SEATTLE, Wash. — The Eat Local First Collaborative announces the launch of the new Washington Food & Farm Finder, a comprehensive and mobile-friendly searchable database connecting Washington State residents with more than 1,700 sustainable and organic farms, farmers markets, and food businesses around the state. With the holidays fast approaching and consumers more interested than ever in sourcing from local farms, the new tool will be an asset.
“We have seen an increased demand for local food and this resource can help consumers and other businesses find producers,” says Laura Lewis, Director of the WSU Food Systems Program. “Washingtonians are demonstrating increasing awareness of the importance of local food and farm businesses and are highly motivated to support them. As a collaborative, we believe building a statewide resource dedicated to connecting consumers and farmers makes sense because it’s less resource intensive and duplicative and more sustainable for participating organizations. The collaborative also can provide even more visibility to the project as a whole.”
As the holidays approach, consumers are also encouraged to buy from local farms while making special meals and giving gifts. “It’s a wonderful time of year for Washington farms. Consumers might be wondering what’s in season but there are so many locally sourced products that are readily available, it’s easy to celebrate and support these small local farms and businesses,” says Sheryl Wiser of Tilth Alliance. Consumers are invited to browse the Holiday Food & Farm Finder for ideas on where to shop, holiday meal planning and gift ideas, what’s in season and more. There’s even a Holiday Gift Guide featuring farms and local producers with online stores for easy at-home shopping.
Consumers are also encouraged to “Take the Pledge” to shop Washington farms for the holidays and be entered to win gift certificates redeemable for local goods from PCC Natural Markets, Neighborhood Farmers Markets Seattle, LINC Foods, Local Yokels, MilkRun, Pacific Coast Harvest, and more.
Created in the summer of 2020, the Eat Local First Collaborative is a collective of food system organizations from around Washington working together to merge various online food-and farm-finding resources into a single easy-to-use platform. By offering free listings through 2021 on the WA Food & Farm Finder to local growers, producers, farmers markets and food businesses, the group aims to increase accessibility to consumer and wholesale markets for farms who otherwise may not be able to access such support.
Collaborative members include The Local Food Trust, Pierce County Fresh, Sustainable Connections, Tilth Alliance, Washington State University Food Systems, and Washington State University Regional Small Farms Program with anticipated future participation from partners across the state including Genuine Skagit Valley, Gorge Grown Network, Island Grown in the San Juans, the Methow Conservancy, and Walla Walla Grown.
To find local food growers, producers and purveyors, please visit the Washington Food & Farm Finder: eatlocalfirst.org/wa-food-farm-finder. To learn more about the Eat Local First Collaborative please visit: eatlocalfirst.org/elf_collaborative.
Funding for the Washington Food & Farm Finder was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service through grant AM170100XXXXG123. Additional support was made possible from The Whatcom Community Foundation and Washington State Department of Agriculture Regional Markets Program.
— Tilth Alliance
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