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November 14, 2019

Sara Southerland, Food & Farming Director
Sustainable Connections
360.647-7093 x114

Bellingham Eat Local First expands to Puget Sound region

Sustainable Connections, located in Bellingham, Washington, is proud to announce a new partnership with Seattle-based nonprofit Tilth Alliance to bring the Eat Local First Campaign to the greater Puget Sound region.

Eat Local First is a collective marketing campaign that engages every part of the supply chain to promote locally grown, raised, harvested and made products with easily recognized branding and consumer education. The campaign was started by Sustainable Connections in 2011 and currently includes more than 130 businesses in Whatcom and Skagit counties. With the addition of Tilth Alliance and a group of organizations on the Olympic Peninsula spearheaded by The Local Food Trust, shoppers and diners around the region will start to see the Eat Local First brand popping up on restaurant menus, at farm stands and in grocery stores.

“We are thrilled to be able to work with Tilth Alliance and Olympic peninsula partners to share the Eat Local First campaign with more people throughout Washington State,” said Sara Southerland, Food & Farming Director of Sustainable Connections. “We have so many farmers in Washington, and there is so much variety in the food that they produce. Through this campaign partnership, we are excited to help our greater Puget Sound community be able to easily identify local products wherever they are eating and shopping!”

Local restaurants, retailers and other food-related businesses may participate in the campaign by contacting one of the partner nonprofits and signing the campaign pledge, which asks businesses to:

  1. Commit to sourcing ingredients or products from local producers every month.
  2. Make it a goal to work toward shifting 10% of their annual food budget to local sources.
  3. Actively promote local producers to their customers so that customers know when they are buying local.

Local farms, fishermen and food producers can participate in the campaign by utilizing campaign branding and marketing materials on their locally grown, raised, caught or made products.

One goal of the Eat Local First campaign is to help farmers sell more products to local buyers at restaurants, grocers and institutions, getting more local products into the places our community eats and shops. Sustainable Connections hosts an annual Food & Farm Business Conference – the Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting, as well as Farmer Chef Mixer events and an annual Chef Farm Tour to help facilitate these connections.

“Tilth Alliance has a long history of promoting local food and providing education to Washington’s farming community,” Melissa Spear, Executive Director of Tilth Alliance said. “The need for a campaign like this is certainly out there, and with such great partners, we think the Eat Local First campaign will be very effective at getting more locally grown food onto the plates of consumers.”

One way community members can get involved in the campaign is to seek out local products when eating out or shopping by looking for the Eat Local First logos and fork icon on restaurant menus and products.

To get involved or learn more, visit #eatlocalfirst #findthefork

Eat Local Sustainble Connection2

Sustainable Connections is a Bellingham-based nonprofit with a mission to create thriving communities through innovative ideas, collaboration, and action. The Food & Farming Program works to create a vibrant local food economy through supporting farmers, connecting buyers to farmers and food artisans, and encouraging our community to always Eat Local First!

Tilth Alliance is a nonprofit based in Seattle that works to build an ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially equitable food system. Tilth Alliance teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to grow, cook and eat nutritious food in ways that regenerate healthy ecosystems. They also offer hands-on learning experiences and provide training and resources to Washington state farmers.

The Local Food Trust is a nonprofit on the Olympic Peninsula whose mission is to strengthen and grow culture and community through investments at critical leverage points in local food systems. Other partners in the Olympic Peninsula effort include The Port Townsend Food Co-op, Jefferson County Farmers Markets, Olympic Culinary Loop, North Olympic Development Council, and Washington State University Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap Counties.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
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904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

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