Fresh Bucks helping Casa Latina clients eat healthier

Clients at Casa Latina recently had front row seats to a live cooking class as they learned about healthy, affordable meals on a budget. And now, buying fruits and vegetables to make healthy meals for their families just got easier thanks to a partnership between Casa Latina and the Fresh Bucks program.

The Fresh Bucks program is working with Casa Latina to provide Fresh Bucks vouchers for Casa Latina clients to buy high-quality, local produce from any of the 33 farmers markets or six neighborhood grocery stores participating in the Fresh Bucks program in Seattle and King County.

Casa Latina, an immigrant worker rights organization, empowers low-wage Latino immigrants with knowledge and resources to achieve their goals. Araceli Hernandez, Director of Day Worker Center at Casa Latina says, “Our clients face a number of barriers when it comes to accessing federal resources and we work to identify and address gaps— such as food insecurity—that are disproportionally affecting our community. Partnering with the Fresh Bucks program gives our clients the ability to choose healthy foods, regardless of income.”

This year, Fresh Bucks is serving more shoppers by expanding the program from EBT/SNAP (food stamp) recipients to also providing the benefit to families who may not meet the federal requirements for food assistance programs, but still face hardships when it comes covering their food expenses. This expansion is made possible through funding from the City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Tax.

“This program allows me to stretch my dollar,” said a program participant. “Buying fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive, but with this support, I can now regularly visit the farmers market to get my produce, and the kids love going too. I want to teach them what I’ve learned about cooking with fresh ingredients.”

Shoppers can use Fresh Bucks at 33 farmers markets in Seattle and King County, as well as six, ethnic grocery stores open year-round. To find participating locations or to find out more about the Fresh Bucks program, visit the Fresh Bucks website.

Seattle is now home to TWO LEED Platinum Fire Stations

Photo: Nic Lehoux,

Seattle’s Seattle Fire Station 32, located in the West Seattle Junction, opened in early November 2017 and was recently been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as LEED Platinum. This prestigious distinction demonstrates the best-in-class achievement of sustainable design and construction practices for the 21,534 square foot facility.

The old Station 32 (located in the same location), was approximately 40 years old and needed replacement. The building systems were old, and the station offered inadequate space for modern apparatus and staffing levels. The station was also out of regulatory compliance in many areas, and was structurally substandard for seismic survivability.

Given the old station’s condition and the capacity of the station to play a more central role in West Seattle, the Station was completely rebuilt at the existing location. As part of the rebuild, Station 32 received major improvements and became the lead station for Battalion 7, which covers all of West Seattle, southwest Seattle, Harbor Island and the industrial areas lining both sides of the Duwamish River.

The Fire Station 32 project incorporated sustainable features such as solar hot water systems, photovoltaic arrays, green roof, water-efficient landscaping, energy-efficient LED lighting systems, energy-efficient HVAC systems, recycled building material use, low volatile organic compound (VOC) building material use, natural daylighting of common spaces and individual thermal controls of sleeping areas.

The station’s design was led by architectural firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and the station was built by general contractor, Howard S. Wright. With the designation of LEED Platinum, Seattle Fire Station 32 joins Seattle Fire Station 20 (West Queen Anne) as two of the only three fire stations currently in the state with LEED Platinum status.

Conservation Grant Applications Now Being Accepted!

The King Conservation District (KCD) – Seattle Community Partnership Grant Program is requesting applications from non-profit organizations and community groups committed to making natural resource improvements and advancing environmental equity. Organizations and groups are encouraged to apply for projects that meet at least one goal of the City of Seattle’s Equity & Environment Agenda and improve Seattle’s natural resources through direct improvements, education and outreach, pilot or demonstration projects, or capacity building.

Letters of Intent (LOI) are due by 5pm on Monday, May 7, 2018. For more information and for application guidelines please visit the KCD website. For any questions, contact Jessica Saavedra at 425.282.1906.

Making Energy Upgrades to Vital Community Resources

The City of Seattle was recently awarded a $350,000 Energy Efficiency Grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce. The grant will fund energy efficiency upgrades at six buildings that house organizations that provide vital community services. While the buildings are owned and managed by the City, the tenants are community organizations.

Sites include South Park Neighborhood Center, Central Area Senior Center, Northwest Senior Center, and Centerstone, Greenwood Senior Center and Neighborcare at Columbia City. Typical measures include upgrading insulation, windows, lighting, and mechanical system controls. Food systems efficiency and reliability will also be addressed for the five locations providing meal services or food bank functions.

These measures will lower operating costs, address functional deficiencies, and improve the environmental and fiscal sustainability of our non-profit community partners.

The Office of Sustainability & Environment coordinated and wrote the grant application, while Finance and Administration, Seattle Public Library, and Seattle Center assisted in pulling together the information on the $1.4 million package of existing projects used for leverage.



Seattle and Vancouver pledge to build regional resilience

Today the Mayors of Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada signed aMemorandum of Cooperation committing to work together in growing their respective cities’ resilience to the challenges of climate change, seismic risks, affordable housing, and aging infrastructure.

The cities of Seattle and Vancouver share many similarities—including geography, economy, and a deep commitment to sustainability. Both cities have also recently been selected to join 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, and will soon be hiring Chief Resilience Officers to lead their efforts to ensure Seattle and Vancouver will be well prepared for the physical, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century.

 “The challenges of addressing deeply complex issues like climate change, aging infrastructure, affordable housing, and inequity are better met when working in partnership,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel to come up with solutions, we are partnering to share lessons learned, support one another on our resilience journeys, and solve problems together.”

 Vancouver and Seattle are economic leaders built on innovation, diversity, inclusion and a commitment to sustainability,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “I’m looking forward to building on our strong partnership with Seattle to deepen our collaboration and drive progress toward stronger resilience, tackling climate change, housing affordability, social connectedness and emergency preparedness. Vancouver and Seattle will be stronger for supporting each other as we build healthy, liveable and sustainable cities.”

With the number of people living in urban areas rapidly increasing, the 100RC Network was established by The Rockefeller Foundation to help cities prepare for the impacts of urbanization, globalization, and climate change. As members of the 100RC Network, Seattle and Vancouver gain access to funding that will allow each city to hire a Chief Resilience Officer to lead their respective resilience building efforts along with additional tools and technical expertise to help them become more resilient to physical, social and economic challenges.

“The regional collaboration forged in this MOU is an impressive step for two of the newest members of the 100 Resilient Cities global network,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities.“We look forward to working with both Mayor Murray and Mayor Robertson — along with their soon-to-be-named Chief Resilience Officers — as the cities forge new approaches to managing risk and opportunity in their cities, and use their work to catalyze a regional commitment to urban resilience.”