“Food is culture. It’s family, social fabric and it contributes to the environment,” Branden Born told a small audience gathered in Pioneer Square. Born, a professor in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington, set the framework for a conversation about our local food system. The event on March 18 was Forterra’s first Seed & Feed event of 2016.
“We have to work hard to preserve land for agriculture. We have to relieve development pressure on our farms. We have to be intentional about where we buy our food,” said Tristan Klesick, the founder and president of Klesick Farms in Stanwood. One way to draw more attention to food issues? “Get Russell Wilson to champion local food,” Klesick said.
Maria Anderson, the farm manager at Elk Run Farm in Maple Valley, pointed to the next generation of Washingtonians as our future food providers. “The average age of farmers nationwide is 55,” she pointed out. So her farm is on a mission to expose more kids to farming through field trips, summer school and classroom curriculum.
Jake Harris, the founder and president of Stone Soup Gardens, talked about the joy his clients experience when they’ve first eaten something they’ve grown in their yards. And he shared how his backyard chicken cooperative works: Everyone gets a share in the co-op; everyone is signed up for cleaning duty; eggs are divided up each week. “It’s made our home more of a community hub,” he said.
The event, held at Gridiron, was hosted by Forterra’s policy program manager Lindsay Fromme Hanna.
Special thanks to Tristan Klesick, who arrived with a box of fruits and vegetables from his farm. It was raffled off to one (lucky) audience member.