SEATTLE - Since the start of the pandemic the number of people who don't have enough food to eat in our state has more than doubled.
Tilth Alliance, a local nonprofit organization, is stepping up to help families and farmers in the community who are struggling during these tough times.
Tilth Alliance and their community partners not only grow fresh produce at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands in Seattle; they give away the fresh and local produce to the community.
The nonprofit organization is also helping farmers across Washington through their Eat Local First Washington online directory.
The new directory allows Washington farmers the chance to showcase their products on one website.
“We know in these unprecedented times that Washington State residents are looking for local farm products more than ever,” says Sheryl Wiser, Tilth Alliance's Farm Guide Program Director.
The site allows Washington residents to search for local food, farms, and farmers markets, no matter where they live in the state.
“If the consumer is searching for food and they’re in Whatcom County it will help them find farms in Whatcom County and also have some content on what agriculture does in Whatcom County,” said Melissa Spear, the Executive Director of Tilth Alliance.
As food distribution continues to be disrupted across the country because of COVID-19, farmers are looking at other avenues to sell their products in order to survive.
“It is really gaining direct access being able to sell online. The consumer can order food, pick it up, or some farms are delivering to replace the loss of the restaurant market and school market,” said Spear.
With more families unable to afford fresh food right now the organization says their food assistance programs have seen a substantial increase in customers.
“Our farm stand launched in June and we have seen a line every week since we opened,” said Kerri Cacciata, Tilth Alliance’s Markets Program Director. “We are seeing about 75% of our customers repeat every week.”
Tilth Alliance also operates it’s “pay what you can” farm stand every Thursday from 2pm-7pm at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands in Seattle.