- Supporting local farmers & local food diversity will be increasingly important in an economic crisis, as energy prices rise, as our climate continues to change, and as our food supply continues to become threatened by a loss of biodiversity.
- Eating local food also allows you to have more power as a consumer to monitor where your food comes from, and how it is grown and raised.
- If you eat seasonally, you will reduce the amount of energy used to store your food.
- If you eat organically, you will reduce the amount of energy, pesticides, and herbicides used in growing your food. This has benefits for your health as well as the climate, our food and water supplies, and the natural environment.
- If you eat locally, you will reduce the amount of energy it takes to transport your food.
- The flavors and nutrients of local and seasonal food are generally much richer and more complex. Which has health benefits, and also just makes eating much more pleasurable!
- If you grow your own or you purchase from local farmers, you may discover many varieties of different vegetables and fruits you’ve never heard of.
- When you buy from local farmers and grocers, your money remains within our local economy. Generally, your money will remain within our local economy much longer as it passes from that farmer to the local hardware store or the local feed store, and beyond. Whereas when you buy from a national or international chain, generally your money leaves our local economy as soon as it leaves your hands. In addition, more of your money goes directly to local farmers, so that they receive more of a living wage.
- A relationship with local food producers and sellers makes your family more resilient and adaptable in an economic crisis. Maybe one week you won’t have the money to pay for your produce, but a local farmer may just accept a barter for something you can offer him or her in exchange. And maybe some day a drought hits California, or an oil crisis makes trucking produce too expensive. By supporting our local economies now, we will have these systems in place when we really need them, and we will be able to support one another during difficult times.
- Buying from local people encourages important personal connections within our community. We can learn so much about our local region, by searching for local food providers. What joy it is to talk with a local farmer about her particular variety of greens, to learn from another farmer about a new way to protect your tomatoes during heavy rains, or to discuss a new law that may be passed that will affect our local food supply. The stories that come from these interactions make our lives so much happier, healthier, and more beautiful.
And lastly, it is important to remember that while some things may seem slightly more expensive to buy locally and organically, in the end, eating locally, seasonally, and organically is much less costly to our community; our air, water, energy, and natural environment; and the safety of our children’s food supply. We can reduce economic costs by shopping only for seasonal local produce, and by growing whatever we can in our own yards.
Where To Find Local Food
- Farmer’s Markets: Our own Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market is open every Sunday, 11am – 3pm, year-round! It’s located on E Denny Way between Broadway & 10th Ave E. For other Seattle neighborhood farmer’s markets, visit the Neighborhood Farmer’s Market Alliance and Seattle’s European-Style Markets.
- Locally-owned Groceries: Central Coop (formerly Madison Market) is a community-owned co-op serving our neighborhood for 30 years.
- CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture – generally a farm you buy into so that you receive produce from it each week). Please consult Local Harvest or Puget Sound Fresh to find a CSA near you.
- Local Farms and Farm Stands: Many local farms sell their produce directly and/or have more inexpensive u-pick services. You can locate local farms by visiting Eat Wild – Washington, Local Harvest, Puget Sound Fresh, Cascade Harvest, and Washington Tilth Association. The Organic Consumers Association also has a wonderful resource for local farm news.
- Produce Stands: There are several produce stands located throughout Seattle area, where several farmers sell their goods to a central produce seller. Currently Capitol Hill does not have a produce stand, but check out Local Harvest to find one in other Seattle neighborhoods.
- Restaurants and Cafes Serving Locally-produced Food: Capitol Hill restaurants serving local food include Volunteer Park Cafe, Lark, and Molly Moon. There are many restaurants in nearby Seattle neighborhoods serving locally-sourced foods. Resources for finding them include: From the Heart of Washington, NWSource, Chowhound – Pacific Northwest Forum, The Stranger, and Puget Sound Fresh. The Organic Consumers Association also has an amazing new database for finding local organic food and other products.
- Gather Wild Foods like wild berries, greens, nuts, herbs, and other edibles. Note: make sure you know what you are picking – if you aren’t absolutely sure what it is, do not eat it! Sustainable Capitol Hill occasionally has Backyard Herb Walks led by a local Naturopathic Physician – please check our calendar [link] for upcoming events.
- Grow Your Own Food: In your own backyard, a community p-patch, a friend’s garden, or a family member’s garden. Please see our Gardening Resources page for more information!
- Barter with Other Gardeners: Trade apples from your tree for lettuce from his garden, for example. Or even barter for a service, if you don’t grow food of your own – can you help prune or pick apples on the tree, or bake a pie, or help build something for your neighbor? Check out Backyard Barter for coming events.
- Food Banks and Meal Services: If you are in need of extra food, don’t be afraid to use this service if you need it – it’s very important for you and your children to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and that’s what the system is set up for! Local food banks and meal delivery services often receive donations of fresh, locally grown produce from the P-Patch program, local gardeners, and local farmers. Programs serving Capitol Hill residents include: Jewish Family Service Food Bank (food bank serving zip codes 918121, 98122, 98101, 98112), University District Food Bank (food bank serving zip codes 98102, 98103, 98105, 98112, 98115, and 98125), Lifelong AIDS Alliance Chicken Soup Brigade (serving people with HIV/AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses), Community Lunch on Capitol Hill (hot lunches served), and DSHS Capitol Hill Community Services Office. For more Seattle resources, please contact Northwest Harvest.
You can find additional information about local food resources from Capitol Hill blogs like Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.