Food System Committee


A food system includes all of the inputs that impact food, from farm to fork to waste.  Findings from the 2021 update of the Community Food Assessment illustrate opportunities for making a more sustainable and equitable food system in Whatcom County.  This committee has built on the findings of the community food assessment by engaging areas of the food system, including fishing, farming, labor, food access, environment, and waste. The purpose of this committee is to draft, implement, provide oversight for, and regularly update a county-wide food system plan to strengthen our local and regional food system. The process to-date is demonstrated in this story map

The Food System Plan was adopted by the Whatcom County Council in July, 2023.

To get involved and receive updates on the food system plan, sign up here


WCC Chapter 2.47


The Food System Committee has 9 members.

This committee shall include nine members appointed by the County Executive.  There shall be representation for a variety of areas related to food systems.

Current committee members:

  • Margaret Gerard - Local Sales Farming
  • Riley Sweeney - Food Access
  • Noelle Beecroft - Nutrition/public health
  • Trevor Gearhart - Natural Resources
  • Rhys-Thorvald Hansen - Whatcom Food Network representative
  • Rob Dhaliwal - Export Sales Farming
  • Sean Hopps -Labor Issues
  • Nikki Oleson- Processing/Distribution
  • Paul Burrill - Fishing Industry 

Term Length/term limit

Term of office for appointed members is four years; limit of two terms served.


Committee meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The meetings are hybrid in-person at 509 Girard Street in Bellingham and virtual via zoom. Find the virtual meeting link in the agenda. Agendas prior to 2023 can be found in the Agenda Center.

Date Agenda Meeting Summary
January 26, 2023 Agenda Minutes
February 28, 2023 Agenda Minutes
March 28, 2023 Agenda Minutes
May 23, 2023 Agenda Minutes
June 27, 2023 Agenda Minutes
July 11, 2023 Agenda Minutes
September 26, 2023 Agenda Draft Minutes