Winter is coming: How will you continue eating local foods?

There are many ways you can continue to eat local during winter months, including shopping at year-round markets, joining a winter CSA, visiting U-Picks and farm stands, knowing what’s in season, and eating at restaurants that source locally. These options not only support local farmers and the local food economy, but also allow consumers to buy farm fresh local food year round in King County!

Tukwila Village Food Hall grand opening this spring

Have you read Fortune’s recent article about the innovative ways restaurants are improving eating and community experiences around the country? If so, you may have heard about a new food hall opening in Tukwila.

The Local Food Team recently spoke with Kara Martin, Food Innovation Network (FIN) Program Director, about the grand opening and importance of the Tukwila Village Food Hall to food entrepreneurs in King County.

Food Hub Feasibility Study: Closing the gap in our local food system

A primary strategy identified in the Local Food Initiative is improving the food processing, storage and distribution infrastructure in King County to accommodate and increase food distribution.

This need has been well documented in the last several years by studies, needs assessments, and market evaluations conducted across the region.  Building on this research and the work done by food systems stakeholders, King County and partners will further evaluate options for developing additional local food system infrastructure, including a consolidated local food facility.

Is it possible to develop a multi-functional and shared-use food facility that supports small farm and food businesses?

King County and partners have teamed up with ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm, to answer this question.

Survey says… Washington farmer-landowner relationships are important for on-farm conservation

In November, American Farmland Trust (AFT) released the Washington state fact sheet summarizing results from its Non-Operating Landowners (NOLs) survey that surveyed individually or partnership-owned lands. This survey revealed that there is significant opportunity for increased conservation practices on rented land to improve soil quality.

Since farming on rented land is very common in King County, these results are particularly valuable for our farming community.

“AFT conducted this survey in 11 states to learn more about NOL and renter relationships, communication in those relationships, conservation attitudes and behaviors, and conservation and outreach needs,” said Courtney Naumann, AFT Pacific Northwest Agricultural Stewardship Program Manager. “These results will help us understand who we should reach out to engage in conversations around agricultural stewardship, and how we can best serve demographics who fall into a renter/owner role.”

WA Meat Up Leadership Summit sizzles with new ideas for strengthening the local meat economy

Are you a consumer who cares about where your meat comes from? Do you know what King County and other agencies and organizations are doing to promote locally produced meats?

The WA Meat Up Leadership Summit created an alliance for further enhancing a strong local meat economy. WA Meat Up is a diverse group of collaborators and entrepreneurs along every link of the niche meat supply chain who support strengthening the local meat economy in Washington State.

In late August, staff members from King County’s Agricultural Program, Washington State University (WSU), Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), and Salumi Artisan Cured Meats worked together to create the WA Meat Up Leadership Summit to provide a space for producers, processors and policy makers to facilitate conversations and create a dialogue about the local meat economy in King County.

Farmer’s Share Program provides hunger relief and agricultural development opportunities in King County

Have you ever wondered how food banks access local farm fresh produce in King County?

Harvest Against Hunger, formerly Rotary First Harvest, works with farmers, truckers, volunteers and others to bring valuable skills and resources into hunger relief efforts in communities across Washington state and beyond. The Harvest Against Hunger (HAH) Farmers Share Program helps increase access to healthy fresh foods in high need populations by developing direct purchasing agreements between farmers and food banks. This new program is funded through the Regional Food System Grant from the King Conservation District.

The Local Food Team spoke with David Bobanick, HAH Executive Director, and Gayle Lautenschlager, HAH Farmer’s Share Americorps VISTA, about the Farmer’s Share program and how they are cultivating relationships with and between farmers and food banks.

Snoqualmie Valley property provides land access and growth opportunities for local farmers

Rising land costs have made finding affordable farmland a significant challenge to starting a new farm business in King County.  In order to help new farmers overcome this land access challenge, SnoValley Tilth created the Experience Farming Project (EFP), which leases farmland and infrastructure to farmers looking to start sustainable businesses and offers easy access to resources, education and community through SnoValley Tilth’s Farm Services.

Thanks to a strategic partnership between SnoValley Tilth and King County, EFP will continue to expand and offer its programming to more farmers.