Tilth Alliance is proud to announce a new partnership with Bellingham-based nonprofit Sustainable Connections 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 Sustainable Connections to bring the Eat Local First campaign to more people throughout Washington State,” said Melissa Spear, Executive Director of Tilth Alliance. “There is so much food grown in Washington, there are so many benefits to eating locally grown food, and locally grown food is getting easier and easier to find. Through this campaign, we hope to bring more attention to all the local options that are available here.”
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:
Commit to sourcing ingredients or products from local producers every month.
Make it a goal to work toward shifting 10% of their annual food budget to local sources.
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. According to a report release in May 2019 by the University of Washington and King Conservation District, most local farmers reported that they want to expand their direct marketing efforts, but cannot spend much money on marketing and advertising, and thus rely primarily on word-of-mouth. The report recommends regional collective marketing and educational workshops to provide support for local farmers.
“Tilth Alliance has a long history of promoting local food and providing education to Washington’s farming community,” Spear 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, and look for the Eat Local First campaign logo or “Find the Fork” icon associated with the campaign on restaurant menus and products.
To get involved or learn more, visit eatlocalfirst.org.
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.
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!
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.
– Tilth Alliance