King County Executive Launches Local Food Economy Initiative

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 Executive Launches Local Food Economy Initiative

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:

Let’s Get Cookin’ Program to Engage Kids this Summer

[Repost from 6/16/14 School’s Out Washington press release.]

The Let’s Get Cookin’ Project in Seattle will expose children from low-income backgrounds to the skills and knowledge needed to prepare healthy meals and make healthy lifestyle choices.

This summer, children and youth in six summer programs will have the opportunity to participate in the Let’s Get Cookin’ project.  The summer programs will incorporate the cooking component as a way to not only develop cooking skills and increase access to healthy, local foods, but also to create and support environments of well-being and decrease health disparities. Some examples of how the Let’s Get Cookin’ grant funds will be used include:  Utilizing an on-site garden to use fresh vegetables and herbs grown by kids attending the program in their cooking projects; culturally appropriate menu planning and food preparation to appeal to the kids served in the program; family engagement around cooking and healthy lifestyle choices; and incorporating educational games into the cooking activities that promote academic skills such as measurement, literacy etc.

Data from the Public Health – Seattle & King County Seattle Public School Health Profile shows alarming information around the health disparities that exist in our community.  Twenty-three percent of low-income children in Seattle are overweight or obese as compared to 19% of all children in the city and only 25% of low-income children eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day as compared to 30% of all children.

These numbers show health issues facing all children our community, and how it is hitting our low-income populations even harder. The Let’s Get Cookin’ project serves primarily low-income children and aims to address these health trends that are negatively impacting our young people and creating unhealthy lifestyle habits for the future.

School’s Out Washington (SOWA), in partnership with the City of Seattle Human Services Department Youth and Family Empowerment Division, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and Seattle Tilth Association, are supporting Let’s Get Cookin’ and have selected the following summer programs to participate:

  • YMCA of Greater Seattle – Concord Site
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of King County – Joel Smilow Club House & Rainier Vista Teen Center
  • Urban Impact
  • YMCA of Great Seattle – Bailey Gatzert Site
  • Causeys Learning Center
  • Horn of Africa

Please contact Danielle Baer, Communications Manager at dbaer@schoolsoutwashington.org or (206) 351-6141 to set-up an interview with any of the funded summer programs.

School’s Out Washington is a statewide organization with a mission of providing services and guidance for organizations to ensure all young people have safe places to learn and grow when not in school. School’s Out Washington is dedicated to building community systems to support quality out-of-school time programs for Washington’s 5-18 year olds through training, advocacy and leadership.

Let’s Get Cookin’ Program to Engage Kids this Summer

[Repost from 6/16/14 School’s Out Washington press release.]

The Let’s Get Cookin’ Project in Seattle will expose children from low-income backgrounds to the skills and knowledge needed to prepare healthy meals and make healthy lifestyle choices.

This summer, children and youth in six summer programs will have the opportunity to participate in the Let’s Get Cookin’ project.  The summer programs will incorporate the cooking component as a way to not only develop cooking skills and increase access to healthy, local foods, but also to create and support environments of well-being and decrease health disparities. Some examples of how the Let’s Get Cookin’ grant funds will be used include:  Utilizing an on-site garden to use fresh vegetables and herbs grown by kids attending the program in their cooking projects; culturally appropriate menu planning and food preparation to appeal to the kids served in the program; family engagement around cooking and healthy lifestyle choices; and incorporating educational games into the cooking activities that promote academic skills such as measurement, literacy etc.

Data from the Public Health – Seattle & King County Seattle Public School Health Profile shows alarming information around the health disparities that exist in our community.  Twenty-three percent of low-income children in Seattle are overweight or obese as compared to 19% of all children in the city and only 25% of low-income children eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day as compared to 30% of all children.

These numbers show health issues facing all children our community, and how it is hitting our low-income populations even harder. The Let’s Get Cookin’ project serves primarily low-income children and aims to address these health trends that are negatively impacting our young people and creating unhealthy lifestyle habits for the future.

School’s Out Washington (SOWA), in partnership with the City of Seattle Human Services Department Youth and Family Empowerment Division, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and Seattle Tilth Association, are supporting Let’s Get Cookin’ and have selected the following summer programs to participate:

  • YMCA of Greater Seattle – Concord Site
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of King County – Joel Smilow Club House & Rainier Vista Teen Center
  • Urban Impact
  • YMCA of Great Seattle – Bailey Gatzert Site
  • Causeys Learning Center
  • Horn of Africa

Please contact Danielle Baer, Communications Manager at dbaer@schoolsoutwashington.org or (206) 351-6141 to set-up an interview with any of the funded summer programs.

School’s Out Washington is a statewide organization with a mission of providing services and guidance for organizations to ensure all young people have safe places to learn and grow when not in school. School’s Out Washington is dedicated to building community systems to support quality out-of-school time programs for Washington’s 5-18 year olds through training, advocacy and leadership.