On Thursday, September 8, InterIm CDA hosted a fundraiser for the Danny Woo Community Garden called Cultivate: Lettuce Turnip the Beet on Food Justice.
Cultivate celebrated InterIm CDA’s more than four decades of food justice work with the Danny Woo Garden. The garden supports elders in growing culturally relevant vegetables, teaches urban youth about environmental justice, and provides opportunities for intergenerational connection and learning.
The Danny Woo Garden was established in 1975 when Danny Woo, a local restaurant owner, donated the land the garden now sits on to Inter*Im. At that time, Uncle Bob Santos was Inter*Im’s executive director. Working with local experts and passionate community members, Santos led the effort to build a garden for immigrant elders to support them in staying active and growing healthy food.
It took over a year of hard labor to prepare the land and build terraces. Hundreds of volunteers worked to clear blackberry bushes, dispose of trash, and develop the garden’s infrastructure. Companies like Ohno Landscaping, Burlington Northern Railroad, and Longacres Racetrack donated supplies for the massive community project. Students from the University of Washington Department of Landscape Architecture donated their time and skills, and with hundreds of community volunteers, made the garden what it is today.
Emotions at the event were both joyful and reflective. Executive director Pradeepta Upadhyay expressed deep appreciation for the vitality of the garden, while also shedding tears for the recent loss of Uncle Bob. Remembering the legendary leader’s critical role in making the garden a reality, garden manager Mei Yook Woo said of Uncle Bob: “We’re really grateful for him, and want to thank him and give him a big props for being such a fighter, and such an advocate, and such a large voice for this community.”
As an event centered on food justice, Cultivate also provided an opportunity to highlight local chefs of color. Featured chefs included Geo Quibuyen, Chera Amlag, and Tarik Abdullah.
Food & Sh*t, a catering company and monthly pop-up founded by Quibuyen and Amlag in 2013, is known for its delicious Filipino food. The duo often reinterprets dishes from other cuisines by featuring Filipino flavors and cooking techniques. Food & Sh*t pop-ups celebrate community, and occur on the third Monday each month at Kraken Congee in Pioneer Square.
Chef Tarik Abdullah incorporates flavors from North African, Caribbean, and Mediterranean cuisine to build innovative dishes that celebrate his youth growing up in a Muslim family. Chef Tarik hosts a culinary program for children at the Hillman City Collaboratory called In the Kitchen with Chef T that emphasizes healthy eating, creating recipes, and learning to work in a kitchen. Chef Tarik is famous for his Morning Star brunch pop-ups in South Seattle and the Central District, which are typically packed and happen twice a month.
Hood Famous Bakeshop was born after Amlag’s ube cheesecake became famous at one of Food & Sh*t’s monthly pop-up dinners. Amlag is known for expertly fusing Filipino and Hawaiian flavors with classic American sweets. For many, her desserts are a welcome reminder of home. Hood Famous Bakeshop recently moved its bakery to Ballard, and will be celebrating its grand opening on October 8.
Food & Sh*t, Chef Tarik, and Hood Famous Bakeshop generously donated their services to create a highly memorable menu for the evening.
Cultivate’s menu included inasal chicken meatballs with taro and cilantro aioli by Food and Sh*t, vegetable salad roasted with Besar spice by Chef Tarik, cassava cake with Madagascar vanilla whipped cream and shredded gouda by Hood Famous Bakeshop, and Parisian baguette crostinis dressed with fruit and vegetables grown in the Danny Woo Garden.
The event grossed $6,480, the proceeds of which will go toward supporting InterIm CDA’s garden programs. These include seed-to-table gardening lessons for youth, food justice courses for high school students, supplies and equipment for elders who use the garden, and repairs and maintenance to keep the garden safe and accessible for all community members.
If you would like to make a donation to InterIm Community Development Association, visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/InterImCDA. Alternatively, checks can be sent to 310 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98104.
To learn more about the Danny Woo Community Garden:
- Visit www.dannywoogarden.org.
- See CityStream’s June 30, 2016 interview with Uncle Bob Santos.
- The Wing Luke Museum is currently hosting an exhibit about the garden through January 15, 2017, called Seeds of Change, Roots of Power. Visit The Wing anytime between 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.