Submitted by Sustainable Connections

September Eat Local Month was a delicious and inspiring celebration of local food. All month long, Sustainable Connections highlighted the farms, fishers, grocers, markets, chefs, and restaurants of Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and San Juan counties. 

Participants explored farm stands, stopped by farmers markets for fresh produce, cooked up meals with local seafood, and visited many exceptional restaurants. A joyful and resilient food system isn’t something that one person, one farm, or one organization can build alone. This past September, Eat Local Month demonstrated how eating local isn’t just a passing fad in Northwest Washington – it’s a way of life and what makes this community strong. 

King5 from Seattle took notice, too, which is why they interviewed Chef Cinnamon of Cosmos Bistro about her relationship with local farms and farmers, and why it’s such an integral part of the local culture. Watch the video here and learn more about farm-to-table in Bellingham and Whatcom County, and why it’s important for delicious food and the local economy.  

According to Erica Lamson, co-owner of Pizza’zza, “The way we see it, buying food from our local growers and producers is part of ensuring our collective food security and a vital step in emergency preparedness. We believe local buying is a ‘must do,’ not a ‘nice to do.’ The pandemic has brought this point home. Because we buy locally, we have been insulated from the supply chain disruptions others have contended with. We are so grateful for our local growers and producers!”  

Throughout Eat Local Month, restaurants shared how sourcing from local farms mitigated the supply chain issues that have been affecting much of the country. And it’s not just restaurants that benefit from the bounty of local produce and products. Bellingham Public Schools have a Central Kitchen that prepares delicious food for schools across the city, and they craft scratch made features of the week. For one, Two-Ton Tomato Sauce with Beef Ragu, the Central Kitchen bought local tomatoes from area farms during the summer, roasting and freezing them to preserve freshness. They also sourced their beef from Farm Fresh Northwest, a family farm based in Whatcom County. This community is so fortunate to have such a vibrant farm-to-school connection that keeps kids’ minds and bodies nourished.  

Sustainable Connections is always interested in learning more about how they can contribute to even better food systems, which is why they invite the community to share their experience each year via an Eat Local Month survey. Fill it out by October 14th to be entered to win the Grand Prize Giveaway worth $650, including Bike Tours for two from Bike Northwest, a $100 gift certificate to Acme Farms + Kitchen, pepperoni sticks and a gift card from the beloved 3 Sisters Market, a $50 gift card from Flax 4 Life for some delicious and nutritious baked goods, a $100 gift card from Pizza’zza – who spends 80% of their food budget with local producers, a gift card and swag from Bellingham Cider Co. to show the world how #fiercelylocal you are!  

Sustainable Connections wrapped up their annual Eat Local Month festivities, but eating local is a year-round practice of sustainability and joy. There are still many chances to enjoy local food opportunities. The community can find local farms, markets, fishers, restaurants and events on the Washington Food & Farm Finder, and help keep our food system vibrant and thriving all year long.  

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