Category: News

Join our Spice Bridge Kitchen Club!

The kitchen at Spice Bridge will open soon, and we need your help to equip it with essentials like prep tables, pots, and pans. Please join our Kitchen Club to help us raise $15,000. You can become part of the club—and have your name listed as a founding member!—one of three ways:

1. Donate $25 or more at our online fundraising page. An amazing supporter has committed to match cash contributions up to $2,500—don't miss this opportunity to double your impact!

2. Donate in-kind commercial grade kitchen equipment. See our wish list

3. Purchase items directly through our Webstaurant wish list, and they will be mailed to us. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDjU48Yi1fo

 

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Meet Faizah, the newest member of FIN’s team!

We're delighted to introduce you to Faizah Shukru, who recently joined our team to coordinate Tukwila Village Farmers Market and other FIN events! Faizah has lived in Tukwila for more than a decade, and brings experience serving community both as a volunteer and as a professional social worker.

Read our interview to learn more about Faizah, and then meet her in person at Tukwila Village Farmers Market!

How did you learn about Food Innovation Network, and what drew you to join our team?

I learned about FIN through the job opportunity that was posted online. I am familiar with Global to Local, and my parents had participated in programs years ago when I was in middle school so I know that they did great work. What drew me to the team was the passion for food justice in the communities being served and the emphasis on utilizing the community to fight for food justice. Giving the community opportunities to grow and sell their own produce is amazing and shows the importance of community collaboration and partnerships.

You're going to coordinate Tukwila Village Farmers Market! What's your favorite vegetable, and how do you like to prepare it?

My favorite vegetable is asparagus! I love to do a simple salt/black pepper seasoning or even a garlic salt seasoning and a little bit of lemon juice. It can be baked or pan-cooked and served with rice and salmon or chicken and a salad. Delicious. :)

What do you love about living in Tukwila? If you could change anything about Tukwila, what would it be?

What I love most about Tukwila is the richness in diversity. Tukwila is the first place that I felt like I was “at home.” There is so much culture and diversity around you and gives you the opportunity to learn about other peoples’ culture.

If I could change one thing about Tukwila I would stop the rapid gentrification happening. Tukwila is known for the many culturally diverse small businesses and that is slowly being taken away from us one by one.

FIN's office is closed June 12 in recognition and support of Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County’s call for a statewide march and general strike. How do you plan to spend the day?

I was excited to see that the FIN office would be closed this in support of the march and general strike. I think it is important to take a stance and show support and solidarity with the movement, especially when the community around us are largely people of color and immigrants.

I plan on supporting the movement in any way that I can, and will most likely be attending a protest hosted by local youth. As a Black Muslim woman myself I have been working on fighting for what I believe is right while also taking care of my own mental and emotional wellness, and will continue to do so on the 12th and beyond.

Is there anything else you'd like the FIN community to know about you?

I am extremely excited to be joining the FIN team. I have a passion for community work and believe that a holistic approach to community is important. Many of our communities face various struggles including housing instability and food inequities, and I am excited to be able to join a team that values the importance of addressing food disparities and utilizing community members as part of the solution to closing those disparities.

 

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FIN entrepreneurs make meals for communities affected by COVID-19

FIN entrepreneurs are contributing their time and skills to make tasty, healthy meals for families and older adults who need them. Check out our photo album, and watch a video featuring our first meal's lead chef, Naija Buka owner Lilian Ryland:

We're now cooking up 600 hot meals each week. Our partner Linda Croasdill at the City of SeaTac Senior Program reports, "The meals have been a big hit and everyone would like to give you and your support team a great big air hug and a really big smile."

We are excited to share that we are collaborating with the American Heart Association to provide hot meals and support our Food Business Incubator entrepreneurs in the process. American Heart Association’s support has allowed us to expand our meals and add health education components to the work. This summer we will work together to support seniors living with food insecurity and establish deeper connections for the community.

Huge thanks to everyone who’s helping to nourish our community as we face this challenge together. We're grateful to our individual donors, who have collectively contributed more than $2,500. We're also thankful for:

Our in-kind supporters 

  • Tilth Alliance is providing fresh, locally grown produce weekly
  • Macrina Bakery is supplying wonderful baked goods weekly
  • Project Feast is donating key ingredients, cooking dishes, and sharing much-needed kitchen facilities
  • Des Moines Area Food Bank is supplying dried beans and other legumes
  • Food Lifeline is contributing staple food ingredients weekly
  • The Storehouse Covington Food Bank has contributed ingredients
  • FIN entrepreneurs, Incubator program manager Kerrie Carbary, and many of Kerrie's neighbors have contributed ingredients
  • Cheri Mayer gave our kitchen and delivery crews homemade masks to support health and safety

Our chefs, meal packers, and delivery drivers

  • FIN entrepreneurs including Naija Buka owner Lilian Ryland, Mamá Tila owner Ofelia Anorve, Monique's Hot Kitchen owner Monica Wachira, Seatango owners Monica di Bartolomeo and Ariel Firpo, and Soozveen Mediterranean Catering owner Sheelan Shamdeen
  • Community volunteers including Liyu Yirdaw, Theary Ngeth, Khadija Yusuph, Mwana Moyo, Batulo Nuh, and FIN Steering Committee Co-chair Ehler Win
  • Global to Local staff members including Abdi Hussein, Jonathan Sugarman, Katie Behrends, Deeqa Mah, Roda Sugulle, Kara Martin, Kerrie Carbary, and Denise Miller

Our community partners distributing meals


Get involved

You can make a donation at bit.ly/FINmeals, or email Kerrie if you’d like to help in another way: kerrie@foodinnovationnetwork.org

 

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We’re hiring a Program Coordinator!

UPDATE (May 20, 2020): We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

We're excited to hire a Program Coordinator! Our new team member will coordinate our Tukwila Village Farmers Market and farm stand at the Matt Griffin YMCA. They will also support community partnership, events, and other FIN activities. This is a part-time position with a variable schedule of 20-25 hours per week. Find more details and apply online, and please share this opportunity with your networks!

 

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University Student Ehler Win Steps Into New FIN Leadership Role

The new year is bringing a bittersweet transition to FIN's steering committee. Gladis Clemente, a Community Food Advocate of more than three years and our most recent steering committee co-chair, is stepping back from her formal roles with FIN. Gladis has been an enthusiastic leader and vocal advocate, and we're thankful for all of her contributions to our community. Gladis will continue to be a member of the FIN family, and we look forward to seeing much more of her.

We are excited that this transition will create an opportunity for Community Food Advocate Ehler Win to step into the steering committee co-chair position, and we'd like to share some words from both of these wonderful leaders.

From Gladis:

I can share my experience as a community advocate, developing leadership and advocacy skills for more than three years. Thanks to the skills I gained during different workshops, I have been able to submit public comments at city hall, and participate more actively in community groups such as PTA and coalitions.

I would like to emphasize the impact of FIN, with its collective and innovative model. As community members, we are not used to participating in the decision-making process. But FIN's approach is unique and different: the steering committee is formed by organizations, educational institutions, and local government— and community members, as well. We feel that our voice is heard, and we are important and valuable. Coming from underserved and marginalized communities, we, as advocates have the opportunity to support system and policy change in order to end the poverty cycle in our communities. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such an amazing organization.

I want to express my gratitude for all the support FIN provided for more than three years. I definitely wouldn’t be the same person that I am now without FIN. I welcome Ehler as a new co-chair—she is very capable, and I know she is going to be excellent in this role.

From Ehler:

I am currently a senior at UW. I've been an advocate for a little over a year and have learned and grown so much within this community. I am really excited and humbled to have been chosen as the next co-chair for the steering committee, and am really looking forward to the ways I will grow and contribute to this committee. This community means so much to me and we have many exciting things coming up ahead, especially the Tukwila Village Food Hall. I'm so excited to be one of the many, many people working behind this project.

 

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Keerai Farm: Connecting With Agricultural Traditions and a Diverse Community

At Keerai Farm in Enumclaw, Victor Anagli and Deepa Iyer are building on their families’ farming and cultural traditions. Victor’s family has been growing food for generations in his birthplace, Denu village in Ghana. Deepa’s ancestors lived among rice fields in southern India, and her family has strong cooking traditions.

"I want to rescue my cultural traditions and those of my friends and collaborators," Deepa said. "We all have deep cultural traditions related to food and farming, yet in our industrial system, many of us lose those traditions in exchange for industrially produced food that often has negative impacts on the land, water, and the people who work to grow, process, and sell the food. Not to mention that our children become addicted to packaged and processed food, to eating on the run out of a paper bag or box, rather than having a way of life that allows us time to grow the food, harvest together, celebrate the bounty, give thanks together, share meals, and lift up our ancestors."

An engineer by training, Victor left his corporate job to get back to his agricultural roots. Deepa has worked as a naturalist and food systems educator, and is currently a program coordinator with IRC’s New Roots program—FIN’s partner in organizing Tukwila Village Farmers Market and Namaste Farm Stand. In addition to supporting the Namaste Garden and Namuna Garden growers who sell food at our markets, Deepa has also shared some of Keerai Farm's abundance at Tukwila Village Farmers Market.

Deepa and Victor bought their 21-acre property in 2018, and they’re already growing some of the same foods their ancestors ate, such as roselle, bottle gourds, peanuts, and okra. The couple take produce requests from community members, including Deepa’s mother’s Indian community and Tukwila Village Farmers Market customers. They're experimenting with small greenhouses and organic agricultural techniques as they learn how to grow these culturally significant foods in the Pacific Northwest’s climate.

Okra plant
Okra is among the cultural foods that connect Deepa and Victor with their cultural heritage.

Growing community

"Keerai Farm is our dream: living life close to the land, connected to the Earth, caring for her each day we wake up, seeing our children run free and breathing fresh air, eating real food coming straight from the soil and grown with love and care," Deepa said.

Deepa and Victor’s children are already well acquainted with farm life. Their 15-year-old son, Devon, loves tinkering with machinery, and helped install their irrigation system. He’s also creative in the kitchen, and surprised their family with tasty popsicles made from homegrown berries he’d collected. Their 3-year-old daughter, Samika, has learned to identify many of the plants they grow, and loves riding on their tractor as they cut grass.

Victor and Deepa want to share the experience of farming with other families--particularly those who have a hard time accessing land because of displacement or economic reasons, or because they don't feel socially or physically safe living in a rural area.

"This is why we focus our work on connecting with BIPOC (Black-indigenous-people of color) families—because in King County there is diversity, but many folks of color do not own land and/or do not feel comfortable or have a space that feels welcoming to come and connect to the land," Deepa said. "We hear this from so many people who come to visit: 'We would love to live this way but we are not comfortable.' Well, if we could live in community, then we could keep each other safe and inspired."

Deepa smiles and holds out kale on a sunny day at Keerai Farm
Deepa holds kale, one of the many foods that has been bountiful at Keerai Farm. Keerai is a Tamil word for greens.

Deepa and Victor have been overwhelmed by positive feedback from community members who have visited Keerai Farm. Some have already been inspired to change their eating habits.

"Every time people come here, they taste the produce and say that it tastes different from the stores. That is a hell of a testament," Victor said. "A group came to visit last week and harvested produce and cooked a meal in our kitchen, and then told us that that experience made them want to eat more fruits and vegetables and cook more for themselves."

Victor loves sharing not only fresh food, but also knowledge about organic farming that has been passed to him down through generations.

"I believe growing food authentically without chemical aid is the way to do it. Food is medicine. Food is a healer. If you keep pumping it with fertilizers, that defeats the purpose," Victor said. "It is important that we all know this, for this knowledge to be passed down—the actual doing part, not just reading a book. You have to go through the process with somebody. It is vitally important to share that knowledge."

In addition to inviting community to come farm, Victor and Deepa are organizing events on their property. In June, 90 people spent a weekend practicing capoeira, camping, and enjoying the land at the “Grounded in Freedom” event that Keerai Farm hosted. Deepa and Victor plan to hold more events combining food, community, and healing arts such as yoga.

"Keerai Farm is a place of healing, a place where you are able to come and feel one with nature," Victor said. "My vision for the future: a lot of people, like-minded folks who believe in authentic food, building community, and just being here now, being present together."

Victor feeds chickens
Victor feeds chickens at Keerai Farm.

Help harvest at Keerai Farm

Deepa and Victor invite you to experience and help farm their land—and take fresh produce home. You can email Deepa at keeraifarm@gmail.com to set up a visit. It’s harvest season—a great time to be on the farm!

 

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Food Is Medicine at Laura’s Garden

As an acute care nurse, Laura Vogel helps patients who have heart and kidney diseases—conditions she connects to poor diets.

“I see the effects of processed food every day. And it’s not just diabetes—it’s the inflammatory state that food can potentially put you in. You’re just so much more susceptible to disease, and illness, and poor healing if you do get sick,” she said.

Laura believes that eating a diversity of fresh foods can help prevent disease. She’s working to spread the word, and also to share her homegrown produce with her Tukwila neighbors.

“I want to help the community get healthy and not have to come see me at Harborview!” she said. “Food should be our primary medicine—not pharmaceuticals.”

A thriving home garden designed with permaculture in mind

You may have met Laura at Tukwila Village Farmers Market this season. When her schedule allowed, she set up the Laura’s Garden farm stand to sell fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs grown in her yard just a few blocks from the market.

Embracing permaculture—an agricultural design system modeled on nature—has enabled Laura to cultivate an abundance of produce on a residential property.

“It’s about permanent agriculture, and growing food systems that are sustainable and economical, and better for the environment,” Laura said.

Flowers that support pollinators are intermingled with vegetables and fruits at Laura's Garden.

Permaculture rejects monocrops, the modern practice of growing large amounts of a single plant. Natural food systems are diverse, and so Laura’s garden is incredibly varied. Among her edible plants are squash, tomato, asparagus, tomatillo, beans, peppers, chard, gherkins, fennel, sorrel, ginger, tea, hops, tulsi, turmeric, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, oregano, and garlic. She also grows almond, fig, apple, pear, peach, and plum trees, as well as flowers that support pollinators.

It’s easy to spot other elements of permaculture on Laura’s property: a rainwater irrigation system keeps her plants healthy without using city water; wood chip mulch reduces evaporation, suppresses weeds, and conditions soil.

Laura holds a watering hose in front of a large rainwater collector
Laura has installed several rainwater collectors to help minimize use of city water.

Laura is completing a certificate in permaculture design, and hopes her garden can one day become a permaculture demonstration site to provide inspiration to other gardeners.

“You can do a lot with a little, and I want to show that to other people, so they can also grow a lot of food even in a little space,” she said. “And if you do grow more than you can eat—which happens very quickly—then you can share it.”

Get involved

Participating in the farmers market this year, Laura realized that she didn’t have enough spare time to regularly harvest and prepare her produce for sale. Still, she’d love to share her food with people who will enjoy and benefit from it. Now she is looking for a community member who’d like to harvest her produce and share it with the community.

“It would be a dream come true if someone came to harvest weekly, and either donated to the food bank or set up their own stand,” she said. Laura envisions a learning opportunity for someone interested in permaculture, and a potential income opportunity if that person wanted to sell the food locally.

Would you like to partner with Laura to share her food with our community? Get in touch with her at vogel.laura.k@gmail.com.

Kaya the dog eyes a plum that Laura holds
Kaya, Laura's dog, is also a big fan of fresh vegetables and fruits--especially plums.

 

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FIN Entrepreneurs Are Cooking Up Goodness in October

Days are getting shorter, leaves are changing colors, and pumpkins are turning up everywhere. Fall is here, and farmers market season is winding down--but you still have opportunities pick up delicious meals from FIN food businesses at our Taste Around the Globe booth and at special lunch pop-ups!

You can find our booth at three farmers markets in October:

Tukwila Village Farmers Market
4-7 p.m. on Wednesdays

  • Oct. 2: Monique’s Hot Kitchen
  • Oct. 9: Monique’s Hot Kitchen
  • Oct. 16: Monique’s Hot Kitchen

Burien Farmers Market
11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Thursdays

  • Oct. 3: Mamá Tila Catering
  • Oct. 10: Boujee Food & Things
  • Oct. 17: Mamá Tila Catering
  • Oct. 24: East and West Catering
  • Oct. 31: Mamá Tila Catering

Federal Way Farmers Market
9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays

  • Oct. 5: Taste of Congo
  • Oct. 12: Taste of Congo
  • Oct. 26: Taste of Congo

Lunch pop-ups

You can also catch your favorite food businesses indoors at pop-ups throughout the fall! FIN entrepreneurs are contributing their culinary talents to help raise funds for the future home of our Food Business Incubator; they're cooking up tasty lunches with all proceeds going to Tukwila Village Food Hall’s capital campaign. Join us on first and third Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Boon Boona Coffee (724 S 3rd Street, Ste. C, Renton). Drop in at an event, or get your tickets in advance to guarantee your boxed lunch:

 

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Taste Around the Globe With FIN Food Businesses in September

As the weather starts to cool, it's the perfect time to pick up some hot food at our Taste Around the Globe booth featuring FIN food businesses! You can find us at six markets in South King County and Seattle in September:

Renton Farmers Market
3-7 p.m. on Tuesdays

  • Sept. 3: Taste of Congo
  • Sept. 10: Taste of Congo
  • Sept. 17: Taste of Congo
  • Sept. 24: Taste of Congo

Tukwila Village Farmers Market
4-7 p.m. on Wednesdays

  • Sept. 4: Monique's Hot Kitchen
  • Sept. 11: Monique's Hot Kitchen
  • Sept. 18: Monique's Hot Kitchen
  • Sept. 25: Monique's Hot Kitchen

Burien Farmers Market
11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Thursdays

  • Sept. 5: Mamá Tila Catering
  • Sept. 19: Mamá Tila Catering
  • Sept. 26: East and West Catering

Pike Place MarketFront
11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays

  • Sept. 6: East and West Catering
  • Sept. 7: Boujee Food & Things
  • Sept. 8: Mamá Tila Catering
  • Sept. 13: East and West Catering
  • Sept. 15: Mamá Tila Catering
  • Sept. 20 East and West Catering
  • Sept. 21 East and West Catering
  • Sept. 22: Mamá Tila Catering
  • Sept. 27: East and West Catering
  • Sept. 28: East and West Catering
  • Sept. 29: Mamá Tila Catering

Federal Way Farmers Market
9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays

  • Sept. 7: Taste of Congo
  • Sept. 14: Taste of Congo
  • Sept. 21: Taste of Congo
  • Sept. 28: Taste of Congo

Auburn Farmers Market
10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sundays

  • Sept. 1: Monique's Hot Kitchen
  • Sept. 8: East and West Catering
  • Sept. 15: Monique's Hot Kitchen
  • Sept. 22: East and West Catering

Lunch pop-ups

As farmers market season starts to wind down, we're ramping up a lunch pop-up series. FIN entrepreneurs are contributing their culinary talents to help raise funds for the future home of our Food Business Incubator! Eight amazing businesses will cook up tasty lunches with all proceeds going to Tukwila Village Food Hall's capital campaign. Join us on first and third Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Boon Boona Coffee (724 S 3rd Street, Ste. C, Renton).

Tickets are available now for our September lunches:

Tickets will go on sale soon for future events. Subscribe to our email newsletter to stay posted on upcoming pop-ups:

  • Oct. 4: Taste of Congo
  • Oct.18: Sherehe Kenya Kitchen
  • Nov. 1: Boujee Food & Things
  • Nov. 15: Soozveen Mediterranean Catering
  • Dec. 6: Mamá Tila Catering
  • Dec. 20: Monique’s Hot Kitchen

 

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Join a Lunch Pop-Up to Help Us Open Tukwila Village Food Hall

FIN entrepreneurs are contributing their culinary talents to help raise funds for the future home of our Food Business Incubator! Eight amazing businesses will cook up tasty lunches with all proceeds going to Tukwila Village Food Hall's capital campaign. Join us on first and third Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Boon Boona Coffee (724 S 3rd Street, Ste. C, Renton).

Buy advance tickets now to guarantee your $15 boxed lunch, or drop in at the event. The series includes cuisines from around the world:

 

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