September, you were scrumptious! We saw more people than ever carve out time to learn, taste, and celebrate our local food community this year, and we are so grateful you were a part of it! Please enjoy this collection of photos from September Eat Local Month 2019.
Farm Celebration and Annual Farmer Awards
We always love kicking off September Eat Local Month by paying tribute to our local farmers with the annual farmer awards, as part of the Farm Celebration, co-hosted with the Community Food Co-op at Boundary Bay Check out this highlight video capturing the fun events of the evening, and the annual farmer awards.
2019 Whatcom County Farm Tour
The following weekend featured our headliner event, the annual Whatcom County Farm Tour, sponsored by Puget Sound Energy and co-hosted by Whatcom Family Farmers. We counted over 3,800 stops made to 13 diverse farms who offered the community an up close look at how vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats and more are being produced in Whatcom County. We were also happy to entice farm tour visitors to visit 6 county businesses as refreshment stops along their tour routes as well as 4 local farmers markets. Farm Tour VIP’s donated $2,400 to help fund the Farm Tour – Thank you, VIPS!
Not only did we provide folks an opportunity to tour local farms, but we were happy to showcase three local businesses who fused local flavors into Farm Tour Weekend events! We joined Aslan for a farm-infused beer tasting event, featured a Farm Tour Brunch at Cosmo’s Bistro, and a lovely natural wine pairing event at Camber.
2019 Eat Local Month Restaurants
The culinary delights certainly did not end with Farm Tour Weekend, though. All September long, 17 of our best local eateries featured menu items crafted with local ingredients, and labeled them with the Eat Local First fork to help consumers identify locally sourced dishes in the same way gluten free and vegan icons are used, respectively.
In our participant survey, 60% of people reported seeing the fork icon at local restaurants, and of those, 40% said they were actively looking for it! This reinforces for us that the community continues to be active, aware, and intentional in their food purchases to support our local food & farming businesses.
Around the Community during Eat Local Month 2019
Our local Grocers joined us by highlighting local products and businesses as well. To wrap up the month, and get feedback from the public, we invited those who completed our survey to redeem a coupon for a free Eat Local First fork at the Community Food Co-op. Go pick yours up if you haven’t already!
We also want to thank all of our local businesses and organizations like Village Books and our local libraries, who always go the extra mile to help us get the word out and support our local food community all September long.
To add to the festivities and expand our audience for Eat Local First, we highlighted one local food business every day during September, and gave away over $1,500 in tasty prizes and food experiences thanks to our generous business participants and loyal partners for their donations.
One of our lucky winners got to experience Haggen’s Taste of the Sea event which highlighted sustainable Pacific Northwest Seafood. Participants took home Food & Farm Finders as well as our sweet Eat Local First reusable camping forks!
Both Eat Local First and Toward Zero Waste program staff spent the day at SeaFeast connecting with the public and sharing resources for finding and connecting with local food AND reducing food waste as well as providing technical assistance to keep this huge event as close to zero waste as possible.