Summer of Practical Action:Build a Worm Bin

UPDATE:  This event was postponed due to heavy rain on the originally scheduled date.  The event will be rescheduled in September. This Saturday, August 29 you can build a worm bin to take home and use.  By placing food scraps and other basic materials such as newspapers in the bin, worms will process the materials and create great soil for gardening.  This works for apartment-dwellers and for those who only keep potted plants — the fresh soil will help keep houseplants healthy, too.

The Worm Bin Building Party will be held from 9 to noon at the NE Seattle Tool Library, 2415 NE 80th Street.  There is a small fee for materials.  E-mail to to make a reservation.

DIRT! The Movie

On Friday evening, August 14th at 7 PM, the Wedgwood Meaningful Movies group will present DIRT! The Movie.  This free event will be held at Our Lady of the Lake, 8900 35th Ave NE, in Jubilee Hall, closest to the corner of NE 89th Street.

Inspired by William Bryant Logan’s book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, this film takes a humorous but substantial look into the history and current state of the living organic matter called dirt.  The movie features scientists who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a beneficial relationship with soil.   DIRT! The Movie brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impacts of the soil.

The film showing is free; donations for screening rights are welcome.  Doors open at 6:30 PM. Parking is available on NE 89th and NE 90th Streets. The film will begin at 7 PM with a facilitated community discussion to follow.

Yard Sale at the Tool Library

The NE Seattle Tool Library will have its annual Yard Sale on Saturday, July 18, from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Great deals will be available on excess tools, including yard maintenance, hand tools, and power tools.

For $20 you can rent a table to sell your own stuff at the Yard Sale.  This donation goes to support the work of the Tool Library and you will be assured of a large crowd of customers at the sale day, too.  To reserve a table, stop by the Tool Library during open hours or e-mail them:

The NE Seattle Tool Library is located at 2415 NE 80th Street, just west of the stop light on 25th Ave NE at NE 80th Street.  The Tool Library is open on Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 PM, Saturday 9 to 3 and Sunday 2 to 5.  There are special open hours for classes and programs such as Fixers Collective.

The NE Seattle Tool Library aims to inspire participation in community projects and pursue sustainability through fun projects like backyard gardens, home energy improvements, food preservation, and water harvesting.  Classes are offered, and the Tool Library hosts community events to advance and celebrate neighborhood action and cooperation.

The NE Seattle Tool Library has over 3,000 tools available to lend. Check out the searchable inventory!

Clean-up at Hunter’s

It has been a summer of community action and clean-up in Wedgwood as groups of volunteers have undertaken needed improvements.

Weed-whacking volunteer Tony Frego is a Wedgwood Community Council trustee.

Volunteers from the Wedgwood Community Council and OneLife Church contacted the City of Seattle for needed graffiti removal at Wedgwood’s Future Park, corner of NE 86th Street.  Then the volunteers held a work party on June 27th to create a Picnic Place.

On May 31st Wedgwood’s Scout Troop 166 cut back tree branches and shrubbery along the sidewalk on 35th Ave NE from NE 80th to 81st, including the plantings around the Gateposts of Wedgwood.

The most recent clean-up work was coordinated by Sustainable NE Seattle at the Gathering Place at the Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE, on July 9th, 2015.  This site was first created in 2011 with permission from the Hunter family, to make a usable space for summer activities.

The Gathering Place site can be reserved for birthday parties, summer picnics, etc. by registering with the SusNE site coordinators.  The next public event to be held at the Gathering Place will be Wedgwood Community Council’s Outdoor Cinema on July 25, 2015.

Our thanks to Brooke Richardson for these July 9th work party photos, and thanks to the volunteers of Sustainable NE Seattle and the Wedgwood Community Council.

Grass-cutting and stage repair was done by volunteers at a work party for The Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm on July 9, 2015.

A Summer of Practical Action

The Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm was created by a grant-funded project in 2011.

The Hunter Tree Farm Gathering Place (HFGP) at 7744 35th Ave NE is a usable public space created in cooperation with the site owners, the Hunter family.  The HFGP needs its summer sprucing up!  Make your summer a time of practical action at  the work party at Hunter’s on Thursday evening, July 9th, from 6:30 to 9 PM.

We will meet to weed, mow, fix, and the likes, to get the HFGP ready to be used for the community’s summer events, like the Wedgwood Outdoor Cinema coming up on July 25th.

Bring your work gloves and any tools you might use for yard work.  Building skills are sought for stage repair.

The work party will be hosted by Sustainable Northeast Seattle.  Take a look at the other Summer of Practical Action events such as a Rainwise workshop and a night of Wedgwood Meaningful Movies.

Solar Power

Are you interested in solar power for your home?  How does solar power work, and will solar power reduce your electric bills?

NW Wind & Solar is holding a workshop on Monday, June 1st from 6 to 7:30 PM at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Ave NE (enter from NE 80th Street and go upstairs to the Fireside Room.)

Registered attendees at the workshop will receive a discount on installation of a solar system by NW Wind & Solar.

Practical Permaculture

What is permaculture?  Permaculture aims for a site which sustains itself through natural landscaping and edible gardening.  A fruit tree, for example, provides food, shade and beauty to a landscape.  All plants in the permaculture garden should provide practical benefits along with aesthetic satisfaction.

Join in with the Practical Permaculture meeting on Thursday, April 9.  There will be a general meeting from 7 to 8 PM.  From 8 to 9 PM local authors and permaculturalists Dave Boehnlein and Jessi Bloom will share ideas from their new book, Practical Permaculture.  Copies of their book will be available so bring some cash or your checkbook. You’re going to want to take home a copy!

In their talk the authors will address:  Making Permaculture Landscapes Understandable for All: Integrating Aesthetics & Education Into All Your Designs. Dave and Jessi will discuss the role of aesthetics and educational design for permaculture landscapes.

The meeting will be at the North Seattle Friends Church Fellowship Hall, 2415 NE 80th Street.  Enter the driveway off of 25th Ave NE just south of the Tool Library building.

Are You RainWise? Learn How You May Be Eligible for Free Rain Gardens or Cisterns!

RainWise Contractor Fair
Saturday, March 21st,  11:30AM-1PM
Hunter Farm Gathering Place, 7744 35th Ave NE

In Seattle, many of our roads drain to catchbasins that feed into combined sewer overflow (CSO) stormwater infrastrucutre.  These CSO systems periodically get overwhelmed during heavy rain events and result in discharges of sewage into our water ways, such as Lake Washington.  You can actually check out this interactive map to see whether CSO’s are discharging into our City’s waterways during rain events.  In Wedgwood, most of this water either drains south to North Union Bay, near the Center for Urban Horticulture.

To help alleviate the volume of stormwater entering these systems and minimize costly infrastructure improvements, the Seattle Public Utilities has developed the RainWise program.  Through SPU’s RainWise program, home owners can get significant rebates to have rain gardens or cisterns installed on their property to capture runoff from roofs or other impervious surfaces.  In many cases, these rebates will pay the whole cost for construction and landscaping of a rain garden or instllation of a cistern (Average Rebate = $4,400!).  There’s an easy way to figure out if you qualify for RainWise rebates.  Simply, check on SPU’s RainWise website whether your address is within the boundaries of a RainWise CSO basin.

If you do qualify for RainWise rebates, SPU will be hosting a a series of FREE RainWise 101 workshops over the coming months to learn more.  You can even meet RainWise qualified contractors on March 21st from 11:30AM-1PM at the Hunter Farm Gathering Place (7744 35th Ave NE) to help meet and select a contractor to help guide you through this process.  SPU has even put together a walking tour for the NE Seattle and the Wedgwood area to see rain gardens that your neighborhs have already had installed through SPU’s RainWise program.  You can learn about all of this and more through their NE Seattle RainWise Brochure (PDF).

UPCOMING RainWise EVENTS.  Register at

  • RainWise Contractor Fair - Find out how to get started with RainWise and meet qualified contractors.
    Satureday, March 21, 11:30AM-1PM at Hunter Farm Gathering Place, 7744 35th Ave NE
  • FREE RainWise 101 Workshops – Learn about the RainWise program. Register at
    • Thursday, March 19, 7-8:30PM, Sand Point Methodist Church, 4710 NE 70th St
    • Wednesday, April 1, 6-7:30PM, Ballard Public Library, 5614 22nd Ave NW
    • Sunday, April 19, 3-4:3oPM, NE Seattle Public Library, 6801 35th Ave NE
    • Wednesday, April 22, 7-8:30PM, Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave N

Two Years of Tools

NE Seattle Tool Library members

The NE Seattle Tool Library is celebrating two years of sharing, skill-building, community networking and just plain old-fashioned fun.  Everyone is invited to join in at the anniversary celebration on Saturday, January 24, beginning at noon. Come and meet the folks, take a look around and consider a membership for unlimited borrowing and for participation in classes.

The NE Seattle Tool Library is located at 2415 NE 80th Street, just west of Ravenna Ave NE.  Go one block west from the traffic light at NE 80th Street.

New Year, New Skills

Sustainable NE Seattle is collaborating with Meadowbrook Community Center to offer the Fifth Annual ‘HANDS ON!’ community skills–share fair.

What is a skills fair?  It is a day of sharing practical skills with our neighbors.  There will be short workshops on a wide variety of skills, from sock darning to bread baking to fruit tree grafting. The day will include a luncheon and speaker.

The Skills Fair is from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, February 7, 2015, with lunch from 12 to 12:45 at Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Ave NE.

Sharing skills to strengthen our community.

Do you have a skill you would like to teach? This community has stepped up in the past five years and filled the day’s schedule with classes of all kinds. Think of the things you know that help aid in your ability to live more in concert with the earth and adds to your resilience. Then email and let them know what you want to teach.  The SusNE page has a list of areas of interest from past years of the Skills Fairs.