2017 Census of Agriculture: Main takeaways for King County

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

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

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

Farm King County Data Center now live!

Farm King County recently launched its Food Systems Data Center, which combines an interactive mapping platform with information and data on local agriculture to tell the story of King County’s farm and food system. Farm King County is a one stop resource for information and assistance for farm operations, and this data will be useful to better understand, analyze, and measure the healthy and viability of our food system. The major components of the data center include the King County Farm and Food System Map and food system indicator progress metrics. … More Farm King County Data Center now live!

The essential ingredients for growing farms: collaboration and getting to know people

In early 2018, King County and its partners launched the Working Farmland Partnership (WFP) to connect farmland owners with farmers looking to establish or expand their business. We interviewed Melissa Borsting, King County Project/Program Manager focused on the WFP, to better understand what the WFP means for local food, how the partnership works, and the successes and challenges faced by this project so far. … More The essential ingredients for growing farms: collaboration and getting to know people

Green space for all: King County moves to speed up open space investments and improve access

Across the street from a grassy private lot fenced off with razor wire, kids play tag in a gray concrete Tukwila parking lot, sometimes dodging honking cars and making the apartment manager nervous about his liability. The closest park playground is a hot 20-minute summer walk from the apartment building along busy arterials. These kids … More Green space for all: King County moves to speed up open space investments and improve access

King County Land Conservation Initiative: 65,000 acres to sustain us

Half a million King County residents don’t have easy access to a park, trail or to green space. Think about that for a minute. View the Land Conservation Initiative Story Map In a county world-renowned for its amazing outdoor possibilities – its Cascade Mountains, mighty forestlands, lush farmlands providing local food, salmon-bearing streams and rivers, … More King County Land Conservation Initiative: 65,000 acres to sustain us