The empty lot on the southwest corner of MLK Way and East Union will have a tenant for at least the next three years, as Green Plate Special, a “garden-to-table” program for low income and underserved youth, moves in this month.
Co-founded by Laura Dewell and Libby Sinclair, a culinary professional and former Seattle Public School teacher, respectively, Green Plate Special will work with grades 5-8 in the Central District-Madrona pilot program.
Their vision, Dewell explained, is for the corner to ultimately serve as a hub for youth to plant, grow, harvest and cook their own food.
The land owner, local real estate and development firm the Madrona Company is leasing the land to Green Plate Special for only the cost of property taxes and overhead. The Madrona Company has long been planning a mixed-use development on the lot, but that project has been pushed on the back burner due to the state of the economy and real estate market.
Max Liebowitz of the Madrona Company said he was encouraged to see something positive happening in the vacant lot, as records showed nothing has existed there since the regrade.
“I think it’s going to change a lot of the perspective about the Central District,” Liebowitz said at last week’s Madrona Community Council meeting.
Dewell and Sinclair are coordinating groundbreaking/work party in the next few weeks, ideally by early February. We’ll provide details when there’s a firm date.
Here’s more on the Green Plate Special mission, from their website:
Our mission is to be part of a movement that provides access to and tools for our low income Seattle youth to become the healthiest next generation, breaking the cycle that surrounds inadequate diet, poor eating habits, and the lack of access to and knowledge of healthy whole foods. This new generation of young people will be good citizens, who understand the rewards of taking on new responsibilities and have the resources and personal power to make a happy and productive life for themselves and their own future families.
Through gardening and cooking we will actively empower our next generation to take on new responsibilities and to make healthy choices regarding their bodies and their minds. GPS will teach practical everyday life skills with a focus on local and sustainable earth-healthy food. We will cultivate connections between the land, the food we eat, and the impacts of these elements on daily health and nutrition.