Eat Local Month King County
August 2023 marks the very first Eat Local Month King County; an entire month devoted to elevating and highlighting farmers, makers, producers and artisans working to provide food for their communities. Eat Local Month aims to educate Washington residents about the wonderful, diverse options available to them in their own back yards. Local food options that have fantastic flavor, are culturally significant, provide a unique experience, or evoke joy. Things that our average grocery store purchases seem to do less and less.
Our modern grocery stores are stocked with all kinds of items we wouldn’t have access to if it weren’t for imports. In the temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest we can add banana and mango to our smoothie. In the dead of winter we can snack on a bell pepper or fresh blueberries. There is a reliability to the produce section. We know we can find potatoes and onions, greens and apples. And this familiarity extends to the aisles beyond. Recognizable brand name goods do the trick.
This consistency ensures that balanced diets are attainable; that we can always find what we “need.” But there are ways in which it has made our relationship with food one of indifference and grocery shopping lackadaisical. The ripples created by our lost enthusiasm for seeking adventure in what we eat impacts our environment, local economy, and mental and physical health. So what can be done to make the most integral part of our lives exciting again? Eating locally. The closer the source of your meal, the bigger the impact. Eating local supports healthy communities from the ground up (literally!)
Why is Eating Local Important?
From soil to plate, eating local is gentler on our environment. Local food travels less, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation and distribution. Shorter supply chains also mean less waste and better flavor as locally grown produce is able to fully ripen in the field. Local food systems like King County’s often prioritize sustainable farming practices, such as reduced pesticide and fertilizer use, helping maintain soil health and water quality.
Individuals who eat local foster a deeper connection to their regional heritage and cultural identity, as local foods often reflect traditional culinary practices and local flavors. This connection can lead to a stronger sense of community pride and cohesion. Farmland is kept in the hands of farmers, livelihoods are more sustainable, and the regional economy becomes more resilient. By fostering a closer relationship between consumers and producers, local food systems provide opportunities for education and awareness about where our food comes from.
How to Eat Local
There are so many ways to get engaged with the all of the delicious eats King County has to offer. You’re sure to find one or more that work for you!
Explore Local Markets, farm stands, butchers, co-ops, or support a CSA: These venues often offer fresh, seasonal, and locally-produced food directly from farmers and producers in your area.
Visit a U-Pick: Going picking at one of King County’s u-picks is not only a fun Summer activity, but a great way to directly support local farmers.
Know Your Sources: Check out what local options are available at your grocery store. Get to know local farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and other food producers in your area when you can. Establishing a direct relationship with them can help you learn more about how your food is produced and where it comes from.
Grow Your Own: Having your own garden is one of the best ways to eat local! You can grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables in your garden or in containers if you have limited space.
Preserve Foods and reduce your food waste: During peak harvest seasons, consider preserving excess produce by canning, freezing, or making jams and pickles. This will allow you to enjoy local flavors even when certain foods are out of season.
Learn new dishes to cook at home: Explore unique seasonal veggies by creating something new with them.
Visit restaurants and food trucks that source locally: You can support a small business and local farmers at the same time! King County is home to some amazing restaurants, cafes, and food trucks that source local ingredients for their menus.
Learn about food access programs: There is healthy and delicious local food available to everyone. Explore resources that help increase access to fresh local food.
In King County, eating local is more than a culinary choice—it’s a means to strengthen community bonds, enhance economic vitality, prioritize wellness, and champion sustainable practices. Join us as we celebrate King County farms, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants and local makers who grow, raise, fish, make, and cook wat nourishes us. Visit our website https://eatlocalfirst.org/king-county/ to learn more and enter to win amazing (and delicious) prizes! And be sure to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/eatlocalfirstkingcounty.
Eat Local Month King County is presented by Tilth Alliance and PCC Community Markets and made possible with funding from the King Conservation District, with additional support from Seattle Good Business Network, After95 creative, 21 Acres, Harbor Foodservice and Seattle Farmers Market Association.