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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.