EPA, USDA to support local food initiative, community revitalization in the Skyway-West Hill neighborhood near Seattle
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, is announcing new technical assistance to help the Skyway-West Hill neighborhood in unincorporated King County, Washington, and 12 other communities nationwide to develop local food system and neighborhood revitalization strategies.
The assistance is provided through Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP), a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in their neighborhoods and improve quality of life for all residents as they develop the local food economy.
Michelle Pirzadeh, EPA Acting Regional Administrator in Seattle, is pleased to announce the agency’s newest community investment in the Pacific Northwest. “Local Foods, Local Places is a special opportunity to bring federal and local partners and stakeholders together to support community efforts to increase access to healthy food, boost the local economy, and protect our shared environment,” Pirzadeh said.
Each selected LFLP community will work with a team of federal, state, and regional experts to address local agricultural, environmental, public health, economic development, and equity issues. Together, they will develop a community-led action plan to strengthen the local food system and spur revitalization of often-overlooked neighborhoods in the community.
This year, LFLP will assist the Urban Food Systems Pact, a collaborative effort to develop a local foods strategy to benefit the Skyway-West Hill neighborhood and residents in unincorporated King County. The Urban Food Systems Pact collaborative partners include the Renton Innovation Zone Partnership, New Birth Center for Community Inclusion, The Dare2Be Project, The Silent Task Force, Renton School District, King County, Washington State University-King County Extension, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
LFLP assistance will advance key components of the Urban Food Systems Pact, including development of a community-led local food strategy for residents that will utilize vacant lands for a Farmers Market supporting black, indigenous and people of color; establish community gardens; promote a Hunger-to-Health community food education initiative; coordinate among several food pantries; create Edible School yard project and improve food waste recycling. This initiative will be hosted under the Skyway Resource Center, a HUD Envision Center.
Ryan Quigtar, Executive Director of the Renton Innovation Zone Partnership, appreciates the collaborative support for a healthier and vibrant community. “The Local Food, Local Places partnership with EPA is another great example of how federal and local agencies can work together with the community to meet their needs. Our community will benefit greatly from the work of the Urban Food Systems Pact because of their community-centered approach and broad experience.”
Since its launch in 2014, LFLP has assisted more than 125 communities across the country to develop local food enterprises, such as farmers markets, community gardens, cooperative grocery stores, and food hubs that improve environmental, economic, and health outcomes. The 13 partner communities being announced today were selected from 97 applicants. For more information about Local Foods, Local Places and the communities selected in 2021, visit: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places.
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EPA’s Region 10 serves communities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 271 tribal nations. Learn more about EPA’s work in the Pacific Northwest at: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-10-pacific-northwest.
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