Local Food Initiative News

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Celebrating urban agriculture community stories, local produce at food banks, and more!

The local food team shares articles, exclusive interviews, and project updates that tell the story of how we are building a stronger, more resilient local food system. To measure the success of local food programs, we have identified 10 indicators of success that measure how well we are doing in our efforts to create a stronger, more affordable food system. Each article is directly connected to one or more of our 10 indicators of success which are shown below and will also be shown in each article. Click on the indicator icons for more information about our initiative!

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Local Food Initiative: 10 Indicators of Success

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Urban Agriculture Spotlight: Wakulima USA

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Urban agriculture is empowering communities across King County. Whether it’s reintroducing culturally significant foods in an area where they are scarce, or giving people access to land in order to learn a new skill, the impact is felt far and wide. The benefits or re-purposing urban land for urban agriculture are anything but small.

Over the next four months, the Local Food Team will be sharing community stories to highlight the benefits of urban agriculture. The themes of these stories include growing culturally appropriate food, building community resilience, increasing access to organic produce, and recreating home away from home. 

This month we are sharing Wakulima USA's story.

Wakulima USA is a farming and food business collective that operates throughout South King County. As an organization, they believe in cultural affirmation, widespread access to healthy food, and fostering the growth of farmers and food entrepreneurs.

Wakulima farmers grow food that is not only sustainably produced, but is culturally appropriate and relevant. They provide communities in South King County with traditional African crops that are not typically available in American grocery stores. 

Wakulima USA was co-created by Dickson Njeri and David Bulindah, who both immigrated from Kenya. In the US, they were both looking for an opportunity for African immigrants to continue traditional farming practices and they connected to locate unused land in South King County for food production. As they became a group, they chose the name “Wakulima”, which means “farmers” in Swahili.

“When you know how to grow food in urban areas, you can put food on your own table. When calamities occur, you have food security,” explains Dickson Njeri, co-founder of WAKULIMA USA.

Read his story and the stories of other farmers benefitting from urban agriculture here. Image courtesy of Esmeralda Manjarrez.


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Farmer's Share Program provides hunger relief and agricultural development opportunities in King County


Have you ever wondered how food banks access local farm fresh produce in King County?

Harvest Against Hunger, formerly Rotary First Harvest, works with farmers, truckers, volunteers and others to bring valuable skills and resources into hunger relief efforts in communities across Washington state and beyond. The Harvest Against Hunger (HAH) Farmer's Share Program helps increase access to healthy fresh foods in high need populations by developing direct purchasing agreements between farmers and food banks. This new program is funded through the Regional Food System Grant from the King Conservation District.

The Local Food Team spoke with David Bobanick, HAH Executive Director, and Gayle Lautenschlager, HAH Farmer’s Share Americorps VISTA, about the Farmer’s Share program and how they are cultivating relationships with and between farmers and food banks.

Read DNRP's blog post for the full story. Image courtesy of Harvest Against Hunger. 


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Celebrate fall with the best pumpkin farms in Seattle and King County!


Buying local is a great way to cut down on the environmental impact of your food. Whatever your reason for choosing local – supporting local farmers, sourcing what’s fresh and in season, better nutrition and advocating for food access –visiting a pumpkin patch and celebrating the seasonal foods available during fall months is a great place to start.

To help you buy local this fall, here is an updated map of where you can pick your own pumpkin and find other seasonal treats. At these locations, you'll have options for pumpkin patches, plus other festive, fall farm activities like corn mazes, hayrides, and more!

If you'd like to learn more about King County's 12 pumpkin farms, check out our interactive map created by King County DNRP staff.

read more here

For more information, visit King County's DNRP blog here for last year's article about pumpkin farms!

What is Fish, Farm, Flood? Addressing the challenges of balancing critical priorities in a shared landscape


In 2013, King County Executive Dow Constantine invited representatives from the Snoqualmie Valley to discuss issues that were creating obstacles and conflict around three critical objectives: salmon recovery, flood protection and productive agriculture. Representatives included a cross-section of agricultural, salmon recovery and flood risk reduction interests, as well as tribal, state and local jurisdictions. The goal was to advise King County on how best to achieve the benefits of all three objectives.

Through a collaborative 3-year process, in 2017 the Fish, Farm, Flood, Advisory Committee (now referred to as FFF 1.0) unanimously agreed to a set of more than 30 recommendations that, if implemented, would significantly improve ecological function and habitat quality, while at the same time strengthening the agricultural economy, and reducing flood risk.

In 2018, the Executive convened an FFF Implementation Oversight Committee (IOC), which is comprised of three task forces to address regulations, riparian buffers, and strategic planning for agricultural land resources. The immediate priorities of the IOC were to improve drainage and accelerate large capital projects for salmon recovery.

The progress of implementing recommendations is steady, building on the trust and relationships built in FFF 1.0.  King County is grateful to the Tulalip Tribes and Snoqualmie Tribe as well as the cities, entities, agencies and individual farmers who have joined in this work toward finding areas of agreement even in conflicting visions for land and water use. 

Read more about Fish, Farm, Flood here.

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