Community without contact: Supporting innovative farmers through CSAs, online markets, and farm stands

All aspects of the local food economy have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and farmers are on the frontline making sure food is harvested, packed, and delivered in a way that prioritizes safe, healthy food for consumers. However, like many industries, farmers are facing financial hardship as sales outlets are limited or effectively gone as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

During these uncertain times, many farmers are getting creative to help consumers access fresh local food with online ordering, delivery services, and new pickup locations. The King County Local Food team has created a resource list that includes the ways you can support farmers through produce subscriptions and other innovative market options.

Bouquets of beautiful flowers

Support for flower growers in King County impacted by COVID-19

Many King County farmers are impacted by the temporary suspension of farmers markets due to COVID-19. Flower growers in particular experience unique challenges because they rely heavily on farmers markets for sales. In addition, many flower growers are immigrants and refugees, and market accessibility and communication barriers only exacerbate an already challenging business landscape.

The Local Food Team spoke with Leigh Newman-Bell, Pike Place Farm Development Coordinator, and Bee Cha, King County Immigrant Farmer Outreach Coordinator, to better understand not only the challenges flower growers face but also the ways consumers can support flower growers during this time.

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!

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.

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.