King Conservation District’s Regional Food System Grant Program was initiated to provide a catalyst for making local food production more ecologically and economically sustainable. The program funds projects that contribute to the economic viability of local farmers, encourage new farmers, expand acreage in food production, improve food access, and increase demand for King County farm products.
Individual farmers, producer networks, marketing cooperatives, farmers markets, businesses, schools, special districts, nonprofit organizations, tribes, and jurisdictions within KCD’s service area. Applicants do not have to be located in the service area as long as the project is located in the service area. KCD’s service area includes 34 cities and all of unincorporated King County. The cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Skykomish, Milton, and Pacific are outside KCD’s boundaries.
- Land and easement purchases
- Easing barriers that the applicant can remove or modify as a matter of changing its own policies
- Ongoing program activities
- Work that KCD could perform directly or contractually as part of its scheduled work
- Projects that do not demonstrate benefits to multiple producers and/or stakeholders
Match is required in the form of in-kind, cash, or both from applicants and/or partners. Cash match is not required and there is no minimum matching amount.
Partnerships are not required for eligibility, but are strongly encouraged. In the absence of partnerships, applicants must demonstrate the project’s relationship to existing producer or consumer networks such as food hubs.
Local Food Initiative Strategies and Funding Priorities
Projects must carry out strategies of the King County Local Food Initiative described in Appendix A and B of the King County Local Food Initiative Report. Additional points will be given to projects that address:
- Consumer Demand
- Land Access
- Food Safety
- Business Management
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Principles
Regional Food System grant applicants should be prepared to implement their project in line with the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. The following definitions are from the Ford Foundation and USDA:
- Diversity is the representation of all our varied identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, tribe, caste, socio-economic status, thinking and communication styles, etc.), collectively and as individuals.
- Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources for all.
- Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people.
- Social justice is the equal access to wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
- Socially disadvantaged group is a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.
- Socially disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher is a farmer or rancher who has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudices because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Those groups include African Americans, American Indians or Alaskan natives, Hispanics, and Asians or Pacific Islanders.
For resources and examples of KCD funded projects, see 2021 Additional Guidance.