2 efforts to get local people better food, for better lives

May 24, 2008 7:42 am
|    Comments Off on 2 efforts to get local people better food, for better lives
 |   Delridge | How to help | West Seattle news


That photo is courtesy of Aviva with Community Harvest of West Seattle, which held its first container-vegetable-growing class at White Center Food Bank (which serves part of southern West Seattle) on Wednesday. Aviva sent us this report, including something you can do to help future classes like this:

Participants learned that with a sunny deck or patio, fresh vegetables could be grown and harvested our their back doors. Lettuce Link and West Seattle’s Backyard Greenhouse provided starts ranging from common leaf lettuce to exotic raddichio. Containers and soil were donated by individuals and local businesses (West Seattle Nursery, Junction True Value). We hope that this class improves access to the 5-a-day and increases self-reliance in obtaining healthy foods. We hope to continue this program and are soliciting donations of pots (1-5 gallon) – plastic or other lightweight material. For more info: info@gleanit.org

And as we mentioned Wednesday night, a big effort to improve local access to not only healthy food but more fitness options is under way in the form of the King County Food and Fitness Initiative, with Delridge/White Center as an area of emphasis. Wednesday night’s update came with a brainstorming session at the monthly Delridge District Council meeting; read on for the latest:

Later this morning, as part of the Food and Fitness Initiative, a Grocery Audit will be under way in the Delridge/White Center area, to gather information on what’s available, and where, at area stores. It’s just one puzzle piece putting together a bigger picture of assessing the challenges ahead in making sure area residents have better access to fresh, healthy food … and more.

Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association executive director Derek Birnie led the Food and Fitness Initiative discussion at Wednesday night’s meeting. The push right now is to get a community plan by early next year, to implement over the ensuing 8 years. And the stakes are high — for one, he said, the Delridge area has a higher rate of diabetes-related mortality than any other neighborhood in King County.

Pete Spalding, who serves on the West Seattle Food Bank board of directors as well as chairing the Delridge District Council, noted that food banks are facing a challenge right now in serving clients — WSFB, he said, is spending more than double what it had to spend a year earlier, because of rising costs of food and fuel.

But Delridge wasn’t chosen as a Food and Fitness Initiative focus area just because of the problems to be solved, but also because of its track record of collaboration.

And collaboration is what the Wednesday night brainstorming was all about — with ideas thrown out for possible inclusion in the community plan, such as:

*Delridge-area farmers’ market?
*Reviving nutrition education in schools (something like the olden-days “home economics”)
*Offering high-school students the opportunity to do their required “community service time” in activities related to the Food and Fitness Initiative
*Horticulture classes for kids/teens
*Increasing awareness of walkable local trails such as the Longfellow Creek Trail

… and many other ideas. Look for more chances to participate in KCFFI planning discussions in the months to come; read up on what it’s all about by checking out the website at kcffi.org.

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