by Chamidae Ford
As we transition into fall, the BLOOM Giving Garden at Wa Na Wari is beginning to wrap up the season. The BIPOC-youth-run garden began as a response to COVID-19 and has continued to grow and expand in its second summer.
The garden is a collaboration between Wa Na Wari, Seattle Public Library (SPL), YES Farm, The Black Farmers Collective, and EarthCorps. The project aims to educate and uplift BIPOC youth by fostering food sovereignty and honoring sacred land and Indigenous practices whilst building community. Eight fellows have been selected to run the garden through their involvement with farm-related programs.
C. Davida Ingram, a Wa Na Wari partner and SPL public engagement employee, teamed up with Hannah Wilson from YES Farms and came to Wa Na Wari with the idea for a garden.
“Our goal is to look at the environment that Communities of Color look in, live in, and to look at it through the lens of creativity,” Ingram said. “At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a spotlight on economics. People were losing their housing and also people were running out of food. And because Seattle is such an incredible space for conversations around food justice and food sovereignty, we reached out to Wa Na Wari and said, ‘Would you be interested in creating a space where people could learn about food sovereignty and also would you be open to creating space for community gardening?’ And they said ‘yes.’”
Continue reading BLOOM Giving Garden Teaches BIPOC Youth Black Liberation and Food Sovereignty
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 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