Our Blog

Growing Homes with a Land Trust: Supporting Community with Good Food

A Seattle-based non-profit organization retained MetroAG Strategies to complement the work of its real estate design and development team. The development project will create about two dozen affordable, net-zero energy, cottages for sale on a parcel of land currently owned by a church. The site currently hosts a thriving community garden that supports a handful of low-income immigrant families with healthy food options for themselves and their neighbors.

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Transforming the Built Environment with Food

"Empowering people through education to transform the built environment for long term sustainability." Wow!, Northwest Ecobuilding Guild’s powerful words set the tone for our presentation at the Guild's annual “Slam and Summit,” the northwest's pre-eminent green...

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Thoughts on Healthy Communities

The inner world is in our mind. Our outer or human experience is where and how we exist, interact and observe others, gather news, spend our time, and be in the world. The mind is the harbinger of mental health. Can the environment we live in impact our mental health?...

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How Does Your Neighborhood Score?

I live in a great city-the Emerald City- Seattle, Washington. Living here 32 years is more than half my life.  I started life as a New Englander, growing up in a Connecticut suburban town with a couple elementary school years in Buffalo, college in Schenectady, New...

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Rhubarb-the quintessential spring food

With anticipation I await rhubarb's full bouquet--deep green dinner-plate sized leaves atop fibrous stalks ranging in color from bright chartreuse green to brilliant pink--spreading close to a yard across. Its arrival is evidence that spring is here. Even before there...

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Taste Wheat: Cereal Box Bakery

Imagine every Wednesday, before the sun rises, a bag of baked goods is delivered to your front doorstep. With anticipation you open the front door to retrieve  the large bag with a box and several smaller bags filled with delectable flavors. You first look for the...

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Elk Run Links to Farm

In the 1990’s the rage in real estate development was both stand alone and master planned community golf course construction. The Golf Club at Newcastle repurposed an old construction landfill with 36 links, a stunning club house, and outstanding views to Puget Sound...

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Artisanal Ingenuity–Tieton Farm & Creamery

Being an infrastructure nerd, I remember public works catastrophes. Ten years ago the City of Tieton, Washington‘s water system failed. Multiple water lines broke throughout the city. The State of Washington funded emergency repairs. The calamity was my first...

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Is Flooding Good for Farmland?

As with most any topic, the best answer is, “It depends.” Flooding can be beneficial and also devastating. Throughout history and up to today, food is often grown on lands adjacent to the mightiest rivers, think the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, Ganges, and Mississippi...

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Scandinavian Market Halls & Take-Away: it’s more than a re-translation of “take-out”

Our food choices and ways of eating when we travel can range from the intentional and experimental to serving the basic biological demand for calories. And as special places to both residents and visitors alike, market halls are notable features in the local food landscape. They can literally draw the physical pathways and powerful memories of an urban exploratory experience.

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My Backyard Harvest

My yard is brimming with food now always arriving in the hot, sultry, dog days of summer. I plant only what I can grow, nurture and produce successfully. I don't want failure. Gardening takes a lot of persistent, dedicated, focused work. Preparing the soil, pulling...

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The Secret Ingredient–It’s the Dirt

I am a "fruit-aholic". I love fruit. Even as a kid, I craved fruit--especially the summer fruits--strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums. The juiciness, the flavors, the short summer season so taste boredom never arrived--all reasons summer fruits satisfied...

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We All Eat: ULI Food Forum

From the Greatest Generation to Generation Z and the Baby Boomers and Millenials in between, we are all connected by one simple necessity--We All Eat! Some of us are Feeders--just putting food in our mouths to combat hunger, some of us are Eaters--being deliberate...

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Agritopia®–A Little Bit of Arizona Heaven

The first and only time I visited Phoenix was twenty-five years ago. All I remembered from that trip were endless strip malls, six-lane arterials, lots of double left-turn lanes, roads filled with cars, and cascading water fountains. The bubbling fountains at the...

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A Forum on Food and Real Estate: ULI in New Orleans

The Urban Land Institute asked “…how are innovative approaches to food … deliver[ing] healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable outcomes in cities and communities?” My first reaction was enthusiastically, “what a great question!” My appetite was whetted, enough...

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Reconnecting with Fresh Food

Summer brings my favorite foods. Succulent corn on the cob, pints upon pints of Hayton Farms strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, flame-roasted Hatch peppers, and lettuces all bigger than my head. My 5,000 square foot city lot just isn't big enough to grow many...

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Serenbe: An Innovative Community

Fulton County, Georgia is best known as the home of Atlanta, the 9th most populous U.S. metropolian area and Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the most traveled U.S. airport. North of downtown Atlanta is continuous suburbs, countless dead-ends and...

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The New Agri-hood

"I live next to a farm!" This can be said with enthusiasm and excitement or disappointment  and disgust. Living next to a farm can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. City folks want to move to the country, as they see it as idyllic and bucolic....

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Another Look at Food & Bridges

Just after the I-5 Skagit River bridge collapsed 2-1/2 years ago, I wrote a blog entitled Food & Bridges on how food and bridges are vital to a highly functioning society and neither gets the respect they deserve. We take the basic necessities of daily living, food,...

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Malting in the Skagit

Malting! As a kid, it meant malted milkshakes and Whoppers--malted milk covered in chocolate. Ugh! Whoppers were the rage in my Trick or Treat bag, but they tasted awful. Now I savor a malted drink--Hefeweizen--the German malted wheat beer of my heritage. I like...

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Baldor: Making Food Special

Food is special, as it fuels us to accomplish the mundane to the extraordinary. Without food, we are lackluster, lethargic, and lazy. But, eating just any old food calorie can starve us and even kill us, rather than nourish the body. Healthy food topics energize me in...

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Two Commercial-Scale Produce Hubs

Visualize fresh produce. Where do you see it? At the grocery store? On your plate? At your farmers market? At your local restaurant? At the farm? How do fresh fruits and vegetables leave the farm and show up on your plate? Food travels on average 1,500 miles from farm...

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The Land That Feeds Us: Skagit Valley

The answers are 91, 57, 7, 2, and less than 1. The questions are: What is the distance needed between seed crops? What percentage of the U.S. population are farmers? What is the average age of U.S. farmers? What percentage of U.S. production of fruits, nuts, and...

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An Agricultural-Residential Development Solution

Local produce heaven is now... asparagus, strawberries, cherries, snap peas; followed by string beans, cucumbers, basil, tomatoes, peaches; culminating with apples, corn, winter squash. What would make every food summer more perfect? Living in a community that grows,...

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Know Where Your Food Comes From

I was born before trucking in out-of-season foods was the norm and consequently grew up eating local foods. Granted we could get iceberg lettuce and citrus shipped in mid-winter from California or Florida, but our usual nightly dinner fare was frozen beans, peas, or...

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What is Sustainable Agriculture?

I am not a farmer, but care where my food comes from. I read labels to avoid unknown, unintelligible ingredients. I cannot feed myself with my gardening skills. Farmers grow my food and I have the utmost respect for the work the work they do. Each season farmers start...

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Food & Bridges

C-  is the report card grade for Washington State bridges given by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Seattle Section in the 2013 Report Card for Washington's Infrastructure. Bridge vulnerability was confirmed on May 23, 2013 with Interstate 5 collapsing...

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Oysters: The Indicator Species

Oysters on the half shell, the willingness to savor this gastronomic treat that I inherited from my parents. The slippery, mildly briny, sometimes sweet oyster, swallowed with a squeeze of lemon or a dollop of pungent, fresh horseradish is something I relish at the...

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Vulnerability of Agricultural: Kent Valley

Foodies and agricultural preservationists reminisce the vast acres of lush agricultural soils now covered by asphalt, shopping malls, aerospace giants, and warehouses in western Washington's Kent Valley. Historic Kent Valley For generations, the Kent Valley, with its...

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Ensuring Food Security: Wade’s Vision

Food and water are necessities.   If we don't have food to eat, we go hungry.  Hungry people are bad for society.  We take food for granted.   Setting the Stage: Puget Sound In Seattle we often live up to our reputation and it rains.  This December, it’s been cold...

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Nash’s Real Food from the Ground Up

I spoke to soil recently, receiving wisdom from the earth.  Nash Huber--iconic organic farmer--was speaking from depth of his soul on soil and our human connection to it through the food we eat.  My psyche was mesmerized by his words. Nash's Journey I consider myself...

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