Looking back, looking forward — Thank you!

As we look ahead to 2015, we want to take a moment to once again thank everyone who contributed to Sustainable Ballard with volunteer hours, financial support, and participation in the past year!  It’s amazing to look back over the year and realize how much happened in our lil’ ol’ organization. Thanks to EVERYONE who has given us all kinds of successes to celebrate!

Here’s a recap of our projects and programs in 2014, in no particular order.  (All of these are ongoing, so if you see something you’d like to join in with, let us know!)

FLH September 2014In 12 monthly sessions, Free Letters Home served a total of 83 guests, who selected 239 cards/postcards, and were issued 103 stamps.  Special thanks to Bev Beppler and her team for helping homeless and previously homeless community members reconnect with their families.  Free Letters Home hopes to expand to another location at the Ballard Food Bank in 2015.


Each month the Ballard Knitters for the Homeless program knits 12-25 hats, scarves, fingerless gloves, and more. Well over 200 items were knitted and donated in the past year, benefiting hundreds of homeless community members.  Admiration and appreciation to Jody Grage and the 25+ knitters who use their hearts and hands to make these donations possible.

B-Green Building Talks offered up #8 in the series, filling up the 30 spots in no time and Ballard Green Building Talksaccruing a long waiting list.  The B-Green Talks also inspired a collaboration with Green Canopy Homes and Redfin Builders to host an Empower Happy Hour at Greenfire Campus that facilitated a great discussion on issues of sustainability. Hats off to Eric Thomas for helping us explore the cutting edge of sustainable building technologies. and accruing a long waiting list.

Julia Field LibraryThe number of Little Free Libraries in the neighborhood grew from 14 to 32 (that we know of!) in 2014, in part thanks to a brochure and map we produced and 12 registration grants awarded by Sustainable Ballard.  Paula Jenson, Julia Field and Jenny Heins deserve a round of applause for managing this project. Also, thanks to Paula, the Seattle Literacy Council has been offering books to library owners for only 50¢ each, and provided our library stewards with 12 boxes full of free books to share in their libraries.

It was another amazing greenhouse year for Ballard Sprouts.  This group is partnered with the Ravenna Sprouts under the umbrella of Seattle Sprouts of the Seattle Giving Gardens (see SGGN.org for more info).  15 volunteers at the Ballard site nurtured 8,000 plant starts from organic seed and distributed them to community food plots, where they grew into fresh organic produce for local Food Banks.  A big thanks goes out to the management team of Lori Conzatti, Susan Peters, Michael Hagen and Agnes Cwalina.

The Market Gleaning program had a banner year, picking up, transporting, and sorting a record-breaking 865 pounds of produce & bread on a single Sunday.  Overall, 17,575 pounds of local food made its way from the Ballard Farmers Market to the Ballard Food Bank.   We’re incredibly proud of Kathryn Hill (and Liz, Todd, Jean, Jennifer, Suzanne, Laura, Paula & Emily) who keep this program going nearly year-round.


Over 100 new rain gardens and cisterns popped up in Ballard in 2014, expanding the family of RainWise neighbors to 350+ folks who are rw3doing their part for Puget Sound by managing storm water at home.  Ballard RainWise installations were featured on both the NW Green Home Tour and the Edible Garden Tour.  And in August, we brought a RainWise quiz and tasty ice cream pops to nearly 300 people at 15 Night Out parties.  Thanks to the creative work of Julia Field, Jenny Heins and Eric Thomas, our outreach has become the model for RainWise campaigns all over the city!

stop15-8On the garden note, over 200 community members enjoyed visiting 15 private gardens, plus the Ballard Pea-Patch and Crown Hill 3-5’s Co-op Preschool garden, on our 6th Annual Edible Garden Tour.  We’re so grateful that Paula Jenson, Jennifer Mundee, Suzanne Findley and friends keep making this such a successful event.  Already, we’ve heard talk of the 2015 tour – in SE Ballard this time. Last summer we also partnered up with Feet First, to offer a guided walking tour featuring goats and chickens, rain gardens, aquaculture, raised beds, fruit trees, regional vegetables and much more.

The Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth’s Urban Design and Transportation Working Group (comprised of representatives from Ballard-based neighborhood organizations) has been diligently working on urban design and transportation related issues to improve livability and quality of growth in the Ballard core.  In 2014, the group articulated neighborhood-level concerns, desirable development patterns, urban design and transportation choices and infrastructure provisions – providing meaningful input on the city’s major update of the Seattle 2035 comprehensive plan. Ballard has become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city partly due to the high level of participatory activism at the community level.  Big thanks to Courtney Rosenstein and Julia Park for representing Sustainable Ballard in this effort.

Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment, councilmember O’Brien’s office, Sustainable Ballard and other SCALLOPS (Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound) groups have organized and participated in Quarterly Community Forums to stimulate ideas and actions for implementing Seattle’s Climate Action Plan at the neighborhood level to reduce our carbon footprint.  The three forums held in 2014 were well attended, averaging 30-50 attendees each, and explored effective actions for mitigation and adaptation for a sustainable future.  Thanks to Jenny Heins, Jody Grage, Julia Park, and Tom Sheehan for helping launch and maintain this collaborative project with the City.

sbcooks2In a new collaboration with Compass Housing Alliance, SB Cooks volunteers have been cooking and serving healthy dinners, with a side helping of warmth and kindness, to the previously-homeless residents of Ballard’s Nyer Urness House.  Starting with three dinners a month in late 2013, this project has flourished, growing to 8 dinners a month, with 42 volunteers participating!  Extra thanks to our most dedicated core team this year: Andrea and Bob Faste, Chris Ingersoll, Christina Rockrise, Christopher Emerson, Cynthia Whitaker, Ellen Duerenberger, Julie Whitehorn, Orna Locker, Paul and Suzanna Litwin, Sallie Hancock, and Steve and Carolee Grumm.

sb reusable cup-page-001Two new projects started in the fall of 2014.  The Community Kitchen group initiated by Christopher Yang got off to a roaring start with 34 neighbors signing up immediately, and met three times to share their cooking skills with one another.  The Reusable Cups Campaign spearheaded by Margaret Wetter got going just in time for the Festival in September and engaged 10 local businesses to offer discounts for people who bring in a reusable cup.  We are also offering our own cup, which gets additional discounts in some locations.  We’re excited to see how both of these programs grow — cheers to Chris and Margaret for their efforts!

holiday party 1Howard Lamb at Sunergy Systems was a great partner this year! We celebrate Howard for helping us host both our Halloween Party and our Annual Holiday Party/Barter Fair.  Both parties turned out 30-50 people who enjoyed great music, food, drink and fun.

Our 11th Annual Festival was incredibly successful with over 4000 attendees, and sported 10471267_10203630659100214_6486497937493310705_nsome great new features such as the Taste of Ballard beer garden, a highly inspired trash fashion show, a bike and pet parade, a spirituality tent and leaves of remembrance ceremony.  Some favorites from past festivals also returned: Skateboard Clinics, Carseat Recycling, a Family Bike Expo, Cider-pressing, and Green Cleaning DIY, to name a few.  We are looking forward to another great event on September 13th, 2015!

Thanks to our outreach efforts in the Think Green Recycling Challenge with Waste Management, we were awarded $2600 and were able to direct some funding to our Festival, the Reusable Cups Campaign, and a new project supporting an After School Gardening Ed program at Ballard Community Center – coming in 2015.  Hats off to Jodi Newton for taking the lead on the Think Green challenge and to Emily Conard for bringing us the exciting new program teaching kids about gardening and food.

Over the past year, we sent you 18 E-Newsletters and gained about 200 new readers.  Margaret Wetter gets all of the posts we include up on our website and makes sure we have great pictures included.  Bravo, Margaret!  We also have an incredible new asset in Tracy Wilson, who now compiles, edits and delivers our e-newsletter. Bravo, Tracy!  Finally, Jodi Newton makes sure you see all this info on social media.  Bravo, Jodi!

Finally, we humbly thank each other (our board) for furthering the goals and mission of our organization over the past year.

The Sustainable Ballard Board of Directors
Jenny Heins, Orna Locker, Tom Sheehan, Paula Jenson, Courtney Rosenstein, Eric Smith, Eric Thomas, Julia Park, Ken Cousins, and outgoing members Jessica Lee and Jodi Newton