2017 Census of Agriculture: Main takeaways for King County

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. … More 2017 Census of Agriculture: Main takeaways for King County

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. … More Cascadia Cooperative Farms: Connecting farmers to new markets in King County

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. … More Farmstand Local Foods: Addressing barriers to small-scale farmers through 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. … More The story of The Grange restaurant: why investing in local food matters to restaurants, farmers, and consumers

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. … More Year-round farmers markets bring creativity, connections, and enjoyment to King County

CDFA and King County partner to explore innovative funding for food system infrastructure

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. … More CDFA and King County partner to explore innovative funding for food system infrastructure

The essential ingredients for growing farms: collaboration and getting to know people

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. … More The essential ingredients for growing farms: collaboration and getting to know people