The Census of Agriculture, conducted once every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a voluntary mail survey that counts the number of U.S. farms and ranches, and looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenditures.
The Census of Agriculture provides comprehensive agriculture data for every county in the nation. There are limitations to the Census due to the voluntary nature of the Census survey. Census surveys do not capture every farmer in the U.S., and the survey questions present categories that may not be relevant or applicable to every farmer.
However, the Census is currently the one of the best ways to glean countywide data about producers and the economic role of agriculture, which can influence decisions that will shape the future of agriculture in King County. … More 2017 Census of Agriculture: Main takeaways for King County
Cascadia Cooperative Farms (CCF) is an egg and pastured poultry cooperative in King and Snohomish counties that brings together small local farms raising pastured poultry to help connect member farmers to new markets, help them earn fair compensation for their products, and alleviate some of the administrative burden related to producing poultry products.
The Local Food team spoke with Libby Reed, farmer at Orange Star Farm, to learn more about the cooperative farm model and why she believes cooperative farms work well for farmers with small businesses. … More Cascadia Cooperative Farms: Connecting farmers to new markets in King County
In 2019, Washington farmers and their families are facing tough challenges – increased development pressures, economic uncertainties, and spring weather challenges have added to the normal stresses of farming. Barriers to getting help may be equally challenging. Where can farmers go for support to deal with these stressful times?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and King County is dedicated to supporting mental health for farmers this month and every month. Farmers are a high-risk population, with suicide rates consistently above those of the general population. Read this blog post to read about the resources that may help if you are a farmer who needs to talk to someone, or you are someone who is worried about a farmer. … More Mental Health Awareness Month: Learn about how you can support mental health for farmers
Farmstand Local Foods is an organization that links urban commercial customers to a diverse range of local ingredients through the use of a modern, convenient ordering and delivery system. Farmstand focuses on facilitating and maintaining connections between producers and consumers to demonstrate the value and importance of viable local farms.
The Local Food team interviewed Austin Becker, Farmstand Local Foods manager, to better understand how Farmstand serves small-scale farmers through farm-to-restaurant connections and distribution efforts. … More Farmstand Local Foods: Addressing barriers to small-scale farmers through distribution efforts
Many organizations in King County exist to support the farm-to-restaurant pipeline. The Seattle Good Business Network (SGBN) is an organization that connects and inspires people to buy, produce, and invest locally, so that everyone has a meaningful stake in the local economy. The Local Food team interviewed Andrea Porter, SGBN Seattle Made Program Manager, to learn more about why local food matters to restaurants and consumers.
After better understanding why local food matters to restaurants and their customers, the Local Food Team interviewed Luke Woodward, farmer, owner of The Grange restaurant, and part-time program manager of the Northwest Agriculture Business Center, to better understand how his extensive farming experience has influenced his restaurant decisions to source locally. … More The story of The Grange restaurant: why investing in local food matters to restaurants, farmers, and consumers
Steel Wheel Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley is a small, first-generation family farm focused on improving the way produce is grown, harvested, and distributed. Steel Wheel sells their produce to local restaurants and at farmers markets in Issaquah, University District, and Capitol Hill, as well as at their on-site farm stand in Fall City.
The Local Food team spoke with Steel Wheel farmer Ryan Lichtenegger about how he builds relationships with restaurants, the challenges and opportunities Steel Wheel faces when working with restaurants, and some of his future plans for the farm. … More From soil to table: A local farmer’s perspective on working with chefs in King County
There has been an increase in year-round farmers markets in King County over the past decade that provide shoppers with access to local food and new varieties of fruits and vegetables throughout the year. There are also challenges that come with the choice to farm year-round.
The Local Food Initiative team recently spoke with Jennifer Antos, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Farmers Markets (NFM) to learn more about why farmers choose to sell year-round; the challenges and opportunities of year-round markets; and what’s next for year-round markets in King County. … More Year-round farmers markets bring creativity, connections, and enjoyment to King County
Many agricultural lands in King County lack access to irrigation water or do not have sufficient water to meet the farm’s needs. Access to a stable water source significantly influences how farmland can be used. Irrigation improves crop yields, allows for more diverse crops, and can generate higher revenues for farmers.
To more accurately understand the scope of water needs in King County, the King County Agricultural Program will begin a County-wide agricultural water needs assessment in 2019. There is not enough current information to determine how much water is needed for King County farms to successfully produce crops. The water needs assessment will be important for managing and conserving water in King County.
Meanwhile, King County is exploring innovative solutions in the Sammamish Valley to provide increased access to irrigation. One solution is using recycled water on farmland, which is called out as a priority action in King County’s Local Food initiative. … More Recycled water use in King County: Navigating water rights with innovative solutions
Whistling Train Farm in Kent has been operating a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for 20 years. Their CSA is a locally grown vegetable subscription service, filled with produce grown only on the farm. Over the years, Shelley Pasco-Verdi, who owns the farm, has upsized and downsized, done a lot of experimenting, and learned a lot about how to keep subscribers happy.
We interviewed Shelley to hear about her miraculous land-purchasing story, to better understand what Whistling Train Farms means to the local community, and to understand how a major stereotype about farmers has affected her. … More The story of Whistling Train Farm and why mental health matters for farmers
Highline College operates an Urban Agriculture/Food Security Program to provide training that improves access to healthy, culturally relevant food and encourages innovative thinking for South Sound immigrant-refugee communities and youth. In this article, Bobby Butler, Highline College Urban Agriculture Program Manager, discusses the importance of the Urban Ag program, what excites him about the program’s progress and next steps, and some of the challenges he is facing as he balances many important program obligations. … More Highline College provides urban agriculture and food security training to immigrant communities and youth