday of each month, volunteers from all over the Seattle area gather at the Beacon Hill Food Forest (“BFF”) for a morning blitz of gardening projects and then a community lunch. The Food Forest is an ambitious all-volunteer project steadily transforming a barren, boring grass lawn into two sustainable acres full of edible and medicinal plants, open to everyone. The number of people who attend the work parties make it possible for big projects to be completed in a couple hours.

It feels like a miraculous place, but it's really possible because of an extremely dedicated group of people who organize volunteers, get grants and permits from the city, and generally work their asses off just because they believe in this project. It's difficult to drag myself out of bed and across town on a freezing, rainy Saturday morning, but every single time I'm so glad that I went. Also the lunch is always delicious.

I started this work party by working in the wetlands, pulling out undesirable plants, then pruning a patch of overgrown roses encroaching on a sidewalk.  Once the sky cleared I felt like it was time to sketch. I was a little nervous about sitting around and drawing while the rest of them toiled in the dirt, but the atmosphere of BFF is extremely supportive and they actually loved having an artist around to document the happenings of the day. 
Everything in the BFF has a story attached to it, and next to nothing in the garden is bought directly from a store. e.g., one of the project leaders talked to me about the volunteer who invented these trellises, and how someone else came up with the macramé technique.

After lunch people finish up their projects, or hang out at the gathering space. Peter played guitar and sang by the fire; Tony gave me a sample of his bees' raw honey. The garden space here is a small fraction of the total food forest, terraced on a steep slope. You can see the Seattle skyline!

Continue under the cut for an experimental reportage comic about some of the "real work" I did at the BFF!


  1. Footnote: the BFF would be a great place for a USK meetup, but maybe not on a work party day!

  2. These are genius. I'd like to utilize these on our website and in promo materials for the Beacon Food Forest. Are you interested in this? Let us know and thank you for your vision!!!

    Group Volunteer Coordinator
    Beacon Food Forest