August will be King County’s first Eat Local Month, a celebration of the abundance of local food available in the county, presented by Tilth Alliance with support from the King Conservation District.
King County produces over $135 million in agricultural products each year. From heritage varieties of blueberries to pasture-raised beef to fresh greens, there is something delicious for everyone at the county’s 41 farmers markets and dozens of locally-sourced markets and restaurants.
Eat Local Month will include weekly special events, activities, recipes, resources, contests and more ways to connect with local food producers and businesses. The four weeks of the month will feature farmers markets, locally made goods, farms, and restaurants, in that order.
Eat Local Month King County is part of a statewide Eat Local Month campaign spearheaded by the Eat Local First Collaborative, the organization behind Eat Local First and the Washington Food & Farm Finder.
The Washington Food & Farm Finder is a tool for anyone in the state involved in the local food system. Producers, processors, distributors, consumers, and food organizations can find each other and build connections using the tool, which has built-in translation for 20 languages and user guidance throughout. Listings are free for owners and operators of local farms, food businesses, and local food systems organizations in Washington state.
“When we talk about local food, there are many ways to engage with buying and eating locally in addition to farmers markets, CSAs and local grocers,” says Sheryl Wiser, director of special projects at Tilth Alliance, of the mission behind Eat Local Month King County. “We want King County residents to know more about the many parts of our local food system and have the resources to make those connections.”
Tilth Alliance will promote events throughout the county during Eat Local Month. “Eating local food can be as simple as trying a new local item once a month, adding a local ingredient to a recipe or growing your own food,” Wiser says.
Some events include date nights at the farm on Blueberry Glen’s U-Pick blueberry farm, zucchini races at many local farmers markets, and art workshops on Wild Dreams Farm on Vashon Island. The list of events on the Eat Local First website will continue to be updated throughout the month.
There will also be an enter to win with over $1,500 worth of prizes from local farms and food businesses. All King County residents over 18 can participate.
“We want to create these diverse endpoints for people to engage with local food,” Wiser says. “We don’t make assumptions about where people are at, because not everyone is able to shop a farmers market or get a CSA subscription.”
Tilth Alliance is leading this year’s Eat Local Month, alongside PCC Community Markets with additional support from Seattle Good Business Network, After95 creative, 21 Acres, Harbor Foodservices and Seattle Farmers Market Association.
If you are a Washington owned and operated food business, you may be able to create a listing on the Washington Food & Farm Finder by registering at eatlocalfirst.org. Free one-on-one technical assistance and translation services are available.