Happy National Food Day!

Mayor Murray visits the Tiny Tots Development Center in Rainier Beach on National Food Day.
View more photos from the visit on Flickr »

October 24 is National Food Day, a day that inspires Americans to take action solving food-related problems in our communities and celebrate organizations and policies that make this work possible year-round.

Mayor Murray recognized the day this morning by visiting Tiny Tots Development Center, an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program that benefits from the Farm to Table food access program as a result of a City of Seattle partnership with King County. Tiny Tots has worked with Seattle Tilth to develop a robust organic nutrition program for preschool age children in Rainier Beach, including developing an onsite edible forest of their own. Tiny Tots’ program directors report that even the adults who operate the program have changed their eating habits as a result of the partnership.

Farm to Table brings fresh local produce to programs serving children and older adults and has been nationally recognized by the CDC as a ‘Health Champion’ in 2012 and received the 2014 Sustainability Leadership Award for Resource Impact from Sustainable Seattle. Farm to Table is just one investment the City of Seattle makes in food-related programs that benefit the community.

The City’s five-year Food Action Plan, adopted in 2012, provides a framework for operating in the regional food system by laying out a recommended set of strategies to get more healthy food to more Seattle residents, expand opportunities to grow food in the City, and strengthen our regional food economy.

Learn more about the investments the City of Seattle makes in food-related programs:

FARM TO TABLE

Farm to Table is a partnership effort to bring fresh local produce to programs serving children and older adults in Seattle and King County. By making healthy food more affordable and easier to access, the goal is to increase the health and well being of our community’s most vulnerable populations by:

  • Identifying purchasing options to meet program needs and budgets
  • Building skills and knowledge through community kitchen trainings, farm tours and other educational opportunities
  • Helping communities develop low-cost shared purchasing models

The partnership is currently funded by the City of Seattle and by Children’s Hospital through a Community Transformation Grant, both of which have enabled project partners to leverage other resources and opportunities.

P-PATCH COMMUNITY GARDENING

The P-Patch Community Gardening Program is made up of 89 community managed gardens in Seattle neighborhoods and benefits from tremendous community support. On average, over 6,800 gardeners volunteer 42,000 hours annually. Gardeners, individually and collectively, use these gardens to grow organic food, flowers, fruits, and herbs. The gardens are open to the public to enjoy.

One core value of the program is to support low-income and underrepresented populations. One example is the Market Garden Program: Low-income and immigrant families living in South Park and Seattle Housing Authority properties can garden and sell their produce to local residents. In 2013, 13 gardeners representing seven cultures collaborated to provide produce for a variety of venues. Financial assistance is also available for those who can’t afford plot fees. In addition, our P-Patch gardeners donate quite a bit to food banks and feeding programs. Last year, more than 28,600 pounds of organic produce was donated.

FRESH BUCKS

The goal of the Fresh Bucks program is to support consumption of more fruits and vegetables by low-income recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by increasing their buying power at local farmers markets. Additionally, Fresh Bucks affects a neighborhood’s social environment by encouraging low-income customers and SNAP participants to shop at local farmers’ markets. EBT shoppers who receive Basic Food assistance can double their money – up to $10 per market per day – using the program.

When you spend $10 with your EBT card at a Seattle farmers market or farm stand, you get $10 in Fresh Bucks to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and edible plant starts. Fresh Bucks is available at all Seattle farmers markets.

CITY FRUIT

City Fruit promotes the cultivation of urban fruit in order to nourish, build community and protect the climate. The City of Seattle, through the Parks Department and Department of Human Services, supports this innovative program by supporting the stewarding of fruit trees in Seattle parks, the harvesting of fruit from residential properties, and the donation of urban fruit to the emergency food system.

In 2013, City Fruit brought in 10,017 pounds of unused fruit from residential properties in South Seattle/Beacon Hill, West Seattle and the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhoods. Most of it was donated to food banks and meals programs. A portion was sold to restaurants and others.

What skills can you share? Whether it’s harvesting, pruning, office skills, people skills, party planning, food preserving, or something else, let City Fruit know: info@cityfruit.org.

SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAM

The Summer Food Service Program is operated by the Department of Human Services and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The program was established in 1968 to respond to growing research that correlated a child’s nutrition with academic success and concerns about the lack of nutrition resources for children during the summer months.

The City of Seattle has operated this program in Seattle since the early 1970s. The program provides no-cost breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids and teens ages 1-18.

CHILD CARE NUTRITION PROGRAM

The Child Care Nutrition Program is another USDA-funded program sponsored by the Seattle Human Services Department. In existence for more than 35 years, the program provides over $1 million to help licensed home-based child care providers plan for and provide nourishing meals to more than 3,000 children, infants to age 13, in approximately 200 child care homes in the greater Seattle area.

The program contributes to the cost of food and links home providers with a nutritionist to assist with menu planning and special dietary needs of children in their child care.

NEIGHBORHOOD MATCHING FUNDS

The Neighborhood Matching Fund program was created in 1988 to provide neighborhood groups with City resources for community-driven projects that enhance and strengthen their own neighborhoods. All projects are initiated, planned and implemented by community members in partnership with the City. Every award is matched by neighborhoods’ or communities’ resources of volunteer labor, donated materials, donated professional services or cash.

The program has helped to fund such activities as community kitchen programs and capital projects such as the outdoor kitchen at Danny Woo Garden.

FAMILIES & EDUCATION LEVY

The City’s primary role in the education of Seattle school children revolves around the Families and Education Levy. Using revenue from a voter-approved supplemental property tax, the Levy funds a variety of support services to improve the academic achievement of struggling students.

Via this levy, the City invests in the following programs that provide food as part of their program:

  • Step Ahead preschools
  • Summer Learning programs – Elementary, Middle School, and High School
  • Elementary Innovation programs
  • Middle School Innovation/Linkage programs
  • High School Innovation program
  • Family Support program – SPS
  • Community-Based Family Support program
  • School-Based Health Clinics (health programs provide some training on nutrition.  In some of those, such as cooking classes, food is provided)
  • The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI)

MORE RESOURCES FROM THE CITY OF SEATTLE AND ITS PARTNERS