(From Mayor Mike McGinn’s blog)
Access to healthy, affordable food is vital to our community. We’re working to increase access to healthy food for everyone in Seattle, not just those who can afford it. It’s one of the most important things we can do as a community to live longer, lead healthier lives, promote equity, and help our environment.
The City recently hired a new Food Policy Advisor, who is working in our Office of Sustainability and Environment to create an action agenda that further improves people’s ability to grow, eat, and sell local and healthy food in Seattle.
In order to create that agenda, I, together with City Councilmember Richard Conlin and the other members of our City Council, am bringing together stakeholders in the food community for a series of Our City, Our Food, Our Future listening sessions. The priorities and opportunities that we hear about in these sessions will inform the City’s next steps for these issues.
Almost every department at the City has been engaged and working together to create a city where all Seattleites have enough to eat and have access to affordable, local, healthy, culturally appropriate food. We’re working to make sure it’s easy to grow food in our city, whether for personal use or for business purposes, and easy to sell local and healthy food in our neighborhoods. We’re also educating people about the benefits of eating local and healthy food, and working to provide sustainable ways to deal with food waste.
Some of these programs are long-standing, such as the P-Patch program, senior meals, and food waste recycling. More recently, we’ve taken other steps aimed at increasing shared prosperity, health, and environmental sustainability. For example, our Office of Economic Development has helped over 50 small business owners sell more healthy food in their stores, which helps support their businesses while at the same time increasing access to healthy food in areas of our city where it is hard to find.
Our Human Services Department’s Farm to Table program has been helping childcare centers and senior meal facilities get more fresh, healthy food from local farmers onto kids’ and seniors’ plates. Our Parks Community Centers host a teen top chef program, engaging teens in cooking and eating healthy meals, and providing them with leadership opportunities in the process. Our Department of Planning and Development changed the zoning code to expand opportunities for Seattleites to grow food in the City. And Seattle Public Utilities has helped food banks catch good food before it hits the waste stream and get it onto people’s plates.
If you’re interested in being part of our effort to increase access to local, healthy, food in our community, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share what we learn during the Our City, Our Food, Our Future listening sessions right here on our blog.