Local Food Initiative News

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Horseneck Farm: Preserved for agriculture, now increasing access for diverse growers

Horseneck Farm

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.

“Making Horseneck Farm more accessible to farmers of color and immigrant farmers strengthens our local food economy by making it more dynamic and inclusive,” says Christie True, Director of King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP). “Our Farmland Leasing Program is one of many ways we’re removing barriers for the next generation of farmers, connecting them with the land they need to produce more of the homegrown goods that the people of King County want.”

Read more about Horseneck Farm and the people cultivating it here. 

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Rainy Day Bees partners with local farms, other hive hosts, in creative approach to local honey production

Rainy Day Bees stand

Three of the state’s top 10 crops are dependent on bee pollination, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. While beekeeping is often done in rural areas, with some hives being transported farm to farm to foster pollination, a small company is supporting local farms and bottling honey produced in the Seattle metro area through a network of beehive hosts.

Amy Beth and Peter Nolte, owners of Rainy Day Bees, recently sat down with the Local Food Initiative team to discuss how their unique model of hive management and honey production contributes to the larger local food system. Thanks to a few farm partners and dozens of homeowners located around King County who are willing to host beehives, Rainy Day Bees produces micro local honey and candles and is keenly interested in driving education around bee health.

Read more about Rainy Day Bees and their hive host program for farmers.

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King County Farmland Leasing Program accepting proposals


To support the establishment and expansion of farm businesses operated by new and beginning and historically underserved farmers, the King County Farmland Leasing Program works to make farmland and infrastructure accessible to groups who face systemic barriers to accessing land.

Currently, King County has up to 5 acres of farmland available to lease near Kent starting in 2022. We are especially encouraging applicants who work to support business expansion for new and beginning and historically underserved farmers.

Please see the Request for Proposals hereDeadline Oct. 17.

For more information contact Melissa Borsting (mborsting@kingcounty.gov).

Click to view the Request for Proposals. 

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