After four years of outreach and community engagement, the Whatcom County Council has adopted a Food System Plan to strengthen Whatcom’s local farms, markets, and food banks. With over 100 action items, the plan prescribes a number of steps the County can take to support the local food system, which encompasses the entire process from seed to table.
“This plan charts a path to a thriving Whatcom County,” said Food System Committee chair Riley Sweeney. “It gives us boots-on-the-ground solutions, drafted by those doing the work, that will make a real impact towards ensuring that everyone can have access to locally-produced, quality food.”
The final plan, which was approved unanimously at the Council’s July 25 public meeting, is available on the County’s Food System Committee website here.
“This plan is one of the first of its kind in Washington state,” said Program Specialist Ali Jensen with Whatcom County Health and Community Services. “It can be a roadmap for other communities on how to address the root causes of food insecurity, deepen their support for food system workers, or build strategic plans with the intersection of natural resources and food.”
The plan was developed using over 200 interviews from stakeholders in the Whatcom County food system including farm workers, restaurant servers, grocery buyers, farm owners, fishing industry experts, natural resources professionals, nutritionists and more. A story map detailing the development of the plan can be found here.
The Food System Committee will continue their work to administer and carry out the plan over the coming months. The implementation of this plan will require a whole community approach.
"We are excited to move this work from planning to action, so the people of Whatcom County can see the tangible benefits of a strengthened food system. We welcome the support and participation of our friends, neighbors, and fellow community members in this work," says Jensen.
Anyone with questions about the plan, or interested in participating, is encouraged to contact Jensen at [email protected] or join a Food System Committee meeting.