Yesterday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn paid PSFN’s Farm to Table project partners his second visit this year! Mayor McGinn dropped by Beacon Hill Community Day School (of the Community Day School Association [CDSA], an Early Learning and Family Support [ELFS] ECEAP subsidized child care center), to witness the site’s third Farm to Table delivery of fresh produce from Full Circle. The Mayor first honored PSFN when he paid a lunchtime visit to a F2T senior center with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Kathleen Merrigan in early March.
Full Circle made the delivery of 5lbs of red radishes, 3lbs of salad mix, 3lbs of baby chard mix, 4lbs of baby arugula, and 1 case of baby mixed lettuce at 7:40 am. All of the produced was purchased – no donations here!
The students, a little perplexed by all the hubbub, asked, “What are all these people doing here?” After recognizing the Mayor, Chloe, one of the CDSA children commented, “I’ve got him on my radio in my car!” The students were excited to see Full Circle farmers Bill and Sabrina again, saying, “They’re ba-ack!” After a previous Full Circle visit, the children helped to make a cookbook, which they proudly showed Mayor McGinn yesterday.
The Mayor also took questions from the children including some about his favorite veggies. While he said it was hard to pick just one, some of his favorites include beans, kale, and tomatoes. He also mentioned that as a child in a family of six with a mother who was a teacher by trade, he was exposed to cooking at a young age, a hobby he still enjoys today. Another question came from a child who wanted to know if he was allowed to eat pie. Mayor McGinn replied that he also loved pie, especially when made with delicious fresh fruit! And that pie was ok every now and then as a special treat but probably not every day. …Wise words!
During the visit, Feng, the child center’s cook, used the produce to prepare the students’ morning snack: mini quiches with chard, accompanied by fruit and English muffins. The afternoon snack later included the radishes from that morning’s delivery. Ever tried radish chips? Yum! The children helped prepare their own snack by helping with slicing and baking!
ELFS launched its child care F2T pilot project March 23. Even though the child care sites began their pilot several months after senior center partners Senior Services, Catholic Community Services, and Chicken Soup Brigade began theirs, ELFS sites already account for over a third of all Farm to Table purchases. In addition, the ELFS sites have ordered 100% organic produce! An unexpected (and thrilling!) success of the pilot project is that several families of children who attend Beacon Hill CDSA have subscribed to Full Circle’s CSA program (as have some staff members of the center!), committing to receive a weekly box of fresh, whole, organic produce for their own homes!
Following the delivery, PSFN Project Manger Lucy Norris was invited to Rainier Community Center to participate in an exclusive roundtable discussion with the Mayor and King County Public Health regarding the City’s partnership with the federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant program which funds the Farm to Table Project. We appreciated this opportunity to meet with Mayor McGinn, Seattle & King County Public Health, industry reps and key individuals involved in CPPW Healthy Eating Active Living projects to discuss opportunities and challenges inherent to increasing healthy food access for lower-income communities. Jerry DeGrieck, Seattle’s Department of Human Services highlighted the Farm to Table project, specifically noting PSFN’s efforts in creating viable market opportunities for local farms to sell fresh produce directly to institutions which provide meals to children and senior citizens in underserved neighborhoods.
Working with ELFS and other city child care agencies has been a joy for PSFN. We hope to soon help launch a second child care pilot project connecting locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables with home-based (residential) childcare providers in underserved neighborhoods. ELFS and the King County housing Authority will be project partners.
Congratulations to all Farm to Table partners on yesterday’s success! For more photos of yesterday’s Mayoral visit, check out our Facebook page.