Local Food Initiative News

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Financial support for farm businesses, engaging youth in urban farming, and preventing food waste!

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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Support your local farmers by contributing to the Good Farmer Fund today


It’s hard to make a living as a farmer, even under the best conditions. Small farms, particularly new farms, operate within such tight margins that just one emergency can lead to a financial disaster. Currently, farmers across Washington are suffering because of farmers market closures and lost sales opportunities due to COVID-19. Neighborhood Farmers Markets aims to keep farmers farming by granting emergency relief just as they have done since 2008. Neighborhood Farmers Markets has granted over $280,000 to assist farms in crisis over the past 12 years. Support the health of our local food systems with a donation to the Good Farmer Fund. 

Donate to the Good Farmer Fund here. Fill out your information here to be considered for a Good Farmer Fund grant or loan. Please contact Janet, nfma@seattlefarmersmarkets.org, if you have any questions.

Please visit the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets website for more information about resources available to support farmers. 

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Financial support for small food and farm businesses impacted by COVID-19


The King County Agriculture Program has compiled a list of resources to provide financial support for farmers and food businesses impacted by COVID-19. This list provides resources and information on programs that can help farmers and food businesses access financial support programs through local, state, and federal organizations and agencies.

The local financial support opportunities include: Local Loan programs for Food BusinessesSBDC Business Resiliency Guide, and Amazon's $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund. The state financial support opportunities include financial assistance through the Washington State Department of Revenue and employer and worker assistance through the Washington State Employment Security Department. The state also provides information regarding insurance assistance, including event cancellation insurance, which you can read more about here.

The federal financial support opportunities and information includes: 

  1. USDA Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool
  2. Small Business Administration Programs
  3. Crop Insurance through the USDA Risk Management Agency
  4. Non-Insured Disaster Insurance through USDA Farm Service Agency
  5. USDA Farm Service Agency Loans
  6. Ready.gov 
  7. Disasterassistance.gov

For latest information, resources, and guidance related to COVID-19, please visit the Washington State Department of Health website.

Please continue checking Farm King County's website for new information as updates to the website will be made as new programs become available. 

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Rainier Beach Urban Farm inspires the next generation of leaders to engage in food production


At a time when our community connections are strained and food security is of concern, it is inspiring to look at a program that is cultivating not just crops, but leadership. At Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands (RBUFW), young people are taking active roles to build a just and abundant food future that is vital to our sustenance and economy. They are working to develop connections with their community and farming through meaningful learning experiences in fields, farms, and kitchens.

Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands is a community hub for food, urban farming, and environmental education in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood co-operated by Tilth Alliance and Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands. Approximately half of the site is dedicated to organic food production and the other half is dedicated to restoring a natural wetlands and buffer zone.

The farm offers a variety of community education classes and workshops including growing and preserving your own food and conserving the environment. During the 2019 harvest season, the Local Food team spoke with Tilth Alliance staff to learn more about RBUFW programs, youth engagement, and what’s next for youth participants and the farm.

Read the full story on DNRP's blog here. Image of 2019 RBUFW youth employment program participants engaging in wetland restoration activities, courtesy of Suez Gebretsadik.


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Food for thought: How commercial food waste prevention grant projects are addressing wasted food in King County


Food waste is everywhere.  An estimated 80 billion pounds – 40 percent of all food produced in the United States – is thrown away each year. In King County alone (excluding Seattle), businesses, schools, government offices, and other commercial food generators are responsible for an estimated 86,300 tons (or 26 percent) of all non-residential food waste disposed annually at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill. 

To encourage innovative solutions to address wasted food, King County has provided grant funding to support projects that aim to prevent or reduce edible and/or non-edible food waste generated by commercial and institutional generators. Over the past four years, the Division has awarded eight commercial food waste prevention grantsFrom anaerobic digestion to developing an app linking edible food donors to food rescue organizations, the grant projects have implemented innovative approaches to preventing or reducing wasted food. Project descriptions and reports are found at the end of each project listed on the website.  

One project currently underway addresses food waste at large-volume food waste generators. Resource Synergy will be working with Bellevue College and Cedarbrook Lodge to implement Leanpath technology, a hardware/software platform that quantifies food wasted in metrics such as pounds of food waste prevented, purchase cost and environmental impact. Armed with clear, actionable data, and guided by Leanpath coaching, food generators can make strategic adjustments to food preparation and production that prevent food waste. This project will track and quantify amount of food waste prevented by measuring amount of food waste generated before and after implementation of Leanpath technology. A final report will be posted on this website in early 2021.

To learn more about these grant opportunities, visit this website for more information.

Image courtesy of Leanpath.


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