Featured Programs & Activities
Advocating for Access to Healthy Food for All in Kittitas County

The Food Access Coalition of Kittitas County advocates for consistent access to healthy food and understanding of nutrition for all the county's residents. Food insecurity in the county is increasing. Each month in 2008, about 1,500 people used three

Mission Statement

To advocate for all people of Kittitas County to have consistent access to healthy food and an understanding of nutrition by promoting and developing local programs and partnerships.

Preliminary Goals

Increase the availability of, usage of, and access to fresh foods (with a focus on local food banks)

Support infrastructure of local food access programs

Identify community needs, assets, and resources

Education about nutrition

Outreach and publicity

local food banks, 2700 people received food stamps, and over 700 WIC clients received benefits. There were also many food insecure families in Kittitas County who did not receive any assistance.

The Food Access Coalition emerged from several directions. Shape Up project staff and a local food bank began discussions about how to increase fresh produce donations and make food bank distributions healthier. At the same time community gardens were growing in popularity and several plots were dedicated to food bank donations. In 2007 the Food Access Coalition formed with members representing several food banks, relief organizations, and public health. They met monthly, educated one another about their respective organizations and concerns, assessed their strengths and resources, established a mission statement and goals for the coalition, launched projects and continued to grow. Together they worked to build awareness and support for community gardens and food banks. Coalition members visited food banks in Kittitas and neighboring counties to better understand existing operations and explore ideas for improvements. They advocated on behalf of a large local food bank that subsequently was able to move to new space allowing more storage for fresh perishable foods.

In March 2009, eighteen participants came together to review the Food Access Coalition mission and progress, celebrate successes, make improvements, and re-focus priorities for the future. Ongoing efforts of the Food Access Coalition include:

  • supporting community gardens and campaigning to encourage donations of fresh produce from community and home gardens to several local food banks
  • linking local farmers and Central Washington University for a student gleaning project to increase fresh produce at local food banks
  • conducting outreach and education at the Kittitas County Farmers’ Market

Partners

Partners include WSU Master Gardeners, WSU Extension 4H, FISH Food Bank, Heifer International, HopeSource (Upper County Food Bank), WIC, Central Washington University, St. Andrew’s Community Garden, Ellensburg Youth & Community Center, Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN), Kittitas County Public Health Department

Evaluation

The Coalition reviews ongoing activities and progress updates at monthly meetings. Plans for a community food assessment are under consideration. 

Target Audience

Individuals and families

Region

Kittitas County

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