Collective Action: A step toward a resilient food system

Sarah Maness, Food Bank Coordinator

Here at FamilyWorks, we have a variety of food programs, including our onsite distribution hours held at our Wallingford and Greenwood Food Banks, our Home Delivery program serving individuals in 6 zipcodes in North Seattle, our newly established Text-to-Go program where participants can pick up a box of groceries outside of regular Food Bank hours, and our new Mobile Food Pantry – in total we are serving approximately 250-300 (and growing) households a week with fresh produce!

Outside of our grocery rescue partnerships with local markets like PCC, where we have gleaned 3,569 lbs of produce just from PCC Fremont this month, we have dedicated a portion of our purchasing budget to sourcing from local farms to ensure our participants have access to fresh vegetables. That’s where our friends over at Harvest Against Hunger, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and Rotary District 5030 Program, come into play. Harvest Against Hunger has a strong foundation in making connections across our food system with a goal of bringing valuable skills and resources into hunger relief efforts across Washington State and beyond. Their efforts involve farmers, transportation providers, hunger relief efforts, volunteers, and beyond! Learn how you can get involved HERE

FamilyWorks Food Bank has been able to make meaningful connections through Harvest Against Hunger’s King County Farmers Share Program and this year alone has provided enough funding for the Food Bank to purchase $1,667 worth of produce from King County Farms. To learn more about the King County Farmers Share program and other Harvest Against Hunger efforts click HERE

When I was brought on as a Food Bank Warehouse Coordinator in the fall of 2020 we had already established our partnership with Harvest Against Hunger and, with the addition of City of Seattle distributed CARES Act funding in 2021, we were excited to bring even more Farm Partners on board! I see this partnership as not only a way to convey the power of direct purchasing agreements between farmers and food banks, but to provide fresh vegetables to our food bank participants, while building a sense of community with area farmers. This opportunity to work with Harvest Against Hunger has guided our Food Bank staff towards engaging in discussions and efforts reflective of creating sustainable purchasing decisions that will continue to grow according to the community’s needs.

Farm Partner Highlight: Eternity Farm

Kimmy of Eterenity Farms holding a box of mizuna.

Outside of our Harvest Against Hunger Farm Partners, we have dedicated a portion of our Food Bank budget towards purchasing from local farmers like Kimmy (she/her) and Emma (she/her) of Eternity Farm! This is the farm’s first year in production and while they are located to the north of us up on Camano Island, farm owners Kimmy and Emma have dedicated themselves to working with FamilyWorks Food Bank, as well as our neighbors down the road at the Tilth Alliance Good Food Bag Program. We are grateful to be able to focus a portion of our Food Bank budget towards purchasing from beginning farmers like Kimmy and Emma and are excited to share a bit more about their efforts below!

Eternity Farms on Camano Island

While they found farming at different times in their lives, Kimmy and Emma were both drawn to farming because of their interests and efforts in uplifting awareness around food justice, their love for plants, and wanting to take action against conventional agriculture.

When asked what Hunger Action meant to them they shared the following:

 “Hunger Action to us means sharing fresh, nutritious, and culturally relevant food throughout the local community, especially with those who may otherwise face barriers in obtaining this.”

At FamilyWorks we couldn’t agree more with Eternity Farm owners and feel so lucky to have such a meaningful connection with our local farmers not only in the spirit of sharing food, but in the effort of bringing food justice to the plate as well. Here at FamilyWorks, we connect neighbors and families to nourishing food, essential resources, and a supportive community, so people can build resiliency to meet life’s challenges. We believe that connecting with farmers like Kimmy and Emma, who have goals of feeding their community while addressing inequities in the food system is a key part of building this resiliency for members of our Food Bank community. We hope to continue to set precedence for purchasing from local farms as a way to address these inequities for the benefit of current and future generations.

Kimmy and Emma also shared with us their superpowers…

Our super power is teamwork! With only two of us running the farm, we work together and play to each other’s strengths to keep the farm running!

Make sure to follow Eternity Farms on Facebook and Instagram for more updates from Kimmy and Emma!

How can you participate in Hunger Action Month?

Check out these community efforts that Eternity Farm also wants you to support (including some other awesome FamilyWorks Farm Partners)!

Black Star Farmers 

Black Farmers Collective 

Nurturing Roots Farm 

Green Plate Special 

The Herons Nest 

Viva Farms Practicum 

Marra Farm  

Hunger Action Month may be dedicated to September, but take a look at Feeding America’s Hunger Action Page HERE to get involved year-round!