September Eat Local Month: Business Participation

September is the time of year we go BIG to encourage our community to support local food businesses, educate them on the importance of eating local, and celebrate the bounty that’s in our backyard!  We take every opportunity to tell the story of the local food businesses through special events, media, and partnerships.

Participant Benefits

Participants reap the benefit of inclusion in our September Eat Local Month printed and digital guide. 45,000 print copies are distributed throughout Northwest Washington. View the 2018 September Eat Local Month guide here. In addition, participants receive extra PR, media, web and social media promotion.

Here is a snapshot of our current digital reach:

  • Our Eat Local First Facebook page has over 2,400 followers
  • Eat Local First Instagram has over 1,200 followers
  • The Eat Local First newsletter goes out to over 3,000 subscribers
  • The Sustainable Connections website recorded over 60k users in the past 12 months, with a 25% increase last year during September Eat Local Month

We always love doing the farm tour. We do it every year. And we often have family come to visit from out of town specifically to go on the farm tour because it is so much fun.

2018 Farm Tour Participant

It was just great to learn about all the variety of local food available. Definitely gave me more appreciation for local producers. And more willing to pay higher prices for higher quality products!

2018 September Eat Local Month Participant

The farm tour weekend was by far the highlight! We went both days and made it to almost all farms. I learned so much about how dairies and creameries work. It was fascinating. I also loved the flower farm. What a beautiful area! I felt closer to the community by learning more about our local options.

2018 Farm Tour Participant

It was fun to see what dishes and local ingredients the participating restaurants came up with. I really hope they continue to let diners know when they use local ingredients, as that is often a deciding factor for me in choosing from the menu.

2018 Eat Local Month Participant

Be a stop on the Whatcom County Farm Tour – September 7 & 8

The Whatcom County Farm Tour has been going strong for over a decade! We’re always looking for local farms who want to throw open their barn doors and welcome the community to come see and explore what really goes into producing food in Whatcom County.  It’s educational, meaningful, and FUN!

Always the second weekend in September, it’s a great opportunity to help the public connect with how their food is grown, caught, raised, and made.  Join us in building the very relationships that lead to people knowing, and truly valuing our local food producers.

This two-day event will feature 10+ local farms who are passionate about engaging with the public. Hundreds of people will plan their weekend around exploring both new, and veteran farms this year — and you’ll meet customers old and new.
*This opportunity is open to members and non-members.

Featured Farm Guidelines:

1. Attend Two REQUIRED Meetings:

  • The first meeting will be set in July with a Sustainable Connections staff member to review your farm logistics and education plan. You will receive an email after being confirmed to set a day & time.
  • Volunteer orientation on Tuesday, September 3 from 6-7pm.  This meeting is crucial to your preparedness and success.  You will pick up your tour day materials and get oriented to the materials and informed of day-of logistics.

2. Create a VIP Farm Tour Offer: 

We offer a VIP Farm Tour experience to people who make a donation to the Farm Tour Fund.  It encourages tour goers to fully participate, and create even more draw to each stop.  We ask that you create an exclusive Farm Tour VIP offer for the day of your tour.  In the past folks have had awesome giveaways: Ferndale Farmstead gave away insulated lunch bags with full sized cheese logs; Boxx Berry offered free berry sundaes; Ten Fold Farm gave away free tote bags.  Other suggestions include: coupons for a percent off of their purchase that day at the farm, 2 for 1 deals, or, if you purchase “this item” you’ll receive “this”. Please note – you have full discretion and autonomy as to how many offers you give out. We can include language such as ‘while supplies last’ or ‘for the first 100 visitors’ to make sure you are not overextended.

3. Education and activities: 

We ask that you do something beyond your normal farm operations to teach the public about local agriculture. Activities can be just for fun, but we ask that you offer at least one opportunity for education. Sustainable Connections staff can help you plan this.

4. Toward Zero Waste: 

Like all Sustainable Connections events, the Whatcom County Farm Tour is Zero Waste. This means we will work with Sanitary Services Company (SSC) to offer Food Plus and recycling services on your farm for the day. ALL disposable materials must be compostable (paper or corn based cups or utensils) or recyclable. No Styrofoam.

5. Restroom Facilities: 

You must have a public restroom or rent a portable toilet for the day.

6. Fee: 

The fee for participation in the Whatcom County Farm Tour is $85 for Sustainable Connections members, and $185 for non-members. Membership starts at $190, so this is a great time to become a member if you haven’t already! Fees are used to cover a small fraction of the costs of staff planning time, promotion, and printed materials for the tour.  (Fees will not be collected until we have reviewed all applicants and finalized participants.)

7. Certificate of Liability: 

We will need a copy with Sustainable Connections named as an Additional Insured on a minimum $500,000 liability policy (this should be quick, easy and affordable by contacting your insurance company). We need this certificate in hand ASAP after your farm is confirmed as a stop.

8. Staffing: 

You will need to have adequate staffing to accommodate several hundred people on the day of your tour. We may be able to provide one greeting volunteer for the day, but having staff on site to answer questions, direct parking, guide activities and conduct sales is your responsibility.

9. Sanitation: 

It’s your responsibility to ensure that pathogens don’t get transferred between humans, animals, or crops. We encourage you to have a hand wash station, or at least have sanitizer available. You may also consider having a place to sanitize shoe soles.

10. PARKING:

Farms can anticipate an average range of 200-500 visitors per day of the farm tour, and should be able to accommodate 40-50 parking spots at any given point in the day (9AM-4PM). Also consider this as you appropriate your staffing needs, whether or not your location will need a parking attendant/guide.

If you’d like to participate, fill out the Eat Local Month Participant Application before May 17th. Spots fill up quick!

Apply to be on the Farm Tour

Be a Collaborative Partner

We’d love to spread the word about any food or farming events you may be having in the month of September! The sky is the limit, here!

EDUCATION We love opportunities to intentionally share a learning space with our community.  Are you a Wellness Director? HR Manager? Community Activity Coordinator of any kind?  Hit us up, and we’ll come to you with a brief, engaging presentation on what it means to Eat Local First, and why it is important for our community!

COMMUNITY Do you have an annual event on your farm that you want others to know about?  Have an awesome foodie event planned already?  Let us know what you’ve got in the works now so we can start planning and find creative ways to promote!

ART We’re looking for opportunities to tie in our arts community this year!  We’re thinking poetry, music, creating of any kind – we’d love to highlight the beauty that lies in the fields, farms, and foods we all enjoy.

Can’t host an event, but still want to help spread the word?  We’d love to supply you with posters and Eat Local Month guides to have at your business!  Let us know we can drop some by!

*This opportunity for collaboration is open to members and non-members.

Be an Eat Local Month Partner

Thank You to Our Eat Local First Sponsors & Partners

Thank You to Our Food & Farming Sponsors