The neighborhood of South Park, historically known for its rich fluvial soils, farming and supply of fresh produce to Seattle, is without a grocery store. To take a closer look, follow this link to see a map of local food stores and bus routes in South Park. The closest grocery store, the Red Apple, is just outside of the South Park boundaries. However, the neighborhood now has a chance to revive its old reputation and once again provide fresh, healthy food to its residents.
Thanks to a grant from Public Health – Seattle & King County, ECOSS is working on a project to promote healthy foods in South Park. In partnership with Solid Ground and Community Coalition of Environmental Justice, we have multiple food access-related projects including supporting entrepreneurial pursuits at Marra Farm, advocating for healthier food choices for children at school and around the neighborhood, and encouraging stores to offer fresh produce.
Marra Farm, a major asset to the South Park community, plays a crucial role in our work. At Marra Farm, there are individual growers providing fresh produce to neighbors, families and friends. We’re working with these growers to help them find more direct and sustainable relationships with customers and markets in order to ensure their continued success.
On a larger scale, ECOSS is developing a strategic plan for Marra Farm, working with Lettuce Link, a program of Solid Ground, and the Department of Neighborhoods’ P-Patch Program. The strategic plan will help streamline the work at the farm and ensure clarity for future decision making.
Our project’s advocacy work at Concord International Elementary School will involve two policy changes geared towards expanding healthy food access and increased messaging of the benefits and importance of healthy foods in the school and around the neighborhood.
Lastly, we’ve been working with neighborhood grocers to help them introduce more produce into their stores. Healthy Foods Here has assisted us by bringing in grocery consulting and expertise. Some of the consulting includes help with ordering, handling, storing and displaying produce, and understanding purchasing based on produce seasonality.
Other communities have grappled with similar issues and have come up with creative solutions. Read about Seattle’s High Point neighborhood, the “Fresh Fruit and Veggies Community Group” and how they worked with the local Walgreen’s to offer fresh produce.
What you can do in South Park
- Stay tuned! As this project progresses, we’ll let you know how you can join in.
- Let local shop owners know that you’d like to buy more healthy food such as fresh produce at their stores, and support them in making changes.
- Visit Public Health – Seattle & King County’s website and sign up for the monthly newsletter