Food Desert to Festival: Seattle’s Approach to Food Justice and Celebrate Juneteenth

Weekend Tour

Many communities of color at the lowest end of the socio-economic scale live in food deserts, and finding culturally relevant food choices can be an additionally daunting challenge. Tour Seattle’s urban farms as we learn about how the city has responded to this crisis with principles of food sovereignty and equitable access. 

Learn how the City of Seattle’s Urban Food Systems (UFS) program partners with communities to create shared food production spaces, which serve as an equitable municipal food systems model. These farms and orchards are dedicated to producing food that reflects the cultures of their volunteers and focus on the need for BIPOC representation in the food itself, while also providing community access to economic opportunity. We will focus on four urban farm sites: Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, Amy Yee Tennis Center Garden and Farm, Rainier Community Center Garden, and the Seward Park Giving Garden.  

Participants will experience Seattle neighborhoods historically inhabited by generations of BIPOC communities and see the outcome of successful public-private partnerships—including one of the nation’s first examples of public park land used for commercial urban agriculture, which today produces over 20,000 pounds of affordable food each year. These farm sites also tell the story of how the city’s UFS program facilitates green jobs training; small business incubation; and access to, and education about, a rare in-city natural wetlands environment that provides habitat for native wildlife—all while strengthening community relationships.

The tour culminates at the Rainier Beach Community Center, where one of the city’s many Juneteenth festivals will be taking place. Participants can enjoy food and entertainment while learning the history behind the holiday and hear about the successful partnership between the city and Atlantic Street Center, whose joint efforts have produced this Juneteenth event annually for going on 20 years.