by Makayla Miles
(This article is co-published in agreement with Rainier Beach Action Coalition’s SE Seattle Freedomnet.)
This is the second in a series of articles drawing from the experiences of the many young adults employed by the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) to improve their community. These articles tackle practical issues young adults in our community should have learned about in school, but often leave school without knowing.
Every Saturday, at least a half-hour before the Rainier Beach Action Coalition Farm Stand officially opens, the line of people waiting to get their hands on fresh, organically grown produce stretches from in front of the Community Center all the way toward the entrance of South Shore K–8.
Food insecurity is defined as “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.”
It’s widely known that Rainier Beach only has one grocery store — but while Safeway is a reliable option for some people, it can be too expensive for people living in low-income households. As a result, people sometimes have to travel outside of the area to find affordable food.
Continue reading Adulting 101: Overcoming Food Insecurity in Rainier Beach
by Ari Robin McKenna (photos by Pharaoh Prim)
On Fridays, the front foyer of South Shore PK–8 is bustling to the sound of the “Uncle Bob playlist.” Old school rhythm and blues, soul, and the occasional pop song keep people moving, keep their team flowing, and keep the brown paper bags filling up with food. It’s full of the songs “that no one doesn’t like,” says John Santos, a Youth Services Assistant, impromptu DJ, and the son of “Uncle” Bob Santos, one of a longtime group of Seattle activists affectionately known as the “Gang of Four.” Though his family is a part of Seattle history, Santos feels lucky to be involved with this current effort. “When we do this every Friday, it’s a very humbling experience to know that we’re helping families, feeding families.”
Continue reading South Shore PreK–8 Helps Sustain Families Through the Worst of Times
by Sandra LeDuc
More Seattle families will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, thanks to an expansion of the City of Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program. The city has just added $1.3 million for the program in the newly approved 2021 city budget, making it possible to enroll 3,100 people currently on the Fresh Bucks waitlist to begin receiving vouchers in December and continuing through 2021.
Fresh Bucks customers receive $40 in monthly benefits to purchase fruits and vegetables from participating Seattle farmers markets, neighborhood grocers, and Seattle Safeway stores. With the program’s expansion, there are 12,100 Seattle households served, in addition to the city’s emergency grocery voucher program that has supported 14,000 households.
Continue reading 3,100 More Seattle Households to Receive Monthly ‘Fresh Bucks’ Fruit and Vegetable Benefit
by Jack Russillo
It’s taken years of work, but the Rainier Beach Food Innovation District is finally on the horizon.
After the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) received funding over the summer from the City of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), RBAC has ramped up work on its planned Food Innovation District, a network of food-related businesses and activities aimed at creating living-wage jobs and preventing displacement. Once complete, the food-centric district could be a natural hub for retail and restaurant development; farmers markets, festivals and other attractions; and public health outreach and services, such as cooking and nutrition classes or harvest gleaning programs that move farm surpluses to families in need. With assistance from Forterra, RBAC acquired ownership of a property at the end of October with a central location in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. The $3 million purchase is the result of a decade-long effort and will help RBAC implement a primary aspect of their neighborhood plan.
Continue reading Rainier Beach Action Coalition Virtual Town Hall to Share Plans for Neighborhood’s Food Innovation District
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Starting this Friday, nonprofit City Fruit will host the first of 12 Fruit For All pop-ups across Seattle, giving free, city-grown fruit to anyone who wants it on a first come, first served basis. Now in their third year of community pop-up events, City Fruit harvests fruit from Seattle orchards and trees that would otherwise go to waste and gives it to anyone who needs it through food banks, meal programs, and pop-ups. Starting at New Holly Rockery Community Garden July 31, pop-ups will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. twice a week until late September. Check out the calendar and locations here.
Continue reading Fruit For All Pop-Ups Bring Fresh, Locally-Grown Fruit to Seattle Communities
by Carolyn Bick
The farm stand hadn’t even opened for business yet, but the socially distant line for Tilth Alliance’s new farm stand was already starting to stretch down the organization’s driveway on the sunny afternoon of June 25.
The nonprofit organic gardening and urban ecology organization is located at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands in partnership with Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands. Tucked away in a leafy residential area on South Cloverdale Street, this is the city’s largest urban farm. Tilth Alliance officially launched the new farm stand in this outdoor space on June 18. The farm stand is open every Thursday from 2–7 p.m. and is yet another one of Tilth Alliance’s efforts to support South King County residents.
Continue reading Farm Stand in Rainier Beach Provides Free and Low-Cost Produce for the Community
by Carolyn Bick
It’s sunny, and beginning to get warm on an afternoon in early May, when people start to line up outside the White Center Food Bank. Clad in masks, they patiently wait an adequate distance from each other to choose food the National Guard is helping food bank workers distribute.
This outdoor model is the latest iteration of food service the food bank has tried, Associate Executive Director Carmen Smith said. So far, it’s also the most successful, she said. Usually, the food bank operates in a grocery store model, which allows patrons the freedom to choose their own items, and mitigate the stigma associated with needing to use a food bank. But once the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the state, Smith and her fellow food bank employees found that the inside of the food bank was just too small to allow for safe social distancing practices. Having volunteers shop for the patrons’ food was also a no-go, because it’s just too hard to shop for someone else, Smith said.
Continue reading South King County Food Banks Face Severe Shortages — And There’s No End in Sight
by Ben Adlin
With the city’s farmers markets having been shuttered for weeks and only recently beginning to reopen, some regional farmers have been stuck with produce they can’t sell. Now a collaboration between local businesses, farmers markets and food banks is working to redirect those fruits and vegetables to hungry communities across the Seattle area.
It’s an effort to respond on the fly to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic and ensure food banks have what they need during the coming months. It also keeps much-needed income flowing to the Northwest’s small farms.
Continue reading Farmers Market Program Funnels Fresh Produce to Local Food Banks