King County was recently awarded $2.5 million to help improve access to land, capital, and markets for underserved farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. The award comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Increasing Land Access Program, which is funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.
Rows of crops on King County’s Horseneck Farm.
King County was one of 50 award recipients nationwide and the funding will enable King County to create a more comprehensive approach to land access, technical support, and farm program education that addresses the unique needs of immigrants, refugees, and communities of color.
Specifically, King County will use grant funding to work on three primary objectives that are focused on providing greater support to traditionally underserved communities:
- Develop and expand the King County Farmland Access Program, which includes testing alternative approaches to directly improve opportunities for farmland access.
- Expand education and outreach efforts to improve access to federal, state, and local capital programs and technical training.
- Improve access to markets to sell farm products.
King County owns and leases several farms that will serve as demonstration areas for many of the strategies funded through the award. However, privately owned farmland will also be integral to improving access.
The grant will support the county’s farmland access work for four years and is anticipated to begin in late 2023 or early 2024. The program’s objectives will be met through collaboration with key partners, including International Rescue Committee’s New Roots Program, Living Well Kent, Wakulima USA, Black Farmers Collective, and Business Impact Northwest.
King County plans to co-host a summit with partners and stakeholders soon to better understand the farmland access work that is underway, additional work that is planned, and how to implement the activities proposed in the USDA grant such that ongoing work is best supported and leveraged.
To learn more about the Increasing Land Access program, please visit: fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/increasing-land-access/index
For questions about King County’s Farmland Access Program, please contact Melissa Borsting, Program Manager, at email@example.com or at 206-263-0780.