Faith in food for Seattle’s Central District

clean greens farm
photo credit Camille Dohrn

Seattle’s newest farm to table operation, complete with a 22-acre vegetable farm in Duvall, wasn’t started by chefs in Capitol Hill. It wasn’t built by a farming collective in Ballard or a community co-op in Fremont. G.R.E.A.N. House Coffee & Cafe was started in the Central District by Reverend Robert Jeffrey Sr. and the New Hope Gospel Mission. Why? Because as the Reverend put it, “food is literally killing people.”

After health complications put Reverend Jeffrey in the hospital in 2007, he decided to create a solution in his own neighborhood. “Growing up in a family of sixteen children, we were very poor. I developed a kinship with those struggling with poverty early on, I guess I never lost that feeling,” said Jeffrey in a Clean Greens video. “People can use their collective strength to do something about their economic situation and one of those vehicles ultimately became food.” Their mission is about more than just a farmer’s market and restaurant. Its designed to help inspire and uplift an entire community.

tommyborder
photo credit Camille Dohrn

Growing everything from beets, carrots and squash, to pumpkins, radishes and a bouquet of different greens, the program is giving the neighborhood new access and appreciation for local, sustainable food. The farm bringing’s a new generation of community members to the land every week. While volunteers get their hands dirty they’re learning about crops, soil and have a richer understanding of where their food comes from. But more than that, they are building a stronger community through a CSA program, local food donations to vulnerable neighbors, and offer lower prices that  working families can afford. New Hope and Clean Greens Farm are quietly shifting the Central District from a food desert, to a model for strong healthy communities.

sampling the veggies
photo credit Scott Royder

Supporting two markets and a CSA program, the organization is also working towards becoming financially self sustaining. Previously working solely from grants, donations and volunteers, New Hope opened up G.R.E.A.N. in February. The Reverend hopes the cafe will soon provide enough money to move the entire farm off of donations.

The cafe has a hometown feel, like a neighbor inviting you over for lunch. Solar retrofitted roof and all, this operation is a standard bearer on how to use healthy sustainable agriculture to empower communities.

The group’s former CSA director Roger Jeffrey put it best in a Clean Greens Farm video; “we have to get back to real community, and I think the key to that is finding common ground, the way we do that is through food.”

 

Funding Available for Northwest Food and Farming Businesses

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We are pleased to announce the opening of the application period for the  Cascadia Foodshed Funding Project.  This project brings together a unique group of foundations and investors who are seeking to create a positive impact through a combination of grants, equity, loans and assistance to food and farming businesses in Oregon and Washington.  Up to five separate investments of between $25,000 and $250,000 are expected in 2014.Candidates for investment should be:
  • located in or provide substantial benefit to Whatcom, King, or Pierce counties; Eastern Washington; or Multnomah County in Oregon;
  • improve measures of health, social equity, family wage employment, and rural community resilience;
  • seeking funding of $25,000 to $250,000.
We will accept applications until February 28, 2014, and deploy funds on a rolling basis throughout the year. All applications will be received through Slow Money Northwest’s Gust portal at https://gust.com/organizations/slow-money (select food/drink as your industry). Your application should include at a minimum:
  1. Your business plan in enough detail to show how this investment will help you succeed;
  2. Financials, past and projected, that match your business plan and funding need;
  3. Your funding need, and how it will help accomplish your business goals; and
  4. A statement of benefit (500 words maximum) describing how your enterprise can help improve one or more of the following impact areas: Health, Social Equity, Family Wage Job Creation and Preservation, Rural Community Resilience, and Ability to Influence Policy.  For more detail on the impact areas,click here.
We will review applications and reply within 30 days with our initial response. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about the project or application process.
Email: cascadia@slowmoneynw.org
Phone: Japhet Koteen at 206-326-9828.

Rockefeller Reports

The Rockefeller Foundation has been investigating the Social and Economic Equity in US Food and Agriculture Systems. As part of this work they have generated a series of intriguing reports with the most relevant beingBridging the Gap: Funding and Social Equity Across the Food System Supply Chain. As explained at their website, “This report examines the current state of funding for addressing the problems in the food system and promotes the goals and the vision for a healthier food system. It analyzes where capital is flowing and where it is not flowing, and what kinds of approaches are needed to increase the flow and effectiveness of capital where gaps currently exist. RSF Social Finance, a Slow Money ally, managed the report. View the report …

Job Opportunities at Angelic Organics

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Angelic Organics, a farm incubator and training program in Caledonia, Illinois, has two openings for motivated organic farm professionals.

Half-time Farm Finance Program Coordinator to help beginning farmers improve the economic viability of their farms through increased access to capital and financial products as well as supporting farmers in building business and financial management skills.

 

Go to http://www.learngrowconnect.org/ for more information and to apply.

Biodiversity

Although industrial agriculture sounds easier, is it really? Is it easier harming the biodiversity of our planet just to produce livestock and crops on a large scale basis? To me, Sustainable Agriculture is the right choice and can keep up with the rapid growth of the global human population. Knowing your food was grown in a clean and humane way is very reassuring to anyone. Biodiversity is what the human life depends on and if we continue with our ways will our demise soon follow?
Work Cited:
1.) Practicial Steps to Preserve Barnyard Diversity: CGIAR, September 2007
2.) Farm Animal Diversity Under Threat: Beurkle, Teresa, June 2007http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2007/1000598/index.html
3.) Factory Farming and Industrial Agriculture: April 3, 2009http://www.sustainabletable.org/2009/04/factory-farming/
4.) What is Sustainable Agriculture? April 3, 2009
5.) Life on Earth- The Importance of Biodiversity: April 10, 2010http://youthink.worldbank.org/issues/environment/life-earth-importance-biodiversity
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