The Pig Roast Fundraiser event on September 16th, taken by Principal Kischner from the 3rd floor of Genesee Hill Elementary School.
The Urban Homestead Foundation has generated overwhelming community support for the purchase of the Dakota Homestead land. Our base of support continues to grow as we reach out to the community through events and media, and we gain further support from our local leaders who wish to see this kind of community outreach - a ‘modern barnraising’ - succeed. People are inspired to get involved as soon as they hear what we have planned and are asked to participate in the vision of what this space could be.
Since establishing the Urban Homestead Foundation as a nonprofit less than two years ago, we have grown to a nine member Board of Directors, brought in over 25 active volunteers and more than 200 individual supporters, while establishing partnerships with numerous local environmental groups and a Community Partnership agreement with Genesee Hill Elementary across the street. Our volunteers have written grants, hosted house parties, worked festival booths, met with local officials, started letter writing campaigns, canvassed the neighborhood, and planned fundraisers.
PIG ROAST FUNDRAISER RECAP!
Our largest fundraiser this fall, a Pig Roast Fundraiser Dinner with a live band on the property, was a huge success in bringing neighbors together. With over 100 people from the community in attendance, and more from the neighborhood walking by to donate money when they found out what we’re doing, we witnessed the possibility of creating an urban hub where residents can gather in green space. This one fundraiser raised almost $10,000 through ticket sales, raffle tickets, donations and drink purchases. It was a blast!
The developing relationships between neighbors is inspiring – there were many stories from the pig roast dinner of neighbors who had not yet been introduced, some living only a block away. Thank you to our community sponsors that made this event possible with donations of food, money and raffle items, thank you to Board member Becca Bay and her team of volunteers for months of planning, coordination and execution, to Josh Schramm and Westerly for amazing music and the pig crew of Nicole Ott, The Swinery and Genesee Hill PTA President Christine Kraynek and family for roasting the pig! Thank you to Kristen and Slade Bedford for the awesome cornhole boards that were raffled off, and to Christie Kinskey for the professional pictures. The biggest thank you to the community for coming together, supporting this project, showing up and making it a great event!
The partnerships we are building and plan to build are numerous. From the already mentioned Genesee Hill Elementary School, to other local schools in the area, and resources like Seattle Farm School, Seattle Tilth, AlleyCat Acres, the Beacon Hill Food Forest and Bradner Gardens. In addition, we are actively establishing relationships with local farms and farmers, small businesses and restaurants who want to be a part of a movement of individuals and families interested in urban gardening, environmental education, and sustainable food systems.
This kind of community growth and strengthening can continue....but only if the land is saved in time. There are developers waiting at the door for us to fail and turn it into more housing. We have until the end of this year to raise the remaining funds needed to save the land forever. We've already cut the purchase price in half thanks to a matching grant that will match $325,000 and we have raised over $30,000 of individual donations from generous people like you.
We need $300,000 to save it. Now is the time to activate - ask your philanthropic friends, coworkers, your rich aunt, corporate community donation funders, dig into your own pockets....it's do or die time folks. Once lost, it can never be recovered. Save this land for yourself and your community this year!
As West Seattle experiences exponential residential growth, the purchase of the Dakota land mitigates this rapid density by preserving a piece of green space and creating an active community hub for children and adults. Beyond the environmental and educational benefits of preserving this open space across from Genesee Hill Elementary, this land acquisition allows residents to engage with each other in the development of something unique to Seattle. The question of what the land should be used for, from serving local food banks to partnering with social justice organizations and developing food sustainability curriculum, is an opportunity to come together in community conversations and develop an actionable plan that preserves the best and highest purpose of this space.
The fact that the land sits directly across from Genesee Hill Elementary, the largest elementary school in Seattle, is an asset. The students and staff will immediately gain the ability to develop a ‘living laboratory’ for student groups and adults to experiment with edible gardening and nature-based art, science and math. The preservation of this land connects the school to the neighborhood and the neighborhood to an active green space and experience which educates and inspires.
It’s rare that a community has the chance to deliberately invest in its own future. The Dakota Homestead presents an opportunity for people of all ages - kids, adults, and seniors - to have a spot right in their neighborhood to gather and be exposed to knowledge lost to the generations, about nature, about food, and about working together to make a better tomorrow. Preserving this land from development will reverberate through our community for generations to come.