Harvest Blog

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Abigail Findley’s Amazing Year of Service as a Harvest VISTA

During the first week of March, Abigail was eager to present a lesson on food security to students at Chautauqua elementary as they kicked off their March Food Drive. A week later the schools closed down, and on March 25th Governor Inslee announced the stay at home order, and all non-essential businesses and activities were prohibited.

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Fresh Produce for Seniors during a Global Pandemic

The global pandemic of COVID-19 disproportionately affected marginalized populations such as the elderly and refugees. In collaboration with Food Innovation Network (FIN), the International Rescue Committee New Roots program and HAH VISTA Anastasia coordinated the delivery of 50 bags of fresh produce weekly to low-income seniors in SeaTac and Tukwila.

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Food Access through Cross-Pollination of Connections

While most food banks faced the decision of either continuing modified food distribution or closing their facilities due to the risks of COVID-19, the South Seattle College food pantry (SSC), a 2nd-year King County Farmers Share participant, is juggling both!

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Opportunity through Forced Creativity

The seed campaign morphed into developing a program around “Resiliency Garden Kits,” where folks could send a photo of a location on their property that they wanted to cultivate into a publicly accessible vegetable garden..

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There is Power in A Union

The Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho grows lentils and wheat of international demand, and is also home to countless small farms who work with local restaurants and farmers markets. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many avenues for distribution and income have disappeared or have been severely constricted.

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Collaborations through Crisis

After a number of planning conversations, the cross-organizational team decided to carry out distributing the funds through “CSA-style” contracts, an approach which some KCFS agencies used last year.

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The Times, They Are A-changin’

As a VISTA about to end my service year, this was supposed to be an exciting time – moving on to the next phase, going happily forward into the next chapter. It’s still exciting, but in more of a horror movie ‘don’t open that door’ kinda way. All the things I had planned are now on hold or canceled, and the future is uncertain at best. 

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Sowing Seeds of Change

Food accessibility and sovereignty is crucial during this because convenience has dissipated and overridden the average individual’s ability and knowledge to produce and prepare their own food. A large number of individuals haven’t been exposed or taught traditional means of cooking or growing. 

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