Seattle’s food story is an important element in Blessing the Hands that Feed Us (Viking/Penguin 2013/4), so I’ve watched the growth of local sustainable food up close and personal. Seattle has been a leader among cities – from the P-Patch program to Lettuce Link to backyard pygmy goats and chickens to liberating parking strips for gardens and on and on. They are making “local food” look like the new normal. The beauty of “local food” as a focal point for change is that it seems innocent enough until you see how it reshapes many other policies – including childhood nutrition and land access and procurement. Here’s the latest:

City of Seattle Releases Food Action Plan

Food Action Plan outlines steps for increasing access to healthy food, promoting public health, and supporting the regional food economy

SEATTLE – To mark Food Day (October 24th)—a nationwide celebration and movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food—the City of Seattle released the Seattle Food Action Plan at an event held at Stockbox Grocers in South Park. The Action Plan outlines actions the City will pursue over the next 3-5 years to achieve the following goals:

· Healthy Food for All: All Seattle residents have enough to eat and access to affordable, local, healthy, sustainable, culturally appropriate food.

· Grow Local: It is easy to grow food in Seattle and in our region, for personal use or for business purposes.

· Strengthen the Local Economy: Businesses that produce, process, distribute, and sell local and healthy food grow and thrive in Seattle.

· Prevent Food Waste: Food-related waste is prevented, reused, or recycled.

The Food Action Plan priorities were guided by input from the community and key stakeholders through a series of listening sessions in March. The Office of Sustainability and Environment, together with an interdepartmental team, reviewed strategic actions that the City of Seattle could take in our departments, programs, and policies to address those priorities. The Food Action Plan outlines these actions. The Food Action Plan builds on the work of the Local Food Action Initiative, passed in 2008.

Some highlights of the Action Plan include:

· Expanding the Farm to Childcare program, which brings healthy food from local farmers into childcare sites, trains child care providers on nutrition and cooking, and brings kids to local farms.

· Growing the successful P-Patch community gardening program, which will expand to 90 gardens throughout Seattle by 2013.

· Leasing underutilized City-owned land to urban farmers, who want to expand food production in Seattle.

· Providing technical assistance to neighborhood stores to improve profitability by increasing their selection of healthy foods.

· Continuing to implement the Zero Waste Strategy, including establishing composting at municipal facilities.

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