The WFP grew in response to the bold goals outlined in King County’s Local Food Initiative, which launched in 2014. The initiative aims to better connect local farms to consumers; increase access to healthy, affordable foods in underserved areas; support farmers and protect farmland; and create a sustainable farm-to-plate pipeline that is more resilient to the effects of climate change. We are honored to be charged with specific targets through the WFP to help bring this vision to life in King County.
The WFP brings together the conservation district, farmer training and advocacy organizations, county government, and land trusts in order to provide a full suite of services to farmers and landowners in King County. By aligning our strategies, we are able to better support farmers at all stages of their land search and landowners in meeting their agricultural production goals for their properties.
In our pilot year, we focused on working with motivated landowners to get their land into production. We walk properties side by side with landowners, identify barriers to production, and create a plan for improvements. We then make connections to key agencies, service providers, and other experts and help navigate permitting processes and regulatory hurdles. The top issues we’ve offered advice on include: drainage, access to water, funding sources for property improvements, permitting and building requirements, and road access. To date, we’ve supported eight landowners in exploring potential solutions on 160 acres in King County.