Food Bank Farms and Gardens

Food Bank Farms

Elk Run Farm: Elk Run Farm is currently growing produce that goes directly to those in the community who can least afford it and who live in areas where access to healthy food is limited. Staff is devoted to growing high quality produce for low-income families and has been making deliveries to the food banks of the South King County Food Coalition (SKCFC) since September 2016, donating over 400 pounds of food from only a half-length growing season. The farm is continually developing on-site infrastructure to create efficient growing systems and create community space. In addition to agricultural pursuits, Elk Run is committed to community engagement through volunteer opportunities, field trips and learning experiences for youth, and partnerships with regional organizations.

 

Vision: Everyone has equal access to vibrant, local food.

 

Mission: Elk Run Farm is a non-profit program growing produce that nourishes the bodies and spirits of food bank customers and empowers all people to build community around food in South King County.

 

Goals:

  • Output of healthy, diverse produce
  • Income generation
  • Sustainable workforce
  • Building a resilient food system
    • Growing appreciation, value, markets, and investments for local/healthy food

 

Food Bank Gardens

Many food banks in the South King County Food Coalition are already beginning (or have started) creating their own on-site food bank gardens. These small gardens are usually run by volunteers at the food banks to supplement the nutrition of food bank clients and demonstrate the benefits of small-scale urban agriculture. Most of the gardens consist of raised beds and have a very small output of produce, but they serve as flexible educational tools and add to the aesthetic of the site. Going beyond the traditional food bank “garden”, the Vashon-Maury Food Bank has even begun the process of creating their own small farm! While these gardens operate outside of the duties of the Harvest Against Hunger (HAH) VISTA, they are great resources for the food banks and for future Elk Run programs.

The current HAH VISTA is working with staff at the Des Moines Area Food Bank and the Washington State University Extension's Food $ense Program to create nutrition classes and small-scale gardening classes for food bank clients. The plan is to replicate these classes at other food banks in the coalition, using their gardens as demonstrations of successful urban agriculture and sustainability.


Elk Run Farm is a partnership between the 12 food banks of the South King County Food CoalitionSeattle-King County Public HealthWSU ExtensionHighline College and Auburn Mt. View High School that addresses inequitable access to healthy foods for low-income families while promoting sustainable urban agriculture and new markets for local produce.  Produce grown at Elk Run Farm, a former golf course, will be distributed through South King County food banks to those in the community who can least afford it and live in areas where access to healthy food is limited.

Besides growing good food, Elk Run Farm strives to include the populations it services in positive health outcomes through education and outreach. Partnering with local schools in Maple Valley, Kent, Auburn, etc., Elk Run Farm will directly address barriers to education, health, and success in the local youth community through onsite programming. By developing a farm that brings underutilized land into production and engaging at-risk youth in agriculture, Elk Run Farm will increase access to healthy food among limited-income communities.

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