Who We Are

A program of Global to Local, Food Innovation Network (FIN)’s mission is to enhance the local food system, increase access to healthy food, create pathways for success, and support resource- and idea-sharing that engages the diverse communities of SeaTac/Tukwila and South King County. Check out our 2018 Year in Review to learn how we put our mission into action!

We use a collective impact model to bring community perspective and organizational expertise together in collaboration. Our network includes organizations, educational institutions, local government, and community members. FIN is governed by a Steering Committee made up of organizations and Community Food Advocates (see our Partners page).

Our work spans across the community food system, from farm to fork. We seek and create opportunities for community members to engage in the local food system, and to increase community ownership of that system.

FIN works to create an equitable community by bringing community members together. We are committed to empowering residents to take leadership roles in advancing our mission and to bring an authentic community voice to our work. This is primarily done through our cohort of Community Food Advocates, leaders who represent the diverse multi-cultural communities of South King County. Advocates are key to our strategic planning and choosing culturally appropriate techniques and activities to support policy and systems change. Paid through stipends, advocates are trained in leadership and advocacy skills and learn through hands-on experience. Encouraged to take on leadership roles within FIN, several have become co-chairs on working groups and participate in our Steering Committee. Advocates lead our community engagement and outreach efforts by connecting people to our services and resources.

Learn about our work and find your place at the table!

Our Work

Food Business Incubator 

Ofelia Anorve prepares foodOne of our core work areas is a Food Business Incubator supporting aspiring entrepreneurs from SeaTac/Tukwila and broader South King County who primarily come from low-income immigrant and refugee communities. FIN piloted this program in 2017 and is now ready to scale the program through opening a new facility, the Tukwila Village Food Hall. Through business coaching and a peer network, entrepreneurs are supported in obtaining permits, offered subsidized kitchen rent, and provided connections to market channels such as catering opportunities. The pilot has supported a dozen business launches.

Plans are underway to open the Food Hall in late 2019. It will accommodate at least 20 businesses annually, and scale the pilot to a program that incorporates our culturally sensitive business supports and further builds out market channels. Applications for new businesses interested in renting a food stall or the commercial kitchen will be available spring 2019. Learn more about this project here.

Staff contacts: 

New food businesses contact: Njambi Gishuru at njambi@foodinnovationnetwork.org

Catering and marketing opportunities: Kerrie Carbary at kerrie@foodinnovationetwork.org

Tukwila Village Food Hall contact: Kara Martin at kara@foodinnovationnetwork.org

Food Access

Namaste Farm Stand customersOur goal is to address racial inequity in our food system by creating a farm-to-fork distribution channel and connecting people to food. FIN operates Namaste Farm Stand with our partner, the IRC New Roots program. The farm stand is open June through October at two locations—Matt Griffin YMCA and Tukwila Village—and accepts SNAP benefits and Fresh Bucks for payment. Namaste Farm Stand sells fresh, local produce grown primarily by immigrants and refugees, and will be expanding training opportunities for these growers at our new Tukwila Village Farmers Market in 2019.

The Community Food Advocates are cooking up some exciting projects in 2019, including providing grocery store tours for recently arrived refugees (in partnership with IRC New Roots). Our staff and Community Food Advocates are trained on available food access resources in the community. Please let us know if you would like to arrange a presentation about these resources.

Land access for agriculture in urban areas is critical for communities new to growing food in the Northwest. We facilitate the South King Urban Ag Network (SKUAN) to improve resource sharing and collaboration among partners and growers—please contact us if you would like to get involved.

Staff contacts: 

Namaste Farm Stand and food access presentations: Kara Martin at kara@foodinnovationnetwork.org

Urban Agriculture opportunities: Njambi Gishuru at njambi@foodinnovationnetwork.org

SKUAN: Kara Martin at kara@foodinnovationnetwork.org

Community Engagement

Food connects people and builds community. Our ongoing community events include Community Kitchen Dinners and an annual Resource Fair. Our 2019 Community Kitchen Dinners are co-hosted with City of SeaTac at the SeaTac Community Center. These free dinners are open to all and provide an opportunity to celebrate the rich food traditions of our community. Mark your calendars for:

Staff contact:

Sheelan Shamdeen at sheelan@foodinnovationnetwork.org

Our Staff

For full staff contact information, please visit our contact page.

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