News & Updates
During these uncertain times, many farmers are getting creative to help consumers access fresh local food with online ordering, delivery services, and new pickup locations. The King County Local Food team has created a resource list that includes the ways you can support farmers through produce subscriptions and other innovative market options.
Sovereignty Farm's Victoria Plumage reflects on the project's first year
"I want to see small gardens all over the city," says Victoria Plumage, coordinator at Sovereignty Farm.
Located near Tukwila, Sovereignty Farm is a new project of the Chief Seattle Club's Native Works program. The farm launched this year with the goals of providing a space for Native American residents of King County to grow culturally significant foods and employing several members of the Chief Seattle Club as apprentices.
Pacific Coast Harvest and Farmstand Local Foods: Sending out and scaling up local food
As many farmers markets across King County wind down until next summer, the Local Food Initiative team wanted to share another way you can source fresh, local produce, and even have it delivered to your doorstep.
We spoke with Chris Teeny, co-owner of Pacific Coast Harvest (PCH) and Farmstand Local Foods, about what these brands are doing to make it easy for individuals and for larger customers such as restaurants to support local growers. Chris became owner of PCH in 2017, and says he began his management strategy by considering the question, "How do you authentically and legitimately engage with producers in a way that's helpful, to build partnerships and long-term win-win situations?"
Read more about how Pacific Coast Harvest is connecting consumers to farms.
Horseneck Farm: Preserved for agriculture, now increasing access for diverse growers
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.
Rainy Day Bees partners with local farms, other hive hosts, in creative approach to local honey production
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.
Has your farm experienced any damage caused by wildlife? King County wants to know!
King County is home to numerous wildlife species such as rabbits, waterfowl, deer, elk, coyotes, bears, and more. In order to improve county provided farming resources and assistance, King County hopes to assess the scope of wildlife conflicts on farms. King County wants to gain an understanding of the challenges, big or small, that you face with wildlife damage and control. County farms contribute to our sustainable and accessible local food systems, so we hope to use this information to develop solutions that address what you need to maintain a successful farm!
Please take this 15 minute survey regarding wildlife damage so King County can serve and support you better!
Farm Practices Illustrated: Easy, new tool for navigating King County regulations
Farm Practices Illustrated can help you spend less time deciphering County codes and more time growing the food our community needs.
Meet Eric Beach, Regulatory/Permitting Specialist for the Agriculture Team at the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. Eric and his team recently completed a new resource designed to help make County codes and regulations easier for farmers to understand and follow. The series is called Farm Practices Illustrated (FPI), and the first chapter is available now.
Local Food Finder map
King County's new Local Food Finder interactive map offers a convenient way for residents to support local farms hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted farmers markets and restaurant sales. Residents can have fresh food and flowers delivered from local farms or place an online order for pick up directly at the farm.
COVID-19 Resources for famers
These are unprecedented times. In response, Farm King County has mobilized a dedicated, strong partnership of talented agricultural resource providers to help farm and food businesses respond to the challenges of COVID-19. As you all know, things are changing rapidly. We pledge to provide timely, reliable, curated, and creative responses to the changing farm business environment.
Start Farming in King County: New resource guide to help farmers reach their business goals
- Learning how to farm,
- Developing a business and marketing plan,
- Financing their farm business,
- Getting required permitting and licensing, and
- Finding a place to farm.
This guide provides resources, tips, and information on programs that can help farmers reach their farm business goals. No matter where you are in this process, whether you want to learn how to farm or you are ready to access credit to support and grow your operation, this guide can help you figure out where to start and assess the options available to you. Download the guide to get started on the right path to farm business success!