Winter is coming: How will you continue eating local foods?

There are many ways you can continue to eat local during winter months, including shopping at year-round markets, joining a winter CSA, visiting U-Picks and farm stands, knowing what’s in season, and eating at restaurants that source locally. These options not only support local farmers and the local food economy, but also allow consumers to buy farm fresh local food year round in King County!

WA Meat Up Leadership Summit sizzles with new ideas for strengthening the local meat economy

Are you a consumer who cares about where your meat comes from? Do you know what King County and other agencies and organizations are doing to promote locally produced meats?

The WA Meat Up Leadership Summit created an alliance for further enhancing a strong local meat economy. WA Meat Up is a diverse group of collaborators and entrepreneurs along every link of the niche meat supply chain who support strengthening the local meat economy in Washington State.

In late August, staff members from King County’s Agricultural Program, Washington State University (WSU), Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), and Salumi Artisan Cured Meats worked together to create the WA Meat Up Leadership Summit to provide a space for producers, processors and policy makers to facilitate conversations and create a dialogue about the local meat economy in King County.

Farmer’s Share Program provides hunger relief and agricultural development opportunities in King County

Have you ever wondered how food banks access local farm fresh produce in King County?

Harvest Against Hunger, formerly Rotary First Harvest, works with farmers, truckers, volunteers and others to bring valuable skills and resources into hunger relief efforts in communities across Washington state and beyond. The Harvest Against Hunger (HAH) Farmers Share Program helps increase access to healthy fresh foods in high need populations by developing direct purchasing agreements between farmers and food banks. This new program is funded through the Regional Food System Grant from the King Conservation District.

The Local Food Team spoke with David Bobanick, HAH Executive Director, and Gayle Lautenschlager, HAH Farmer’s Share Americorps VISTA, about the Farmer’s Share program and how they are cultivating relationships with and between farmers and food banks.

Snoqualmie Valley property provides land access and growth opportunities for local farmers

Rising land costs have made finding affordable farmland a significant challenge to starting a new farm business in King County.  In order to help new farmers overcome this land access challenge, SnoValley Tilth created the Experience Farming Project (EFP), which leases farmland and infrastructure to farmers looking to start sustainable businesses and offers easy access to resources, education and community through SnoValley Tilth’s Farm Services.

Thanks to a strategic partnership between SnoValley Tilth and King County, EFP will continue to expand and offer its programming to more farmers. 

Fresh Bucks to Go: Investing in healthy food access and local farmers

Many people are familiar with Fresh Bucks, which gives SNAP/EBT recipients and other eligible Seattle residents easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets, but have you heard about Fresh Bucks to Go? 

Fresh Bucks to Go (FBtG) provides free bags of local fruits and vegetables delivered to Seattle Preschool Program sites, so families can pick up healthy groceries at the same time they pick up their children.  

Eating local in Enumclaw: How one woman and her farming community created Enumclaw Plateau Farmers’ Market

Enumclaw Plateau Farmers’ Market opened on June 6, 2019, providing plateau area residents with farm fresh, local products for the first time in over 20 years. The Local Food team spoke with Liz Clark, Enumclaw Plateau Farmers Market manager, about how the market was created and the successes and challenges her and her team of volunteers have experienced along the way.

Making meat local: King County helps develop USDA meat processing in Carnation

In recent years, consumer demand for local food, including local meat and poultry, has risen. One of the barriers for livestock producers interested in meeting this demand has been the lack of processing facilities in King County that can safely prepare these products.

“USDA processing allows producers to sell sausages, steaks, burger patties, and a wide variety of other small cuts that are in high demand in King County,” said Darron Marzolf, butcher at Marzolf Meats. “The USDA mobile meat processing unit provides this service close to home for local livestock operators.”

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.

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.