Local Food Initiative News

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Developing a citizen-science tool, Fresh Bucks Vouchers, and improving farmland productivity through a new strategic plan!

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!

Have you visited Farm King County's Food Systems Data Center?

The Food System Data Center combines an interactive mapping platform with information and data on local agriculture to tell the story of our local farm and food system. The project was developed by multiple public agencies and non-profit organizations committed to using data to better understand, analyze and measure the health and viability of our food system. More data will be published very soon, so stay updated with our newsletter and blog!

Local Food Initiative: 10 Indicators of Success

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Citizen-science tool helps farmers navigate Snoqualmie Valley’s biggest challenge


No single factor impacts the viability of Snoqualmie River Valley farms more than the river itself. Flooding is a part of life in the valley and the timing and severity of floods greatly impacts farmers’ ability to respond to and mitigate damage and impacts of flooding. Flooding is unpredictable by nature, and the frequency of small to moderate flood events and the occurrence of spring and fall flooding may be getting worse due to climate change.

The Snoqualmie Valley Preservation Alliance (SVPA) has developed a citizen-science tool to make it easier to track flooding while it’s happening and to collect data to gain insight on how flooding is changing. 

The SVPA’s Floodzilla Gage Network monitors water levels throughout the Snoqualmie Valley in real-time. This flood monitoring network is the innovation of a group of local technology professionals who have volunteered their time and expertise to develop this tool for the benefit of the community. Paid staff and consultants have also contributed to the project with funding through SVPA’s generous donors and with a grant from King County Flood Control District.

The Floodzilla Gage Network relies on a series of SVPA gages placed in strategic locations to monitor water levels in drainage ditches, farm fields, on public roads, and on the mainstem Snoqualmie River. The SVPA gages are ultrasonic sensors that have been programmed to read and transmit water level data every 15 minutes during flood season, from October through May, and every 60 minutes during the offseason. The network also incorporates water level data from seven USGS gages within the watershed.

Check out https://floodzilla.svpa.us, showing real-time flood elevations at various locations throughout the lower valley. During flood events, the gages are updated every 15 minutes.

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If you have any questions about the SVPA’s Floodzilla Gage Network, please contact SVPA at info@svpa.us or call their office at 425-549-0316.

Snoqualmie Valley agriculture strategic plan seeks to increase food production by improving infrastructure on farms


Improving the productivity of existing farmland and bringing more land into food production are two of the main objectives of a new Snoqualmie Valley Agriculture Land Resource Strategic Plan that is being developed as part of the historic and innovative Fish, Farm, Flood process (see website here).

When completed later this year, the plan will serve as a guide for the agriculture sector in the Snoqualmie Valley and agriculture service providers to implement the priority needs such as drainage improvements, home elevations for flood safety and more. The plan will also inform future Fish, Farm, Flood decision-making around the agricultural needs of the Valley.

The plan’s purpose is to improve the long-term productivity of farmland, bring more acres into food production, and increase opportunities for farmers to develop necessary infrastructure to support or increase their farm businesses. This will happen through assessment of specific farmland resource property needs in the Snoqualmie Valley Agricultural Production District and will include an implementation strategy for project improvements to land (e.g., drainage) and irrigation water supply. The plan will also specifically inform the development of acreage targets for permanently protected farmland and acreage for habitat restoration.

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For more information, please visit our blog post here. For more information about Fish, Farm, Flood, please visit our website

Apply starting March 2nd for Fresh Bucks Vouchers!


Fresh Bucks makes healthy food more affordable for Seattle residents. Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program helps families and individual stretch their tight food budget with two primary programs: Fresh Bucks Match and Fresh Bucks Vouchers.

Fresh Bucks Match doubles the purchasing power for low-income residents who use their federal food stamp (SNAP) benefits to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Every dollar spent at participating Fresh Bucks retailers using food stamp benefits is matched, to purchase local produce.

Fresh Bucks Vouchers are for eligible and enrolled participants. You are eligible for Fresh Bucks Vouchers if you live within the City of Seattle limits (check here) and your household income is at or below 80% Area Median Income (see AMI table here).

Vouchers can be used like cash to buy fruits and vegetables at all participating Fresh Bucks retailers. Participants enrolled in Fresh Bucks Vouchers receive $40 in vouchers per month to purchase fruits and vegetables at any participating Fresh Bucks retailer, including farmers markets, Seattle Safeway stores, neighborhood grocers, and farm stands.

You can apply for 2020-2021 Fresh Bucks Vouchers via community-based enrollment or public lottery application.

Guided by the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, Fresh Bucks aims to eliminate racial disparities in access to healthy foods among historically underserved communities. The City partners with local community-based organizations and health clinics that work with communities most impacted by food insecurity and diet-related chronic disease to enroll eligible people into Fresh Bucks Vouchers. People enrolled through community-based enrollment do not participate in the public lottery. Visit this website to see the list of participating community-based organizations.

Applications for the public lottery open on March 2. All eligible, unduplicated applications received between March 2 and March 31 will be entered into the lottery. To learn more about how to apply, visit the  City of Seattle’s website.

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For more information about Fresh Bucks Vouchers, visit this website or call 206-684-2489.