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City of Seattle’s Food Equity Fund invests $2 million in 21 community-initiated projects

Photo credit: Young Women Empowered

The City of Seattle is investing $2,000,000 to support community-led projects through the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ (DON) Food Equity Fund General Grant. Twenty-one community groups will receive awards ranging from $49,688 to $100,000 to advance projects that increase equitable access and opportunities to grow, learn about, and/or eat healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant foods. The projects are varied and include food distribution, Indigenous food sovereignty gatherings, youth food justice cohorts, sustaining community farms, supporting food entrepreneurship, hosting intergenerational community dinners, Black-led early childhood cooking segments, and more.

“Partnerships with local cultural organizations are core to our One Seattle vision, leveraging City support and resources to help meet the unique needs of our diverse communities,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “We know that food insecurity remains high in our region which is why the Food Equity Fund is a critical investment in the health and wellbeing of our community, ensuring that every neighbor can access fresh, affordable, and culturally relevant foods.”

“We are honored to invest in these community-driven visions for creating access to culturally relevant food,” said Jenifer Chao, Director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. “These projects make it clear that the organizations and individuals leading this work know exactly what their communities need in order to thrive.”

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. The fund is supported by the Sweetened Beverage Tax. 

For 2023, approximately $2.3 million is available for funding through the Food Equity Fund and those funds are distributed through two grant programs: General Grant and Capacity Building Grant. The General Grants announced here have a maximum award amount of $100,000. Capacity Building Grants, which are currently open on a rolling basis through October 31, have a maximum award amount of $20,000 and are focused specifically on community organizations with annual budgets under $500,000.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods received 86 eligible applications for the 2023 General Grant, reflecting a total of $8 million in funding requests. The grant review process included community leaders with expertise in racial justice, food systems advocacy, and health disparities.

To learn more about the Food Equity Fund visit:

What Grantees Are Saying

“We are ecstatic to have been awarded funding from the 2023 Food Equity Fund. Since the beginning we’ve worked around food equity, bringing our community together through multicultural kitchens and other aspects of the food system in our center. These funds will open new opportunities and greatly contribute to our efforts of having our community design the project, using their untapped skills, and most importantly, leading their own future. ¡Si se puede!”

Peggy Hernández, Co-Director, Lake City Collective

“One of the strongest community-driven outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic was a resurgence in Indigenous ecology and food sovereignty. Young leaders were able to gather outdoors and plant thousands of native seedlings, food and medicine bundles were distributed to elders, and we remembered the practices of our ancestors to restore our well-being through our relationship with the land. Through the generous support of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Food Equity Fund, the Na’ah Illahee Fund is able to continue this work through our Yahowt Program, of ‘lifting up the sky, together’. This grant will enable the urban Indigenous people of Seattle to continue to have the resources to gather, learn, and practice the traditional ecological knowledge that is a cornerstone of what food equity means in the Pacific Northwest.”

Susan Balbas, Executive Director, Na’ah Illahee Fund

“The Food Equity Fund will be instrumental in Basilicas’ programming for the next two years, helping us both to sustain current food justice and community education initiatives, and to start new initiatives centered around food justice and youth leadership. This fund will support a new food distribution support program called MINT, the Bridge to Youth Leadership Program, and will continue to support Basilica in paying our team a livable wage. Meals in Need Today (MINT) will work by providing hands-on support, education, and promotion for food distribution events in Seattle. The program will build a well-connected network of food distributors, educators, and community members to help produce, prepare, and distribute healthy produce in Seattle, while also putting more BIPOC community members in leadership positions in Seattle’s food distribution network.”

Jordan Jackson, Co-Founder, Basilica Bio

2023 Food Equity Fund – General Grant Awards

The following community organizations will receive Food Equity Fund General Grant awards for 2023:

$100,000 to Basilica Bio to sustain and expand programming that supports education around food and environmental justice in schools; connects students and community members to experiential learning opportunities; and delivers accessible food and environmental justice workshops in a STEM context. This grant will support a new Community Classroom Initiative Bridge to Youth leadership program, Meals in Need Today (MINT) food distribution programming, and the addition of new team members.   

$100,000 to Black Dollar Days Task Force for the recurring costs of the Clean Greens Youth programs at South Shore Community Center and behind the Amy Yee Tennis Center. This funding will also support the implementation of the Community Herb Bank, organic honey processing, environmental trainings, workshops, and community gatherings. 

$100,000 to Black Farmers Collective to support long-term sustainability and community programs at the organization’s farms. The grant will also support staff in building community, running educational programs, and growing food for and by BIPOC folks with a focus on uplifting and distributing resources within the Black community.  

$100,000 to Casa Latina for 60 Latino immigrant workers to participate in a cohort-based program based in the organization’s community kitchen. Cohort members will build food service skills and prepare and share cultural meals with their fellow workers each week, who will access and enjoy nutritious, homecooked foods. 

$100,000 to Cham Refugees Community to educate and train youth interns and empower individuals to take leadership roles in advancing Cham Refugees Community’s mission of increasing equitable food access through community identified solutions and access to healthy, local foods for all community members. This grant will support a series of intergenerational community dinners and increase capacity in their community garden. 

$100,000 to Eritrean Community in Seattle and Vicinity to create a cultural and traditional gardening co-op at their community center. Farming is a large part of the Eritrean legacy, and this project will allow for generations of farming history and gardening techniques to live on in the following generations. 

$100,000 to FEEST for the Student Organizer program, which will engage up to 25 students per year to increase their understanding of food justice and develop their organizing and leadership skills. FEEST will promote access to fresh, free, culturally relevant food for low-income youth and youth of color in South Seattle through food justice trainings and food provision, embodying the type of food access they want to see in schools.

$100,000 to InterIm CDA to support the Intergenerational Food Equity and Food Access Project in the Danny Woo Garden in Chinatown International District (CID). This culturally relevant, intergenerational learning and food production project will help increase and exchange knowledge between youth and elder Asian and Pacific Islander generations about growing and eating culturally relevant produce, creating infrastructure that supports ongoing food security, and growing produce that supports the nutritional and food accessibility needs of low-income elders in the CID. 

$100,000 to Lake City Collective for the creation of a “Cook It Yourself” recipe kit that includes community gatherings around family recipes and a youth-led zine that will capture their recipes and stories. Funding will also support Si se puede Foodpreneurship Cohort to provide information about starting a food business and renovation to the Collective’s Garden which serves as a source of culturally relevant vegetables and as an education tool to teach community how to grow traditional produce adapted to their urban environment. 

$100,000 to Na’ah Illahee Fund to advance food security and food sovereignty in Seattle’s urban Indigenous community. Through integration with the Native Youth Trails Program the group will plan and implement community events on the Indigenous lands of the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park as well as increase community knowledge and skills in traditional harvesting practices. These will include planting parties of native traditional foods and medicinal plants, community traditional foods workshops, annual virtual Indigenous Food Sovereignty gatherings, Buffalo harvesting, and honoring luncheons for the community. 

$100,000 to Rainier Beach Action Coalition to expand the services offered by an existing Farm Stand to better support BIPOC farm partners in collecting and distributing their produce to Rainier Beach residents. The organization plans to complete tenant improvements to their Food Hub and will make available dry and cold storage, a washing and packing station, and transportation to farmers in order to increase access to free, fresh, and culturally-relevant fruits and vegetables. 

$100,000 to Union Cultural Center to pilot the Nourishian Training Program, which will provide life skills and job skills to young adults ages 17 – 25 in the Rainier Beach area. Life skills include meal planning, shopping on a budget, basic cooking skills, and nutrition knowledge. 

$100,000 to yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective to steward a South Seattle site on the ancestral homelands of the Duwamish, Muckleshoot, and Suquamish peoples, in Coast Salish territories. They will host a series of seasonal Creative Residencies, where interdisciplinary Indigenous artists and thinkers are invited to complete a self-determined project on site. They will also partner with the University of Washington to understand the best locations and formats for food plant growth and build an Indigenous community garden with Native plants.  

$97,969 to Young Women-Empowered (Y-WE) Y-WE Grow’s mentorship-based empowerment programs focus on environmental justice and healthy food systems in BIPOC communities, serving diverse young women ages 13-24 through a lens of healing and belonging. Through urban farming and food justice activities, participants gain knowledge, skills, and resources around growing and eating healthy, culturally relevant food. This work is an ongoing expansion of our existing Y-WE Grow program and paid summer internships, which engage youth who are most impacted by systemic inequity and lack of access to nature.

$99,650 to Wa Na Wari for Love Offering: Community Meal Program. The program provides free-of-cost African diasporic food and Native American-inspired soul food made by Black/Indigenous chefs every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at Wa Na Wari from 4-6pm. Love Offering promotes economic stability for BIPOC caterers, increases access to nourishing meals, and cultivates community and a sense of belonging around cultural dishes. 

$99,532 to Look, Listen, & Learn TV for the production and distribution of the cooking segments for upcoming seasons of our Black-led children’s TV show. With this Food Equity Fund grant, they will film local children and adults collaboratively preparing and enjoying healthy snacks and tasty treats for up to three seasons of Look, Listen and Learn

$96,066 to Ethiopian Community in Seattle to address food inequities in the Ethiopian community by offering increased access to Ethiopian cultural food through cooking demonstrations, sharing of meals, provision of bags of ingredients from ethnic shops, and storytelling. The program will especially focus on youth and young adults who have expressed their need to learn more about Ethiopian food and the rich culture that surrounds it. 

$99,000 to Queer the Land to empower the QT2BIPOC (Queer, Trans, Two Spirit, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community through stewardship and sustainability. This grant will support managing a community garden and greenhouse where community members can volunteer and actively participate. Through partnerships, Queer the Land will offer workshops on plant care, nutrition, and herbal remedies. They will create a thriving, inclusive space where the community can learn, grow, and celebrate together while fostering a deeper connection with the land.

$88,595 to It Takes a Village for monthly events where participants will learn about food economics, creative development, food service job skills, and growing food in small spaces. The group will deliver 300 hot meals to community members and host six cultural events focused on food, storytelling, and creative arts that engage and feed community members. 

$69,500 to First Tongan Senior Nutrition Association to support over 80 seniors a week with food distribution and community meals for Pacific Islander and other low-income seniors near the Highland Park neighborhood. Over the next two years, they will continue to be a place for elders to gather, communicate in their familiar language, stay healthy, and feel less lonely.

$49,688 to Concord International Elementary Native/Indigenous Students Club to hire Native and Indigenous educators and Elders to share traditional ecological knowledge with Native/Indigenous students and families at Concord International Elementary. Funding will support field trips to forage and learn about traditional and culturally relevant ingredients and medicines. In addition, they will work with local Native and Indigenous chefs and restaurants and traditional medicine practitioners to provide access to traditional and culturally relevant foods and medicines for students and their families as well as lessons in food and medicine preparation.