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City Council Candidate Questionaire Responses

Candidate:

Heidi Wills

Do you believe that programs like P-Patch, which add to the quality of life and environment of Seattle and should be encouraged by the City to nourish?

Yes

If elected how you will support the P-Patch community gardening program?

I am very supportive of the P-Patch program and familiar with its importance and unique and vital role. They provide needed open space, build community, lower our global warming footprint (less transportation to get food to people), provide shade and solace, and connect people of all generations in a beautiful activity that is fundamental to who we are as people. I would go as far to say that they are an integral part of District 6. I know that the waitlist is very long to get a garden plot, but I think it’d be also wonderful to connect P-Patches with youth in schools so young people can experience first-hand how gardening can change lives and outlooks. It’s where we plant seeds to grow healthy food which says volumes about who and what we are as a community. Very important is how we gain more P-Patches, especially as waitlists are already so long and more people are moving into our City. I learned the importance of gardening from my mom who raised me as a single mother. We were quite poor. She prioritized having a garden or a plot in a community P-Patch for my entire childhood. This wasn’t always easy because I moved 13 times before I graduated from high school. The one thing I could always count on though was growing the food we ate. I feel great satisfaction watching plants push the soil up from seeds. I especially love the smell and taste of fresh-picked sugar snap peas. In a dense urban area, P-patches are integral to our quality of life. I like how you describe how P-Patches help our community members of all backgrounds connect with each other. If I were a Councilmember for District 6, I would prioritize finding funds to save the Ballard P-Patch and to grow the entire P-Patch program. I would ensure people were aware of the vital role that P-Patches fill for community food banks, such as the Ballard P-Patch supplying 1,500 pounds of fresh, organic produce to families every year. This is huge! Recently, the United Way held their day of volunteering. I own a small business with 65 employees. We have volunteer days too and many companies do. I wonder what kinds of local projects there are for small businesses to volunteer to help our P-Patches with gardening and weeding projects? My daughter, age 14, volunteers at the University District Food Bank. Her role is to weed in the garden on their roof top. She loves it! Think of how many people in our community could be given the chance to do simple things in our P-Patches, like watering and weeding or building fencing, that will make an indelible imprint on them, making them more likely to become gardeners and supportive of our PPatches. If we had more P-Patches and more plots, we could involve more people, particularly youth, in community gardening. If I am elected, I will highlight stories of community connections through P-Patch activities in my constituent newsletters, so more people can see what tremendous resources they are.

Would you support a study of the public and private needs of the P-Patch Program including addressing the future displacement of P-Patches due to development? 

Would you support allocating resources to implement recommendations?

Yes

Yes

What would you do to resolve the immediate threat to Ballard P-Patch?

I would prioritize the immediate threat to the Ballard P-Patch to find City funding. This is exactly what City funding should be used for – benefitting community, open space, produce for the Ballard Food Bank, intergenerational connections, and minimizing our global warming footprint. I think about how many years it took to make the Ballard PPatch what it is. I think of how many families are using that garden, and how many more will use it in future: people who we don’t even know who will get joy from it, if only we retain it as an asset. I think it’d be a travesty to lose it and I would absolutely prioritize saving it. This is why there are district representatives on the City Council. What comes to mind for me is the City’s Sugar Tax as a source of funds. That’s unanticipated revenue intended, in part, to support healthy food programs. What could be healthier than community gardening? Not only can we not afford to lose any of the existing P-patches we have, we need more Ppatches as our city grows. The City of Seattle has over 1,000 surplus properties interspersed throughout our neighborhoods. Yes, we have a lot of affordable housing needs for surplus properties, but we also have open space needs to maintain the quality of life for the residents in our communities particularly for people who are low income. Ppatches are a vital component of our quality of life. I would take a lead role in trying to convert some surplus properties to P-Patches throughout our city. And I think that more should be done to incentive green rooftops. It’s good for lowering our global warming footprint, it’s good our environment and it’s another location for additional P-Patches, especially on affordable housing projects.

Do you support requiring the Park District to pass administration of P-Patch Rejuvenation Funds to the Department of Neighborhoods and the P-Patch Program? 

Yes

Do you support continuing to house the P-Patch community gardening program in the Department of Neighborhoods, which values community building and requires community participation in decisions that affect the P-Patch?

Yes

District 3. Do you agree that resources and city-owned land near the Republican and Immaculate P-Patches should be made available to save those P-Patches when they are displaced by development? 

Yes

District 4.  Do you agree that resources and city-owned land near Shiga’s garden P-Patch in the University District should be made available to save that P-Patch when it is displaced by development?

District 6.  Do you agree that the city should financially support Ballard P-Patch gardeners in their quest to raise 1.8 million dollars by year end 2020 to save the Ballard P-Patch from development into four luxury homes? 

Yes

District 7.  Do you agree that city-owned land near the UpGarden, currently on top of Mercer Garage, should be made available to save the UpGarden when it is displaced by either redevelopment or parking needs at Mercer Garage?

 Comments: 

Yes, absolutely and please see my reply above (question #2) about funding to save it. If elected, I will do everything in my power to make sure $1.8 million is dedicated to saving the Ballard P-Patch. There are lots of beautiful homes in our area, but there are not enough P-Patches. The Ballard P-Patch is a treasure that should be protected!