Sweet Harvest Farm: Staying passionate in the face of farming challenges

Sweet Harvest Farm is a small vegetable farm located a mile outside Carnation, Washington that uses sustainable growing practices aimed at providing produce with the best taste and nutrition possible. The Local Food team spoke with Margaret Hindle, owner of Sweet Harvest, to hear about her small-scale farming operation, the challenges to small-scale farming, and how she has connected her passion for growing food to her other passions. … More Sweet Harvest Farm: Staying passionate in the face of farming challenges

Making food go further through waste reduction and innovation

Impact Bioenergy™, a startup company that was formed in 2013 in Seattle, converts restaurant compost bin waste and spent yeast from breweries into renewable energy and organic plant food. Impact Bioenergy’s mission is to change the paradigm and get food “waste” to be recognized as a valuable renewable resource, which empowers communities by making renewable energy and organic plant food locally through organic materials recycling. 

King County Solid Waste Division (SWD) has supported Impact Bioenergy through their commercial food waste grants for projects that aim to reduce food waste generated by the commercial sector (non-residential) within King County.

The Local Food team spoke with Srirup Kumar, Community Engagement Officer at Impact Bioenergy, to learn more about why bioenergy is valuable to King County farmers and residents and how a circular economy is being created on Vashon Island. … More Making food go further through waste reduction and innovation

All King County farmers markets are now open for the season!

With more than 40 farmers markets spread across King County you are never far from farm fresh, local food. All of the King County farmers markets are now open for the summer season.

Read about farmers market fun facts, how you can find the closest farmers market to you, and market tips and tricks to help you prepare for your next visit in this blog post! … More All King County farmers markets are now open for the season!

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

Cascadia Cooperative Farms: Connecting farmers to new markets in 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

Mental Health Awareness Month: Learn about how you can support mental health for farmers

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: Addressing barriers to small-scale farmers through distribution efforts

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

The story of The Grange restaurant: why investing in local food matters to restaurants, farmers, and consumers

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

From soil to table: A local farmer’s perspective on working with chefs in King County

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

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