Why She Got Involved In The Little Red Hen Project

LittleRedHen_HolliMargell 2

Whitney McBride, “Everybody’s equal when you’re digging in the dirt.”

I met Whitney McBride in the Pathfinder K8 School garden to learn more about why she chose to get involved with The Little Red Hen Project, since I knew she was a founding volunteer. And it was perfect, because here she was sharing a donation of tomato plants that the Little Red Hen Garden couldn’t hold…

My best friend Jen Dowell had this in her head for a number of years. We met during the Roxhill Playground Build, and when we finished that up she pretty much said a month later, “Okay, it’s my turn. I have a community project I want you to work on.” And I’ve been doing that for the last few years, and after a year approaching city light, the park department and some other spaces, we were generously donated some space behind the Delridge Community Center. It was Darryl who heads up the Teen program and Alice, the former coordinator who welcomed us, because they wanted to get more involved with the community and teaching teens about gardening. In the year 2014, they need to learn how to grow their own food.

That was last fall, and since then we have held numerous classes. one of them was how to use an old pallet – pulling it apart and recycling even the used nails to build a double sided compost bin for the site. Seven teenagers were involved in that. And since then, Katie Kaldwell joined the project and with her Master Gardener skills has been able to teach more classes.

We’re working now on casting a larger net and reaching out to the community. It’s about food equality. No matter how much money you make, you should have access to fresh food, and not have to shop at the corner market for Cheetos. You know, that’s all the option you have, and that should not be the only option. We’ve worked with the Food Justice Initiative and the Delridge Grocery Co-op to help people get fresh food. We need to break down the barriers. There are ideas like a food truck or a small scale farmer’s market that would serve people on the Delridge Bus line so that you only have to take one bus to get local food at the school parking lot. Now, you have to take 2 buses to the West Seattle Farmer’s Market and pay $7 for a bag of tomatoes. There are many ideas, and we need more people to help create solutions for food equality. Lots of people would like to give us more things, but we need more people to help us accept these things and use them.

We’re geared toward people who may be intimidated by the P-Patch program. We want to level the playing field. That’s something we saw with the Roxhill Playground Project: It doesn’t matter how much money you make or what kind of car you drive, when you come to the playground, you’re on a level playing field. You saw the kids from the projects run up and play with the kids who jumped out of Mommy’s Lexus SUV. This is the same idea, but for adults and kids of all ages. We’re going to build this garden, grow food and play in this garden. We’re all doing something amazing, it doesn’t matter if you live in the low income housing, DESC or you own your home, we’re all growing food. We’re all making a positive difference. Everybody’s equal when you’re digging in the dirt.

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