What is Bucket Brigade?
Bucket Brigade is a vegetable container gardening project that rescues unwanted containers, turns them into mini vegetable gardens, and brings them to the people.
The idea was hatched last year with Little Rae’s Bakery, which was accumulating 20 plastic buckets a week that could not be recycled.
To save these former egg and fruit containers from the landfill, we hauled them back to Urban Land Army Headquarters and had a planting party.
We then teamed up with St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank - where Little Rae’s sends their extra goodies - and handed out 40 vegetable container gardens.
70 more of the veggie buckets found homes in West Seattle on a rainy Saturday morning.
And supplied folks with fall and winter greens…
Photo by Jerry Whiting, satisfied bucket customer
…all the way up to the big freeze of ‘08!
Bucket Brigade spreads like wildfire in ‘09!
This year, the idea really caught on. Urban Land Army teamed up with neighborhood groups, community centers, public health programs, community festivals, and sustainability organizations to host 10 Bucket Brigades, which brought 625 vegetable container gardens to more than 500 people!
Here is a picture show of a few Bucket Brigades held this year…
Neighborhood families filled 50 buckets of compost and swapped seeds and plants for spring planting.
Brigadiers: Healthy & Active Rainier Valley Coalition
Rainier Beach Community Center
25 buckets of soil and handfuls of seed packs found homes on a sunny spring morning.
Brigadiers: Healthy & Active Rainier Valley Coalition and Urban Land Army HQ
International District/Chinatown Community Center
30 kids planted up 40 buckets with veggie plants on Earth Day.
Brigadiers: International District/Chinatown Community Center, Seattle Tilth, Urban Land Army HQ, and Seattle Parks & Recreation
Safeway Parking Lot, Rainier Avenue
70 Saturday morning grocery shoppers took home 80 container gardens.
Brigadiers: Urban Land Army HQ, Healthy & Active Rainier Valley Coalition, and Sustainable South Seattle
West Seattle Edible Garden Fair
50 buckets from a local bakery, tomato plants grown in the neighborhood, and a bike-powered garden hose to water the plants. Sustainable West Seattle all right!
Brigadiers: Sustainable West Seattle and Urban Land Army HQ
Othello Park International Festival
85 containers of plants and 100 packs of seeds will keep people in fall greens through the fall and winter.
Brigadiers: Urban Land Army, the Garden Hotline, Master Composter/Soil Builders, and Seattle Tilth
Want to host a Bucket Brigade of your own?
We learned a lot this year about how to organize these events, like what kinds of buckets are best for certain events, where to get buckets, plants, and soil - and how much.
We also learned that a Bucket Brigade can be anything you want it to be: a free event organized with friends, part of a spring seed, plant, and tool swap with your neighbors, or a fundraiser for your community organization.
A Bucket Brigade is also a really fun project for kids and would make a great school fundraiser, especially those that already have a garden for growing plant starts.
The Bucket Brigade Field Guide
Now that we have some lessons and statistics under our belt, Urban Land Army will be producing a Bucket Brigade Field Guide that will be a helpful planning guide for any community group, school, or individual that wants to host a Bucket Brigade of their own.
The Field Guide will include information such as what plants work best in containers, how to grow them yourself or source them from someone else, schedules and work plans, supply lists, volunteer roles, and much more.
The Guide will be part of a larger Bucket Brigade Field Kit that will include (almost!) everything you need to host a Bucket Brigade, like container gardening information cards, posters for advertising your event, those rad bucket stickers you see here, handy tools for record keeping, and templates for seed pack stickers.
The Bucket Brigade Field Guide and the Field Kit will be available for order from the website and will be ready in lots of time for spring Bucket Brigades.
In the meantime, get in touch if you have questions about hosting a Bucket Brigade of your own and check out the Bucket Brigade page, too.
Photo from englishrussia.com
This year’s Bucket Brigades were made possible by generous donations and discounts from local businesses and the hard work of volunteers. Thanks.
Little Rae’s Bakery (egg and fruit buckets)
Reclaim Media (cd spindle covers)
Tutta Bella Pizzeria (Columbia City) (tomato, artichoke, and chick pea cans)
King County Greenhouse
Cedar Grove Compost
Top Brigadiers of 2009
Diana Vergis Vinh, Healthy & Active Rainier Valley Coalition
Kate King, Sustainable South Seattle
Maren Neldam, South Shore School Garden
Sue Gibbs, Sustainable South Seattle
Richard Wilson, Sustainable South Seattle
Pam Wrenn, Healthy & Active Rainier Valley Coalition
Becca Fong, Seattle Parks & Recreation
James Morse, Little Rae’s Bakery