City of Seattle’s Food Equity Fund Invests $1 Million in Community-Initiated Projects

Young Women Empowered Grow Summer interns standing with produce they grew and harvested to share with the local food bank

The City of Seattle has awarded $1,000,318 to support community-led projects through the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Food Equity Fund. Nineteen community groups will receive awards ranging from $10,500 to $75,000 to advance projects that increase equitable access and opportunities to grow, learn about, and/or eat healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant foods.  

“To be One Seattle, neighbors across the City need access to fresh, healthy, culturally relevant food,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “The Food Equity Fund is a core resource for ensuring food access, as well as an excellent way to expand community food production opportunities and knowledge.”

The Food Equity Fund was developed in 2021 in response to recommendations from the Sweetened Beverage Tax Community Advisory Board to increase investments in community work led by those most impacted by food and health inequities: Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, immigrants, refugees, low-income individuals, families with young children, youth, and elders. It is funded by the Sweetened Beverage Tax (SBT) and, in 2021, also received $750,000 in funding from the Equitable Communities Initiative Task Force.

“We are thrilled and grateful to receive the Food Equity Fund award this year. This funding will support our youth in disrupting racism and injustice in dominant food systems by meeting our own community needs – growing food at Marra Farm in South Park, composting, building container gardens, crafting plant medicine, and preserving our harvest to share with Y-WE youth and families as well as the South Park community.”
– Neli Jasuja, Program Manager at Young Women Empowered (Y-WE)

The Food Equity Fund is comprised of two tiers. Tier 1 grants have a maximum award amount of $75,000 for projects that take between 3 to 12 months to complete. Tier 1 applications were open October 1 – December 7, 2021. Tier 2 grants have a maximum award amount of $150,000, and cover projects that span from 15 to 24 months. Tier 2 grant applications will be open March 1 – April 30, 2022.

To learn more about the Food Equity Fund visit:  http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/food-equity-fund-

The following community organizations will receive Food Equity Fund awards for Tier 1 of the 2022 funding cycle:

2022 Food Equity Fund Awards – Tier 1

$75,000 to Black Dollar Days Task Force for Clean Greens Farm and Market, to plant, nurture, and harvest an estimated seven tons of organic produce to be distributed at the Clean Greens Farm Stand. The project will also provide a youth agriculture training program for inner-city youth to learn about farm, agriculture, and sustainability careers. Clean Greens Farm Stand is located in the Central District and supports Black and Brown communities citywide.

$75,000 to Black Farmers Collective for Building BIPOC Food Sovereignty in Seattle, to support contracts with Black and Brown people to teach skill sharing lessons covering topics like the processing and preservation of food and medicine grown at the farm. The project will focus on Yes Farm, part of the Black Farmers Collective’s urban farming efforts in the Central District and Yesler Terrace.

$75,000 to Central Area Senior Center for Let’s Talk Food, a project centered around the role of food in society, including culture, history, health, and sustainability. Activities will be geared toward African American and African immigrant communities in Seattle and will include a quarterly meal series with Black restaurant owners and caterers and medically accurate information about the relationship between diet and health.

$75,000 to Eritrean Association for weekly grocery deliveries and healthy, culturally relevant meals at the Eritrean Community Center. Both the grocery items and the meals will be available to low-income, non-English speaking, immigrant and refugee seniors facing food insecurity.

$75,000 to Hip Hop is Green for Cherry Street Farm Community Kitchen and Lab, for training programs at a commissary kitchen that will be built at Cherry Street Farm. The internship opportunities will be made available to 100 predominately Black, Native, and Latinx youth between the ages of 16-20.

$75,000 to Young Women Empowered (Y-WE) for Y-WE Grow, to provide farming and food justice education to 50 young women ages 13-26 participants and 10 adult mentors on Marra Farm. Youth-grown food and activities from this program will also benefit additional youth and adult community members in South Park.

$60,000 to Food Empowerment Education Sustainability Team (FEEST) to produce weekly virtual meetings to educate low-income youth in South Seattle about nutrition and the importance of healthy eating. The program will serve BIPOC and immigrant youth ages 14-18 in Delridge, Rainier Beach, and Roxhill-Highland Park.

$53,000 to City Fruit for City Fruit’s Harvest Program, to continue harvesting local, organic fruit to serve low-income families and individuals experiencing food insecurity. The organization distributes produce to 25 local food banks and Free Fruit for All farmstands in food deserts like Delridge and White Center.

$53,000 to Kandelia to distribute weekly food bags and provide food related resources to hundreds of individuals and families facing food insecurity. The program will serve recently arrived refugee and immigrant families citywide with a focus on Columbia City, Beacon Hill, and South Park.

$53,000 to Rainier Beach Action Coalition for Rainier Beach Farm Stand to support those experiencing food insecurity in the neighborhood. The stand, placed adjacent to the Rainier Beach Light Rail station, will provide distribution space for both farmers and local food businesses and help connect immigrants, refugees, and Black and Brown communities to fresh food.

$53,000 to Ta’alem Community Center to deliver fresh, healthy community meals and nutrition education to BIPOC youth. The program will serve East African immigrant families and youth in Columbia City, Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill, Hillman City, Mt. Baker, and New Holly.

$50,000 to Tilth Alliance to seed source, grow, and distribute edible plant starts and produce to immigrants, refugees, low-income families, and BIPOC communities in South Seattle. The program will provide stipends to Youth Stewards and East African Elders to seed and cultivate the plants, provide field management, and harvest the crops. Produce will be distributed through a pay-as-you-go farm stand and through the free U-pick site at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm.

$40,508 to Percussion Farms and Preserves for Healing Harvest Collective, to support weekly work parties in public gardens growing food for Byrd Barr Place and to provide both in-person and virtual classes on growing culturally relevant foods in small spaces. The classes will focus on serving BIPOC immigrants, refugees, youth, and elders in Beacon Hill, Central District, and South Park.

$40,000 to Build Lake City Together for The Market at Lake City Square, a year-round, indoor farmer’s market that will provide free fruits and vegetables and culturally relevant prepared foods to low-income, immigrant, and BIPOC residents in Lake City. Produce for the market will be primarily sourced from BIPOC farmers and will be free during set market hours.

$40,000 to Casa Latina for Casa Café, to develop and provide 12 weeks of food service training to 30 job insecure Latino immigrants. Students of the training will use skills learned to provide free culturally relevant meals to participants at the organization’s Day Worker Center.

$37,500 to Cham Refugees Community for Healthy Communities (CHAMpions), to distribute free, culturally relevant food to seniors, share nutritious recipes, and host community workshops on healthy eating and living. Food will be distributed through the Cham Refugees food pantry and will support recently arrived Cham immigrants and refugees in South Seattle.

$30,000 to Queer the Land for Queer the Land x Sovereign Roots, a collaboration that will provide both food items and food education to underserved communities. The outreach will focus on the organizations’ network of Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities in Central, South, and West Seattle neighborhoods.

$29,800 to American Polynesian Organization to provide weekly hot meals and quarterly nutrition education opportunities. The meals and classes will help increase access to nutritious, culturally relevant food, and promote a healthy lifestyle for American Polynesian seniors in Rainier Valley, Rainier Beach, Seward Park, and Mount Baker.

$10,510 to Freeway Park Association for Meals in Freeway Park, to purchase and distribute free meals and drinks at the park every week throughout 2022. The meals will be served to people experiencing homelessness who use Freeway Park as a place of shelter.