A robust local food system is key to baking well-being, wealth-building and resilience into our community.
We look for ways to create and support a collaborative network that integrates sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management in order to enhance the environmental, economic, and social health of Whatcom County.
Whatcom Farm to School
Connecting local farmers and students just makes sense. Since 2009, Whatcom-Farm-to-School, supported by the Foundation’s Sustainable Whatcom Fund, has changed the food purchasing and education practices at many Whatcom County schools as well as early care and education sites by ensuring that students have access to healthy, local food. In addition, educational opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips are made available, encouraging children and their families to make informed food choices and support local food producers.
Whatcom Farmland Preservation Fund
The U.S. lost 11 million acres of farmland in the past 2 decades according to the American Farmland Trust. In response to the loss of local farmland, Whatcom County created the Whatcom County Purchase of Development Rights Program (PDR). This program is voluntary for farmers and compensates property owners for the value of their unexercised residential development potential and enacts an agricultural conservation easement. By protecting our agricultural land, we are supporting the local farming industry for current and future generations.
Food Security Initiative
What if we could ensure a market for local farmers and feed our food-insecure neighbors in one program? That’s the Farm-to-Freezer project in a nutshell, and it’s just one idea cooking in the Food Security Task Force (FSTF), convened in late March by the Community Foundation at the request of Whatcom Unified Command. The FSTF addresses six key factors of food security, ranging from production to policy. The task force, which meets virtually twice a week, includes all regional food banks and public schools countywide, as well as the Opportunity Council, Council on Aging/Meals on Wheels and More, Whatcom Family Farmers, Salvation Army, Puget Sound Food Hub, Sustainable Connections, Miracle Food Network, YMCA, and retail grocery stores, including the Community Food Co-Op. Our goal is simple, though by no means easy: To ensure food security for all Whatcom County residents, particularly those with barriers to food access (economic, mobility, health, etc.), while maximizing nutrition and minimizing health risks during the Covid-19 pandemic.