The 2018 Farm Bill that was recently signed into law allocates billions of dollars to American farmers, bolsters farmers markets, and rejects stricter limits on food stamps. Find out more about some of the most noteworthy aspects of the new farm bill in this blog post!
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.
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.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), which manages garbage, recycling, and food and yard waste in Seattle, sees an opportunity to address these two issues—uneaten, surplus food and food insecurity—together, through food rescue. As part of its community-centered approach to tackling difficult issues, SPU partnered with Mary’s Place to convene its first Food Rescue Innovation Lab in early November. The event brought together a diverse group of innovative thinkers to discuss opportunities and solutions for rescuing safe, edible food from garbage and composting streams and diverting it to address hunger in Seattle. We interviewed Liz Fikejs, SPU Senior Waste Prevention Program Manager, to learn more about the Food Rescue Innovation Lab and SPU’s efforts around food rescue.
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.
Did you know? Many King County farms donate some or all of the food they grow to local food banks.
A new partnership between King County and the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) aims to identify innovative solutions for funding food system infrastructure projects in our region. Unfortunately, much of the regional infrastructure needed to grow our local food economy no longer exists or is not appropriately scaled to meet the needs of small producers. To meet the growing demand for local products, farmers and food entrepreneurs require appropriately scaled food system infrastructure.
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.
Haven’t had a chance to grab a pumpkin this fall? Shop local and visit one (or all!) of these King County farms! Follow them on social media or visit their websites for updates on local food, volunteer opportunities, and more!
On September 17, 2018, the City of Seattle announced “Fresh Bucks at Safeway”, a new partnership between the City of Seattle and Safeway that is implementing the city’s Fresh Bucks program at all Safeway locations in Seattle.