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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.