Earlier this week, Man of La Muncha and I met up with Jenni and Lisa, two of the co-founders of our meat CSA (meat countdown T minus 22 days!) to talk about our reactions to reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. We discussed our shifts in thinking and how eating sustainably, organically, locally, and ethically takes a lot of time and effort.
The topic then turned to local resources that help people to live in a more sustainable fashion. We quickly realized that, while there are a lot of people trying to live a locavore lifestyle in the Puget Sound region, and there are a lot of groups set up to help facilitate sustainability, there really isn't a way to find out where these groups are, or how they function. There is so much tribal knowledge, but no one place for someone new to the idea of sustainability to go to in order to learn more. Jenni and Lisa suggested that we post some of the links to the Ethicurean as a first step in sharing knowledge. So, without further ado, here is a sure to be incomplete list of Puget Sound locavore resources. If you're just getting started, or if you've been doing this for a while and have a favorite group or resource that you use, leave a comment and let us know.
Lettuce Link is a program run by the Fremont Public Association that "creates access to fresh, nutritious and organic produce, seeds, and gardening information for low-income families in Seattle." They manage an urban farm that provides fresh produce to a Seattle food bank, provide educational resources for children, encourage people to grow their own food, and coordinate with over 30 local P-Patches to send excess produce to food banks and meal programs. They'll also come and take fruit from your backyard fruit tree, so instead of feeding crows, you can be feeding people.
Are you wondering if there's a farmers' market near you? Check out the Neighborhood Farmers' Market Alliance, which will tell you where to find a Seattle Neighborhood Farmers' Market. Wondering why the markets in Ballard, Fremont, and Capitol Hill markets aren't on the list? They're run through Seattle Market Places, a separate organization that began with the original Fremont Sunday Market in 1990.
The P-Patch Community Gardens program is run by the City of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods in conjunction with the non-profit P-Patch Trust. The program provides community gardening space for 44 Seattle neighborhoods, and has special programs for potential gardeners who are low-income, disabled, young, or non-English speaking. The P-Patches provide over seven tons of fresh produce to local food banks annually.
Puget Sound Fresh is a program organized by Cascade Harvest Coalition and focuses on educating consumers in 12 counties on the benefits of buying and eating locally grown agricultural products. They also provide a logo that can be used on locally grown products so that consumers know that they are buying a locally grown agricultural product, and a list of farmer's markets. For those of you wondering when corn will come into season in Puget Sound, a crop finder will help you find out who produces it and when they will be harvesting.
Seattle Tilth, which was founded in 1978, holds classes and workshops for people who want to start gardening organically. In addition to classes and workshops, they provide information on composting, and host events related to locally produced and organic foods. If you're thinking of keeping backyard chickens, Seattle Tilth also has a very helpful FAQ about caring for city chickens.
The Small Potatoes Gleaning Project based in Bellingham is working to create a community food system that provides equitable distribution by focusing on gleaning, the process of gathering produce after harvest. Other programs include market retrieval, educational outreach, and promoting the ability of individuals to be self-reliant in their food choices. They will also help home gardeners to distribute excess produce through their Home and Urban Garden Surplus (HUGS) program.
Sustainable Ballard is a new non-profit that is focused on developing a grass-roots vision of sustainability for the community of Ballard. In addition to workshops on electric cars and biodiesel, Sustainable Ballard is organized into guilds that focus on topics ranging from waste and water to transportation, food, and medicine. They also host a Wiki that provides helpful links on a variety of subjects related to sustainability.
Clearly this is just the tip of the iceberg. Comments on other Puget Sound resources are welcome!