While not technically in our neighborhood, the Freeway Estates Community Orchard (FECO) at 6030 6th Ave NE is not far away – just east of Green Lake, alongside the west edge of I-5 and just south of Ravenna Boulevard. I’ve never noticed it, in part because, if you’re getting on I-5 south from, say, the Park and Ride, your view of the orchard is blocked by a cement sound barrier, and if you’re getting off I-5 north onto Ravenna, then you’re on the opposite side of the freeway.
FECO was started in 2010 by a group of determined area volunteers when the plot was just grass and invasive plants. After discussions with immediate neighbors and securing permissions from the land managers, the land was slowly transitioned to an orchard of fruit trees and vegetables. In addition to the trees and gardens, FECO maintains a cistern and drip irrigation system on the property, and holds educational workshops, gardening demonstrations and the like. New volunteers are always welcome, and food is provided to local food banks. (Last year, FECO donated food to Family Works, a charity supported by Wallyhood.)
The 12,000 square foot orchard sits on Duwamish land managed by WSDOT as part of the freeway right-of-way. The property is leased to FECO which is supported by donations from businesses and individuals and matching grants from the city of Seattle.
Another source of funding is an annual plant sale, and this year’s takes place this coming Saturday:
- Date: Saturday, March 26
- Time: 10 am – 1 pm
- Place: Freeway Estates Community Orchard, 6030 6th Ave NE
- Payment: Cash or Venmo
- Plants for sale include: kale, mustard, broccoli, lettuce, sword ferns, mahonia, and many more
So if you’re looking for starters, flowers, vegetables or other things for your spring gardening needs, come to the FECO plant sale. See the orchard, and support a great community resource.