King County’s new Local Food Economy Initiative brings together farmers, restaurateurs, grocers and distributors to increase healthy, locally grown food in our region. The initiative aims to increase production and consumption of locally grown food and reduce inequities in healthy food access.
Currently, of the nearly $6 billion residents spend per year on food, less than 2% of that spending is directed to King County farms. By addressing barriers to make it easier to get locally grown food into markets and protecting nearby farmlands from development pressure, we can grow that 2%, to the benefit of farmers and the local economy.
Seattle is the largest consumer market for local food in the State, and we wear our love of delicious food proudly. With 13 James Beard award-winning chefs and numerous farm-to-plate restaurants, local food is part of Seattle’s identity and economy.
A shift to more locally grown food would improve our health, as we’d be eating more of the leafy greens and mixed vegetables that our region grows in abundance. Retaining our region’s farmland and growing farm businesses will help strengthen our region’s food security as drought and other impacts from climate change are felt across the country’s food producing areas.
And healthy food should be for everyone. The King County Local Food Initiative also aims to reduce inequities in healthy food access. Currently, 1 in 5 children in King County do not have enough to eat, and healthy food is even harder for many low-income people to afford. The initiative will develop strategies to improve affordable access to healthy food for low-income populations so that all of our residents can thrive.
Learn more about our regional food system:
- King County’s Local Food Initiative press release
- Twitter feed for #kclocalfood
- Seattle’s Food Action Plan
- Regional Food Policy Council
- Communities Count: Adequate Food In King County
- Economic Opportunities for a Regional Food System (2010 presentation to Seattle City Council)