King County 'Kitchen Cabinet' to grow local farms



Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 23 at 7:43 PM

SEATTLE -- Drought across the West is raising the cost of food. That's one reason some local groups believe now is the time to cultivate a much larger, local food supply.

King County on Monday announced a new project to put more green on the table and in farmers' pockets.

King County government and business leaders had fresh produce on their table; then they announced a team that will try to get more of it on yours.

“Two million of us and more now spend nearly six billion dollars every year on food, but less than two percent of that goes to food grown and produced in King County. Two percent," said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

That's not enough to keep some small local farms afloat and not enough to persuade a new generation to pursue a living off the land.

Constantine introduced his new cabinet of food experts Monday - his so called “Kitchen Cabinet” to try to make local food easier to produce and eat.

One strategy is to grow a program the county planted last year. It combined business and county money to buy open spaces and preserve them for farming.

The first acquisition was an old golf course, but just turning fairways to farm fields is not enough.

Farming isn't easy, it's tough. Like many businesses, it's about a four-year period before one can even expect to see a return.

So after Monday's news conference at Pike Place Market, the executive and his kitchen cabinet sat down at the table to find the best path from the local farm to your table.

The group is hoping to capitalize on rapidly growing public interest in shifting from imported to local food.