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Council News Release

4/28/2008  3:05:00 PM
Phyllis Shulman, Conlin Office (206) 684-8805

Council President Richard Conlin
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Sally Clark
Councilmember Jan Drago

Legislation will support food banks, aid farmers markets, expand community gardens, and more

SEATTLE The Council today passed the Local Food Action Initiative. The Initiative will expand resources for food banks; strengthen local farmers markets; develop solutions that will reduce the cost of food for urban consumers by making stronger connections between our rural and urban areas; plan for better management of the food system in emergencies and disasters; and more. The City will now develop a Food Policy Action Plan which will identify policies, programs and opportunities to promote local food system sustainability and security. In addition, the City will begin working on a Regional Food Policy Council that can bring the City and the County together to develop policies that contribute to these goals. Council President Richard Conlin, the initiatives sponsor and chair of the Environment, Emergency Planning and Utilities Committee, said, Access to food is one of the most fundamental needs of our community. This new initiative will bring together the work that is being done in the community and the City to create a framework for ensuring that Seattle residents have access to a healthy and sustainable food resources.

Councilmember Tim Burgess said, We made some changes suggested by citizens to clarify and strengthen the resolution, and made its intent clearer and more focused. I believe it is a reasonable effort by the city to plan for emergencies, continue our work toward greater sustainability, and strengthen locally-owned businesses. Councilmember Jan Drago noted that, This initiative will support food banks and meal programs by strengthening connections between our p-patch network and food banks to provide more fresh food for those who are hungry and in need and by helping the food banks to reduce their costs for managing food waste. Councilmember Bruce Harrell commented that, This legislation will provide opportunities to create local economic development related to local food production, processing, and distribution. That will be a win for our economy and for our communitys health.

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said, Todays action will help focus the Citys effort to use surplus city property for local food production. Seattle owns land all around the City that could be used for community and market gardens. We dont want property that could be productive to lie fallow. Councilmember Sally Clark said, Neighborhoods love their local farmers markets. This measure will help the City find permanent locations for these urban agricultural oases. Councilmember Nick Licata said, The reality of climate change means that the City must do its part to help create a food system that is not so reliant on fossil fuels. The food system creates some 17% of carbon emissions, and we have to start thinking systematically about reducing its impact.


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