A 10-year plan for future development of Whatcom County’s food system was approved unanimously at the July 25 Whatcom County Council meeting.
Over four years of planning, community engagement and revising went into creating the plan, which aims to improve each step in the food system from soil, water and land, to labor and processing and eventual waste management.
The plan takes a “seed-to-table” approach, according to a Whatcom County Health and Community Services press release, and includes partnerships with community organizations to move toward five overarching goals. The five goals work toward issues of food justice, environmental regeneration, bolstering the food economy, increasing food access and mitigating emissions.
The food system plan shows a 2022 community survey aimed at narrowing specific action plans received nine out of 227 total responses from the Blaine zip code.
Water quality, rising sea levels, food access and food economy are areas Jensen recognized as direct concerns for north Whatcom County.
Blaine and Birch Bay could see direct impacts from some of the more than 100 action items agreed upon in the final version of the plan, said Ali Jensen, program specialist with Whatcom County Health and Community Services.
The food system plan could help expand Blaine school district’s meal programs, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Whatcom County afterschool meal program and Blaine Food Bank community support, Jensen wrote in an email.
“I would encourage folks interested in improving food access in the area to reach out to me to get involved,” she said. “There are a lot of informal food access initiatives that deserve more credit and support.”
Food industries in Blaine, Birch Bay and Semiahmoo were recognized as fundamental pieces to the overall health of the county’s food economy.
“From the tourism at Semiahmoo to the local food highlights of Drayton Harbor Oyster Company, the food system plan lays out actions to encourage and promote this industry,” Jensen said. “We know that people come from Canada specifically to go to Edaleen’s.”
Those interested in learning more can review the final draft of the food system plan on the Whatcom County website at bit.ly/3KvSBpm. To get involved or leave feedback, Jensen encourages people to reach out to her via email,
“North Whatcom is such an important part of our food economy and the Food System Committee’s job is to support that,” she said.
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