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Seattle Sept 11 Community Garden -

  • Subject: [cg] Seattle Sept 11 Community Garden -
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 20:21:28 EDT


This was shared with me by Sandy Pernitz of P-Patch in Seattle, WA.  

The short story:  the Seattle P-Patch community gardeners  have collected the 
huge spontaneous flower displays that appeared after the September 11th 
tragedy and are composting them to create a September 11th community garden.  

The attached account, forwarded to me by Sandy Pernitz and written by Jon 
Rowley tells it all. This is an amazing story, Seattle gardeners doing what 
we are supposed to do best, create and embrace community through gardening.

As a New Yorker and Community gardener, I am touched beyond words.  This is a 
long message and well worth the reading.  A keeper.
Adam Honigman

Subj:    memorial compost
Date:   9/25/01 2:31:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   Sandy.Pernitz@ci.seattle.wa.us (Sandy Pernitz)
To: Adam36055@aol.com

Adam, thought I would continue to share...this was sent out by the Interbay 
site coordinator, Jon Rowley.  Report on their memorial compost efforts...

What an amzing community!  We did it! Over 80 volunteers from Interbay, from 
other P-patchs and the community came together Saturday morning to hand mix 
approximately one million flowers from the Seattle Center Flower  Vigil with 
leaves, pine needles, straw and even pine shaving bedding from the circus 
elephants for composting in our bulk storage bins.  We filled three and were 
finished by 2:00 p.m. including time for lunch.  Something about this project 
of composting the volumes of memorial flowers so they can be returned to the 
soil for a memorial garden resonated profoundly with the community and each 
of us that participated.

We came together during a time of feeling helpless and emotionally drained 
with the events that shattered our sense of the world and humanity to work 
our butts off making huge piles of compost pitchfork by pitchforkful, 
wheelbarrow by wheelbarrowful...something we know how to do, something we 
understand the meaning of, something that makes a difference.  The now 
steaming piles are, and will always be, symbols and agents for hope and 
renewal.  The earth and the community have felt human kindness.   

The table at lunch, laden with many huge pots of delicious soups, represented 
Interbay at its best. Thanks to all the soupmakers and to Ciro once again for 
delivering loaves and loaves of his great bread. The roots of the word 
"companionship" mean "sharing bread".

And to Alaska Fishermen's Journal editor/song writer John van Amerongen who 
came from Vashon to sing a song he wrote for the occasion. And to Ann Hursey 
for her poem. 

When the flowers were delivered on Tuesday evening, we had nothing in our 
Brown bins. Thanks to appeals by radio stations, KCPQ and Jean Godden the 
community responded with almost enough brown material (and helpers)to finish 
the job.  The piles, currently steaming away, are a little heavy on "green" 
but we will have a chance to add more brown when we turn the piles (we have 
been offered mechanical help).

So that you appreciate the historic significance of this project, what this 
project has meant to our garden and the community at large and especially the 
depth and breadth of caring in the Interbay community I would like to share 
with you  the long list of e-mails I have received leading up to Saturday's 
amazing manifestation of "community" in it's finest sense: 
"yes, a response to this week's events requires a 'big project'!!!   with a 
very important message..... 
i could round up some friends to help.... i think!  i would at least make the 
effort!  keep me posted!" 
"Becky and I are 150% for the program. Let us know the when and where and we 
will be there."
Jim & Becky 
"Definitely count me in.  

Since many of the flowers in my garden  went to the Seattle Center, they will 
make a full circle."
"Stephanie's suggestion to send our compost to the closest community garden 
to the WTC,
released more of my tears--   Composting memorial flowers, and sending them 
to sprout new seeds in community gardens closest to the WTC, offers rich annd 
fertile hope.

See you on Saturday.

Yen Chin's email is beautiful and needs forwarding to more people."
As always,  Ann
"Yes.  I will take Tuesday off work to help."  Eileen 
"I would help out. I think it is a great idea!  I am not available this Sat. 
but could help during the week." leee
"Our family is very supportive of this idea.  We left flowers at the memorial 
last nite from our ppatch plot so this composting idea provides a nice
connectedness.  Let me know what I can do."  David 
"I can help out, and I have a friend who is interested."  Jess
"I am available to help with the peace flower project." Anne
"YES! and after seeing the flowers i still say YES!   i can help 
saturday..... and possibly some time on friday too. i will also put the word 
out to friends and i feel pretty confident i can get quite a number of people 
to join in..."luci 
"I think the idea of composting the flowers is one great idea. I would be 
available Thursday and or Friday for at least part of those days. Also
available Sat. for morning hours. Let me know how I may help." Fred
"I'd be willing to help on Tues or Wed evening, either at the p-patch or the 
Seattle Center." 
THanks, Patti 
"I can help late this afternoon if there is any thing to do then." susan
"Hi Everyone, we are never surprised by how warm and caring p-patch gardeners 
are. Here is something we thought all of you might want to participate 
in...please share with others too."
"I can be there on Saturday.  My best friend is in town from Arizona and I 
will bring her too!"
"Often fewer words say it all in this complex world. Allow me to share this." 

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 
Where there is injury, pardon; 
Where there is doubt, faith; 
Where there is despair, hope; 
Where there is darkness, light; 
Where there is sadness, joy. 

-St. Francis of Assisi 
"This is REALLY cool!" Sue
"Beautiful idea.  We'll help spread the word."
Jim Diers
"great idea. i will be at the closing ceremony".
"so glad that you are helping with this."
Maud Daudon, Deputy Mayor
"I'm delighted you folks are going to do this. I would love to lend a hand if 
possible.....Thinking of you all, and your good work for our good earth.
Let me know what's needed." Kathy
"This is a wonderful idea. The garden is a great source of solace and 
renewal." Bev 
"What a wonderful thing to do! The Interbay Pea Patch is a magical place that 
inspires the kind of creative thinking we need right now.
Mary Lou Dickerson, State Representative
"Way to go with the Peace Flower Compost.  Let me know if you still need 
leaves by this weekend and I will put out an announcement on the radio." 
Enjoy Gardening, Scott Conner, KOMO AM 1000
"How wonderful.  Count on me to help compost on Saturday and I'll be at the 
garden Tuesday Evening to do what needs to be done.  Thoughts for signage?"
"I'll gladly lend labor to this effort. I think using the compost to plant a 
memorial garden at the Seattle Center makes wonderful sense.  " Yen 
"fantastic!  we are daring to take on a big project - how can we help locate 
browns?  I am sure we can help Saturday - will try to get some time away on 
Tuesday afternoon to show up there."  Dee 
"I'll be there. Since I'll be riding the bus, I won't be able to bring a 
pitchfork, but I'll
bring my gloves, wear my ppatch tshirt and hat and be ready to work.  

What an honor and privilege to layer these flowers among dried leaves, and 
let them cook.  These million flowers will speak eloquently to the miracle of 
compost.  Thank you." As always,Ann
"What a blessing to be able to put our gardening/composting skills and 
facilities to work for peaceful reasons.  You know I'll be there to help...   

We'll surely pitch in on the sorting and preparations at the Seattle Center." 
"When I heard that the flowers would be donated, I wondered if Interbay would 
be involved.  Thanks for volunteering to do this! I'll call my East Ballard 
P-patchers." Steve Layman, East Ballard P-Patch
"This is terrific. When I read in the paper this morning that this would 
happen, I hoped it would be with the Interbay P-Patch." Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 
State Senator 
"I will be there Sat. to help out." -melissa
"What a stunningly lovely and fitting thing to do!  I am so proud at being 
here in Seattle-" 
Linda Stores, Margaret Pageler's Office
"Thanks for doing this.  I live where I can see the P-Patch and will gather 
up what leaves I can find and drop them by.  Perhaps I can take this 
opportunity to ask you what would be the best way to sign up for a patch.  I 
am sure there must be a waiting list, but I would like to get on it." Nancy 
"I've put it in my assignment file for Saturday... thank you for keeping us 
posted." Christine Chen 
News Anchor, Q13 Morning News 
"Hi!  I am volunteering myself and my wife, Nicole
Capizzi (who runs the children's garden at Orca at
Columbia) to help with the composting.  Let us know
what you need." Kyle
"I just attended the Peace Flower clean-up and was amazed and overwhelmed by 
the number of flowers.  Thank you to Interbay for volunteering to compost 
them."  Kym Anderson, Courtland PPatch
"A worthwhile challenge. Let's do it!"   Ruth
"Thanks so much for your participation and leadership." Margaret Pageler, 
Seattle City Council
"that was a great event today." marc
"What a beautiful and appropriate gesture by the
PPatchers. I went to place flowers at the memorial on Sunday 
evening,expecting a small crowd and was so overwhelmed by the number of people
and the number of tributes and flowers by the community. I am soooo glad you 
are doing this project.  Thank you." Eileen E.
"the volunteer coordinator for the Master Composters wanted to be sure her 
information got to you, so she can harness some of their energy for this 
project."  Helen Gabel from Picardo
"What a lovely idea." Suzanne
"Thanks for creating a way for me to connect.  I emptied my leaf compost into 
6 sacks to contribute.  With every precious pitchfork full I felt that I was 
sending my love and hope for a better world." Jesslyn 
"We went to the international Fountain on Sunday morning, taking flowers from 
our garden with us.  We must have spent an hour there at least, reading all 
of the notes and thoughts that people had left.  I don't think I have ever 
seen so many flowers and people brought together for a common cause.
     You had a terrific idea to compost the flowers and use the compost for 
the new Peace Garden."   Norma
"I saw your email about the peace flower compost project.  What a fabuous 
idea!.  I'm here to offer our support for this endeavor.  

Central West Parks District (Bardow Lewis)  may have already contacted you 
about providing some leaf compost that I saw you needed for blending with the 
flowers. He can give you the details on what he has available.  

Regarding getting a shreder  to process the materials we are looking around 
the department right now to find a unit.  We may also talk to some equipment 
vendors about demonstrating some units.  We are currently researching these 
units anyway as we are developing proposals for expanding the City's 
composting operations.  

We will also talk with our heavy equipment crew about setting up a schedule 
to turn your large bins of this compost.  

Please let me know how we can assist.  Thanks for taking this on.  

Phil Renfrow
Pesticide Reduction Project Coordinator
Seattle Parks and Recreation
"I'm raking up leaves and have about four bags (those large, lawn bags).  I 
hope to rake about four more bags by tomorrow morning, making 8.  Leaves are 
falling onto the street and with all the dry weather are in prime readiness.
(There was a reason for me to not compost these leaves earlier.)

Working with the community ppatch folks has been my saving grace over these 
past days of human loss and talk of war against terrorism.  The garden,
composting to be exact, offers earth's soft fire of hope and renewal.

Thanks for all your leadership.  See you tomorrow.  I'll bring a pot of 
soup." Ann
"I will bring Pea Soup."  Ruth
"A fabulous idea!"  Ed
"Like a laboring woman about to give birth, the Peace Flower Compost will 
give us all the opportunity to bring new life full of hope into our world. 
Let us do this with love, compassion and wisdom." Kate
"Hello Friends.
I would like to invite you to the Seattle Center to help in the careful 
removal of thousands of memorial momentos tomorrow at 10am.

As you may know, the International Fountain is nearly covered with flowers 
and momentos left over the past four days by people who wanted to show their 
respect to the victims in the Sept. 11th tragedy. 

We are going to be working with the Seattle P-Patch folks to sort out all the 
greens and flowers from the plastic wrapping and other refuse so that a clean 
green compost can be made by volunteers at the Interbay P-Patch Community 
Garden.  The compost produced from this effort will be used to create a new 
garden space near the international fountain.

Please forward this invitation onto friends, family and co-workers who may be 
interested in helping out tomorrow. Thank you very much."
peace, Pat Kaufman, Recycling Coordinator,
Seattle Center
"I will e-mail everybody that I can think of who may have some brown 
materials and get back to you asap." Joe
"Peace flower compost is just what is needed now. i thought of composting the 
flowers when I saw them on Sunday. thanks again for arranging this compost 
event." Anza
"I have called the School district, central parks crew, and rich called 
SEATRAN, plus I have been passing it on to individuals...many of them could 
add up the browns.  Will keep spreading the word, thanks for doing this, it 
really is wonderful."
"I have lots of horse chestnut leaves, are these "brown"? Do you want them?" 
"We will plan to be on hand Saturday to help."
Jean & Ralph
Dear Freinds at Interbay,
My heart is full tonight -- full of the words and prayers of thousands of 
people, who expressed their grief, anger, courage, forgiveness, hope,
and commitment to the task of changing the world -- "starting with myself," 
as one writer said, scrawled on the back of an envelope.

Today, at the Seattle Center, while many of you were gathering flowers and 
greenery for the Peace Compost, I chose the task of helping to
assemble the written messages, photographs, poems, drawings and other 
memorial gifts that had been left amidst the flowers.  There were many
anonymous helpers -- some who had planned to be there, others who came to 
express their own feelings and who remained to work.  At the
"Memorial Memento" station at the rim of the fountain, three of us, who had 
never met before this morning, stayed together and worked side by
side for five or six hours.  We received the mementos brought to us by the 
workers in the bowl of the fountain, and we layered these treasures
into blue tubs.  We smoothed the crumpled papers, set aside the wet things to 
dry, sorted the origami doves from the stuffed animals, the
flags, the prayer beads, the eagle feathers, the firemen's badges crossed 
with black tape, the candle stubs, the children's drawings, the
ballet shoes -- gently, so that nothing would be crushed or lost.  The 
blessing to us, as we touched these gifts, is that we read - to
ourselves, and out loud to each other -- hundreds, thousands, of the 
messages.  There was time enough.  Everyone was of one heart.

The Seattle Center staff members took the blue tubs full of mementos, and 
arranged them lovingly on the floor of what was once the Seattle Art
Museum Pavilion.  When our portion of the sorting work was done, my new 
friends and I went to look at the emerging exhibit.  It was awesome, to
see the items that dozens of people had so tenderly handled and wept over, 
now in a new arrangement, filling the whole pavilion.  "Oh, look
-- there is the Hawaiian necklace, there is the scroll, there is the toy 
firetruck, there are the prayer flags, there are thee shoes of James's
father..."  It was like greeting old friends -- every item had passed through 
our hands.  Six hands, sixty hands, six hundred hands... and out
into the community.

So much love, so much forgiveness, so much hope.  We CAN change the world, if 
we follow our spirits, speak our hearts, and act on our highest values.
See you at the garden on Saturday," Eileen McC 
"Brilliant idea about the compost at the Seattle Center Fountain! Beautiful!" 
"Would this be something you'd be up for doing a "preview" on tomorrow 
morning with our morning feature reporter Debbie?  She does 3 live shots,
6:50/7:50/8:50.  You could show her what's involved and also get out the word 
on what you need for Saturday.
Let me know."
Wendi Fontes 
Content Manager, Q13 Morning News 
"My name is Dan Shepherd and I am the new compost coordinator for the Zoo. I 
hear your call for "browns" and want to know if there is anything I can do. 
The leaves on grounds now are picked up by the street sweeper and I compost 
those. I already have those separated out and can deliver them if you need 
them. We don't have a huge amount yet this time of year but I can probaby get 
about a cubic yard or so.  I can also get you a couple bales of hay if that 
would help. What kind of flower volume are you expecting? 

As soon as I saw the flowers starting to collect I had the same feeling, lets 
compost them and give them new life.  I am glad Interbay is taking the lead 
on this. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. The Zoo supports 
your efforts." Regards, Dan
"Thanks for the organizing of the Peace compost and all the energy that it 
entailed and will continue to produce."  Julie
"I've had a quick look around Queen Anne for fallen leaves and have found 
very few.  I'll try to collect what I can on Friday and bring them down the 
the garden for the memorial compost."  
"with gratitude for the brilliant idea on returning all those flowers to 
useable compost.  Any other disposing of them would be wrong." Mary Robson
"It really has been an amazing project! Thanks for all the help - Seattle 
Center owes a debt of gratitude to you and all the P-Patchers in Seattle. 
Please find the attached thank you and check out page B3 of today's Seattle 
Times." Pat
"What you are doing is great.  I sent out two messages to our list server 
last night about the Peace Garden Compost, and I should be hearing back today 
or tomorrow." Sophia
"I have yet to have a truly wonderful collection of "browns" but will in 
another few weeks, I'm sure.  How long into the Fall are you collecting for 
the compost for the memorial garden?  It'd thrill me to know my leaves 
helped." Kristine
  "This is an excellent program.  It is in many ways, profoundly appropriate. 
 Is there anything to be done today or on Sunday?" Matt 
"Very Very Cool!" Kathy Casey
"I will come by the garden saturday morning to photograph the flower compost 
process." Anna
"The Seattle Center flower vigil was a powerful healing experience.  
Composting the flowers seems to me to be such an appropriate final touch.  
Thanks for all that you do for Interbay, the P-Patchers and the City."  Jan 
Drago, Seattle City Council
"Let me know if you need a new song for the event. I'd be honored to come and 
sing one that  I  wrote last Sunday. I was taken by the number of victims who 
used cell phones from aircraft and offices to deliver a singular message on 
September 11--"I love you."

The song is titled "Message from New York --Don't forget to say "I love you." 
The words follow. I'm trying to get a bigtime country star like Randy Travis 
or Ricky Skagggs to record it and donate proceeds to the American Red Cross 
or other relief organization. No bites so far, so I guess I'll have to sing 
it myself for awhile. 

Like I said, I'd be honored to sing this and a few other songs. Lemme know, 
van Am

Message from New York --
Don't Forget to Say "I Love You"

Copyright Sunday, Sept.16, 2001 by John van Amerongen

Far away in New York City, where the big skyscrapers stand
Ninety floors up in a building worked a woman and a man.
Both were working for their families -- one a husband, one a wife
Both were thankful for their children, both were thankful for their life.

In an instant there was chaos, in an instant there was pain.
An earthquake shook the building ten floors higher when a plane
Tore a hole in Tuesday morning and blew it all apart
Tore a hole in every family, tore a hole in every heart.

Smoke and fire blocked all the exits, but it could not stop their love
Even as the steel and concrete began to tremble up above.
They shared a last call on her cellphone, shared a last prayer to the Lord
We may never find their bodies, but we can't forget their words:

"Remember that I love you, remember that I care.
Remember I'm always with you, remember we all share
One heart as a family and the grace of God on high
No one can take that from us; that love can never die."

So don't forget them with the sunrise; don't forget them with the fall.
Don't forget their love and courage; take a lesson, one and all.
Don't forget to hug your children; don't forget those kiss good-byes
Don't forget to say, "I love you." Build a love that never dies.
"Just when I thought Interbay couldn't get any better...." Stephanie
"I'll be there with some Truckstop Chili.  Thanks." John
"this memorial compost is such a great idea." Lisa
"Would you be available for a cell phone call around 9:30am tomorrow (SAT) to 
just describe what
folks are doing with the flowers?  
I would love to be there in person but unfortunately I'm stuck at the station 
tomorrow (telling you the time).  Still, I want to be able to share with 
listeners what's going on.   Thanks. 
Cathy Duchamp, Reporter/Host, KUOW Public Radio 
"At best I'm not very strong and with still having problems from a torn 
rotator cuff, I will pass on the heavy work and volunteer to bring soup 
instead." Jean
"I have a small soup I made recently.  I'll bring it." Marc
"I'll make some soup and see you in the morning."  Dee 
"I would especially like to help with
this event if it's not too late after October 2nd."
"I am making a corn chowder for tomorrow." Becky
"I just dropped off 3 big bags of br. leaves but did not stay.  Hope the 
leaves helped a little."
"I can put out a call for more leaves.  I talked to Cheryl and she said she 
forgot but she has some leaves that she would give you.  I will try to pack 
up some leaves from Bradner and bring them by.
I hope you get some help with a front loader; that sure is a large task.  
Is this the best time for Victory Gardens?  All kinds of gardens.  A positive 
approach to this horrible situation that we find ourselves in."
"do you still need browns?  I have plenty, but am short on trucking until 
late this week or early next." Bob

..and then there were the many phone calls to offer thanks or various kinds 
of support and the many people who anonymously unloaded bags of leaves or 
pine needles, bales of straw, or other needed "browns".  Even the circus 
travelling through responded. Thanks to our neighbors at Alexander's Rentals 
for sending down their shredder and a pitchfork. And to Trader Joes and Karen 
Whitner for bringing down cases of bottled water just when they were needed.

Thank you everyone for making this amazing project happen and for the 
opportunity to be involved.  I don't know about you but I slept well Saturday 

The composts, three big binfuls, are steaming away and will need to be turned 
regularly. Now that they are made the piles are way  too big to work by hand. 
The golf course has offered their front end loader and the Parks Dept has 
offered to bring equipment in to turn as they are able to schedule it.  

If the piles were too heavy with "green" or are too wet they will develop 
unpleasent odors until we can incorporate more oxygen by turning and add in 
more "browns".  At some point the bins will be able to be combined. We will 
keep the composts at Interbay until they no longer heat up after being 
turned...four to ten weeks.  The historic composts will need to be protected 
from rains.  Does anyone have tarps that could do the job? Thank for your 
patience and understanding during the composting process.

In gratitude,
Jon Rowley
Site Coordinator

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