All Good News Edition

The countdown to the Bellevue Farmers Market opening is on! If you haven't checked the website, Opening Day is slated for Thursday, May 13, at 3:00 p.m. Thursday's market will be back at its 2008 location in the parking lot of First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue, which should please the farmers who told me last year that they missed the pretty setting and the trees. It should also please those who grumbled about parking in the Bellevue Square parking lot and having to cross the street. I'm not making fun of you--I did my fair share.

Saturdays will get rolling come June 5, in a new Washington Square location: 10610 NE 8th, courtesy of another generous sponsor, Wasatch Development in Utah.

In collecting information for these posts, I've noticed bad food-news is much more plenteous than good food-news, but I've managed to scrape together these tidbits:

1. The number of farms in Washington State rose 6% from 2000 to 2008, according to the Seattle Times, and a whopping 90% of these farms are owned by individuals and families! Because our area is so local-food friendly, farm income has also risen. Voting with our dollars works.

2. Speaking of voting with our dollars, a recent Atlantic article notes with surprise Wal-Mart's entrance into the organic food market. Huge food players like Wal-Mart and McDonald's can change the way America eats simply by changing what they choose to buy, and it looks like Wal-Mart's Heritage Agriculture program could have many positive repercussions. The program encourages farms within a day's drive of a warehouse to grow crops Wal-Mart could sell--cutting out some of the produce flown all over creation. And it isn't just fruits and vegetables: Wal-Mart's desire for organic milk has already saved some struggling small dairy farmers. Very interesting to see how this will play out. Read the article to see how blind tasters compared Wal-Mart produce to Whole Foods!

3. Finally, you may be aware that 2010 is not just the Year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese calendar, but Seattle has also declared it the "year of urban agriculture." To this end, urban farm collective Alleycat Acres is trying to put vacant lots in Beacon Hill to urban agricultural use, growing produce for nearby low-income residents. Check out the interesting Seattle Times article, and if you have land to donate in South Park or Georgetown, they'd love to hear about it.