Year-round farmers markets bring creativity, connections, and enjoyment to 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

Recycled water use in King County: Navigating water rights with innovative solutions

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

The story of Whistling Train Farm and why mental health matters for farmers

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 provides urban agriculture and food security training to immigrant communities and youth

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

Land Conservation Initiative: Preserving and protecting farmland and urban green space

The Land Conservation Initiative is the way we can protect the livability, health, and ecological integrity of our region for everyone. Access to nature and open space is the foundation to our collective quality of life. However, development threatens working lands that produce food, jobs, and a rural way of life.

“The main goals of the Initiative are to accelerate investments in land conservation to save money, to ensure critical natural areas and resource lands can be preserved before they are lost to other uses, and to ensure green space for all residents,” said Bob Burns, Deputy Director of King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

This Initiative is a regional collaboration between King County, cities, business people, farmers, environmental partners, and others that began by creating a strategy to preserve our last, most important natural lands, resource lands and green spaces. … More Land Conservation Initiative: Preserving and protecting farmland and urban green space

Achieving net-zero at King County Parks North Utilities Crew Shop

How do you solve a problem like achieving net-zero energy use? If you’re the King County Parks team working at the North Utilities Trails Crew Shop near Marymoor Park, you do it through solar panels, new lights and efficient heat pumps and air conditioners. By utilizing these tools they were able to solve the design … More Achieving net-zero at King County Parks North Utilities Crew Shop

Featured farm of the month: Carnation Farms

Carnation Farms was established in 1908 near its namesake town in the Snoqualmie River valley as a flagship dairy and genetic research center for decades. The farm was purchased by Nestle and converted into a corporate retreat center. Descendants of the original owners purchased the farm back from Nestle in 2010 and created Carnation Farms as a nonprofit organization in 2016.

The new owners’ mission aims to go back to the farm’s roots and transform the way that people want to eat. They intend to share the 818-acre organic farm with the community and celebrate delicious and nutritious food produced in a sustainable manner by providing inspirational and educational experiences that positively affect health, the environment, and local economies. Carnation Farms develops the next generation of food citizens and grows new farmers. Find out more about Carnation Farm’s story and mission here. … More Featured farm of the month: Carnation Farms