Rows of kale, eggplant, corn, and other late summer vegetables extend for nearly 5 acres across one corner of Horseneck Farm in early September, located just a few miles south of downtown Kent. On a clear day, Mt. Rainier towers behind the trees in the distance. This setting – a small, green retreat within a hub of manufacturing – is just one of five King County-owned farms leased to area farmers through its Farmland Leasing Program. The goal is for marginalized and beginning farmers to have land access to grow their agricultural businesses despite increasingly expensive property prices across the county.
The King County Council has allocated $1,380,000 to help King County farmers and farmers markets comply with public health and safety operating requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to overcome losses due to COVID-19.
All aspects of the local food economy have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and farmers are on the frontline
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.