Learn about Seattle's Local Culinary History! For nearly two centuries, Seattle has been a region whose culinary traditions, like its people, are distinguished by the confluence of cultures, the wise use of natural resources, and the willingness (and oftentimes necessity) to try something new. Discover the secret history of the Pacific Northwest’s favorite foods: learn the origins of the Rainier cherry, see treasures from the long history of Pike Place Market, get acquainted with the man behind the city’s first sushi bar, and debate Seattle’s signature dishes. Curated by two-time James Beard Award winner Rebekah Denn, Edible City will be a main course on the city's cultural buffet. http://ediblecity.mohai.org/  

SAVE THE DATE Good Food and Farms Advocacy Day Monday, March 6 in Olympia Meet legislators, advocate to restore funding for the WSDA Farm to School and Small Farm Direct Marketing programs. Location: Columbia Room, Legislative Building, State Capitol Campus Schedule: 10-10:30 a.m. – Check-in and coffee 10:30–11:30 a.m. – How to Effectively Advocate with Legislators 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Meetings with Legislators 2:00 p.m. Debrief and photo Good Food and Farming Advocacy Day is Monday, March 6, 2017 in Olympia, WA! The Good Food Coalition will host a presentation from one of our legislative champions about effective advocacy to prepare us for small group meetings with key legislators. The goals of advocacy day are simple: 1) Ask the legislature to restore $500,000 to the WSDA Farm to School and Small Farm Direct Marketing programs so they can better meet the demand for training, education and technical assistance from farmers and others across the state, and 2) share the importance of WSDA’s work to strengthening Washington farms, the economy and our communities. We will arrange appointments for attendees with key legislators on Agriculture and Budget committees.  If your legislators are on other committees, we encourage you to set a meeting with them. Check out his handy guide for information on how to set up a meeting and prepare for the day.  Karen Kinney is available to help.  Please reach out to her at karen@wafarmersmarkets.org. *This advocacy day is supported by Tilth Alliance, WA State Farmers Market Association, WA Sustainable Food & Farming Network and Solid Ground. Thanks to our friends at the WA Young Farmers Coalition, Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition, Faith Action Network, and NW Harvest for their support.

Do you live in Clark or Cowlitz county? Do you care about farmers markets and increasing access to fresh, local food for low-income families and individuals? Then this is the opportunity for you! WSFMA’s Regional Leads program is expanding to Southwest Washington in partnership with WSU Clark County Extension and we’re looking for a Greater Clark County Regional Lead. The Regional Lead will build and support relationships between farmers markets and local food access stakeholders in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties. The position reports to Sandy Brown at WSU Extension Clark County. To Apply: Send resume and cover letter addressing how you qualify for the position to Sandra Brown, WSU Extension, 1919 NE 78th St., Vancouver, WA 98685 or email at browns@wsu.edu. The application deadline is January 20th, 2017. Check out the position description here.  

Seattle Magazine's List of "125 People who have Shaped the City" names Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance head Chris Curtis in its Influential Hall of Fame

from the NFMA newsletter announcement, sentiments very much echoed by the WSFMA

"Dear Friends of Local Farmers and Local Food, We would like to acknowledge how proud we are of Chris Curtis. The founder and Executive Director of our non-profit, Neighborhood Farmers Markets, was included in a list of local movers and shakers who "have transformed the town in extraordinary ways over the past 50 years…a cross section of talented visionaries, big thinkers and risk takers who have shaped our city into the remarkable place it is.” This list highlights leaders involved not only in food, but in music, art, books, sports, media, philanthropy, business, development, and the environment. Chris feels honored to be included, she says, “If anyone had told me at the beginning of our fledgling neighborhood farmers market efforts 24 years ago that I would someday be on a list with Ken Griffey, Nancy Pearl and Jim Whittaker, I would have said “you’re hallucinating.” A pioneer in the local food movement, Chris created the first non-profit neighborhood farmers market that devoted itself exclusively to local farms selling directly to the local community here in Seattle. “I was inspired by the Santa Monica Farmers Market where farmers are prioritized above all else. We started out in the U-District neighborhood in 1993 with only 17 farmers and 800 shoppers our first day. We now have 120 farmers every week who sell at seven neighborhood markets and it’s typical to see over 500,000 shoppers a year at NFM markets. It’s been so gratifying to see the growth for shoppers and local farmers.” Chris understands the deep connections that can occur at a neighborhood Farmers Market; these weekly, safe, family-friendly events that allow shoppers to meet the folks who grow our food and neighbors to interact as a community.  “A good urban Farmers Market is an amazing social catalyst where magic happens every week,” says Curtis. As is evident, Seattle agrees and its residents have continued to flock to these hubs of food, families, and farms. Though there is always room to grow, and we know that Chris is still working tirelessly to continue to transform this city in farm-friendly ways. So cheers to you, Chris! Thank you for your hard work and influence on Seattle--you have certainly shaped our town and people have noticed."

WSFMA 2017 Conference! February 2-4 at Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, WA

Will O’Donnell hired as new WSFMA Executive Director.

The WSFMA has recently been notified by the IRS that our application for tax-exempt status has been approved. The 501c3 designation has long been a strategic goal for the WSFMA as it not only reduces the amount of federal income tax that we are required to pay, but opens up opportunities for tax-deductible charitable contributions from individual and institutional donors.

  King County knows that visiting a farmers market is one of best ways residents can help build a stronger local food system. To help spread the word, King Country recently issued a news release announcing the opening of many of the County's 41 farmers markets. The County is also promoting shopping at farmers markets by encouraging residents to become “Good Food Champions” by being aware of what they consume, where it is grown or produced, and whether others also have the opportunity to eat healthy, local food.

Interested in USDA grants but not sure where to start or what all those acronyms mean? Join us for a free webinar to help you prepare before the Request for Proposals (RFP) come out this spring. Tuesday, March 17, 2015 10:00am to 11:00am To register, please complete this online form. You will need access to the Internet and a flash-enabled web browser. We’ll cover:

  • USDA grants available to support local food and farms
  • Pre-RFP project development, partnerships, and management
  • Getting the in the USDA system (DUNS, SAM and grants.gov)
  • Additional resources
The webinar will be recorded and available on the CSANR site after March 17: http://csanr.wsu.edu/webinars/ This webinar is part of the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project. The AMSTA initiative shares knowledge about effective project development and grant-writing practices with an emphasis on USDA’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs. Additional information and resources are available at: www.amsta.net Feel free to email me with any questions. Colleen Donovan Washington State University Center for Sustaining Ag and Natural Resources Small Farms Program colleen.donovan@wsu.edu