We're pleased to announce that the Urban Food Systems Pact was selected to receive new technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, to help the Skyway neighborhood develop local food system and neighborhood revitalization strategies. Skyway is one of only 13 communities nationwide selected in 2021.
The assistance is provided through Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP), a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in their neighborhoods and improve quality of life for all residents as they develop the local food economy.
“The Local Food, Local Places assistance is a wonderful vehicle for continuing the food justice work that is happening in the Skyway Community,” says Cherryl Jackson-Williams, the Family and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Renton School District, and an Urban Food Systems Pact Core Team member. “Bringing a spotlight to the plight of the food system within this neighborhood and leveraging the expertise of individuals from the federal government to assist the Skyway Community, in partnership with the Skyway Envision Center, is such a wonderful opportunity. We are excited about it!”
Ryan Quigtar, the Executive Director of the Renton Innovation Zone Partnership and a member of the Urban Food Systems Pact Core Team, highlights the how this partnership will support our community-driven efforts. “The Local Food, Local Places partnership with EPA is another great example of how Federal and local agencies can work together with community to meet their needs. Our community will benefit greatly from the work of the Urban Food Systems Pact because of their community-centered approach and broad experience.”
“Local Foods, Local Places is a wonderful example of how federal and local partners can come together to support community efforts that build food systems, improve equitable access to healthy food, and bolster environmental protection efforts,” says Michelle Pirzadeh, EPA Acting Regional Administrator in Seattle, in announcing the agency’s newest community investment in Skyway. “I am excited to see how this community thrives over the next several years and how the positive effects ripple across the state.”
Through the Local Foods, Local Places program, Skyway residents and members of the Urban Food Systems Pact will work with a team of federal, state, and regional experts to address local agricultural, environmental, public health, economic development, and equity issues. Together, we will develop a community-led action plan to strengthen the local food system and spur new investments in things that the community wants and needs.
LFLP assistance will advance key components of the Urban Food Systems Pact, including development of a community-led local food systems plan to: utilize vacant lands to establish community gardens; launch a Farmers Market supporting black, indigenous and people of color; promote a Hunger-to-Health community food education initiative; coordinate among several food pantries; create Edible School yard project and improve food waste recycling.
Since its launch in 2014, LFLP has assisted more than 125 communities across the country to develop local food enterprises, such as farmers markets, community gardens, cooperative grocery stores, and food hubs that improve environmental, economic, and health outcomes. The 13 partner communities EPA announced were selected from 97 applicants. For more information about Local Foods, Local Places and all the communities selected in 2021, visit: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places.