F2T Work Continues To Increase Healthy Food Access in Underserved Communities

Continued from Spring 2012 Newsletter

For the last 18 months, the Puget Sound Food Network has played a key role in a public health partnership led by City of Seattle Human Services Aging and Disability Services called Farm to Table (F2T) project.  PSFN played a critical role in introducing locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables to childcare and meal sites catering to underserved seniors and youngsters in South King County. The partnership was funded through a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant program from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
PSFN was originally tasked with facilitating 3 orders of fresh, locally grown produce between local farms and institutional meal sites during the grant period, but we accomplished much more:
  • Almost 200 commercial orders and additional CSA subscriptions placed by senior and child care meal programs
  • $35K in sales (including culls and seconds) to local farms
  • More than 35 meal sites incorporated farm fresh produce into meals- and still growing!
  • 12 PSFN member farms participated (and we’re looking for more!)
The Farm to Table team not only created the connections and tracked sales, it also played a key role in creating multiple customized models to serve diverse agencies:
  • Low-minimum commercial delivery: direct from farm for individual meal sites, and through DUCK delivery for Catholic Community Services, which serves a more populous clientele at more dispersed meal sites
  • A customized CSA model for childcare for in-home child care operations through the King County Housing Authority and Youth and Family Empowerment Program
  • A customized CSA model for city-funded child care centers, wherein child care centers can serve as community drop-points for neighborhood CSA pickup
  • And, most recently, we piloted our Good Food Bags program, the first in a series of food aggregation and cooperative purchasing models for communities, and an easily replicable model. Watch this video to learn more!

Now that we have reached the end of the CPPW funding, we are transitioning our Farm to Table project into a more comprehensive outreach program, funded by the Value-Added Producers Grant (VAPG) program.

Through the expanded Farm to Table project, we will maintain existing partnership and purchasing relationships created through under CPPW funding, while reaching out to, and expanding the project among, new groups and institutions serving lower income communities.

To support these existing and emerging relationships, we are in the process of building a Farm to Table Online Store (powered by Local Orbit), which will technologically support the purchasing relationships formed between farmers and meal providers through F2T. Through this online tool, participating farmers can sell produce and goods directly to partner meal-sites that serve meals to low-income seniors and preschool aged children throughout South King County and beyond.  Only existing F2T meal-sites and PSFN approved farms will be able to use the store for transactions. PSFN and Local Orbit staff are currently preparing the private online store for opening in May.

Stay tuned, we look forward to sharing more updates about the Farm to Table continuation activities soon!

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