Many in the SVP Fast Pitch community came to know The Common Acre’s Flight Path program at the 2014 finals, where Bob Redmond, founder and Executive Director lobbied for support of an innovative program bringing together the Port of Seattle, Seattle City Light, and Urban Bee Company to create a paradise for bees.
Why, you ask? Because bees do more than buzz about; and they pollinate more than just flowers. According to Flight Path, bees are “linchpin of our industrial agricultural system”.
A model for airports and power companies everywhere, Flight Path uses scrub, inaccessible land to introduce native plants to support honey bees and wild bees. What had been “useless” land now contributes to local bees and local food, which in turn cut down on carbon emissions.
Flight Path didn’t walk away with a Fast Pitch prize in 2014, but that hasn’t hindered their progress. Today, the organization in its second year of surveying pollinators and testing plantings at the airport and beneath Seattle City Light power lines. They’ve launch a USDA-funded project with Washington State University; produced a series of events – including one with mycologist Paul Stamets at Town Hall Seattle; and brought their art exhibit to Seattle City Hall.
Redmond says that participation in Fast Patch contributed significantly to Flight Path’s development.
“It’s easy to feel isolated during a start-up labor of love,” he says. “Fast Pitch introduced our small staff to Seattle’s vast and supportive entrepreneurial community, and also gave me some skills to communicate with them. The impact was a whole group of meaningful relationships with peers, teachers, supporters. Fabulous.”
One “game changer” for Flight Path was the opportunity that Fast Participation afforded to strengthen the organization’s board of directors.
“We used the SVP process to organize some house parties,” explained Redmond, “where we had great conversations about our work and direction – including a little slide show, of course, reprising the Fast Pitch talk. Our board took a quantum leap in focus, and this year has developed a strategic plan and made other important steps.”
Looking ahead, Flight Path plans to dig deeper into work with Seattle City Light and the Port of Seattle; and to take that experience on the road to help other groups around the country develop their own airport restoration projects.
Reflecting on his experience with Fast Pitch, Redmond offers this great perspective to 2015 participants: “First, you’ve already won, by working so hard on your pitch. Second, remember your passion for your project and communicate that. Everyone is listening deeply.”