Local Food Security at a Land Trust's New Home Community

King County, Washington

Homestead Community Land Trust, a local Seattle-based non-profit housing developer, retained MetroAG Strategies to complement the work of its design and development team as they create and sell two dozen affordable, net-zero energy cottage homes set to displace a community garden. The South King County project currently hosts a thriving one-acre garden that supports a group of low-income immigrant families with healthy food options for themselves and their neighbors.

Homestead saw the potential loss this community asset as tragic. They understood the value of current food production on-site and hired MetroAG Strategies to envision opportunities that would sustain and re-create this asset on the overall project site. Homestead exercised foresight and a true community-focused vision by asking us to look comprehensively at continuing on-site food growing. MetroAG combined expertise in site planning and community garden program development, also bringing extensive professional and community networks working to improve food access and local food systems.

Through our work, MetroAG identified issues and solutions that would create success. These included:

  • Garden relocation: we recommended specific timing, a scope of work, and identified partnerships to relocate, reestablish, and enhance community connections to the gardens;
  • Entitlements: we researched issues and recommended detailed land use regulatory measures that would support on-site food production in a proposed Development Agreement between Homestead and the City of Tukwila;
  • Regional and Funding Partnerships: we identified strategies to leverage regional and local initiatives to enhance local food access and security; and
  • Envisoned a Food Hub: building on precedent knowledge and an inventory of local stakeholders, articulated a creative concept and strategic next steps to develop an integrated food hub for a constellation of related programs and providers.

This highly diverse, low-income area is rich with many immigrant and ethnic communities– the 3,000-student public school population speaks 80 world languages. Yet 80% of the students are eligible for free and reduced lunch. Our work provided a detailed roadmap to assure the ongoing availability of an important food security resource.

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