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King County Agriculture Commission seeking members to help grow, strengthen food economy

Summary

Experts in farming, food production and distribution who want to strengthen King County’s vibrant food economy are encouraged to apply for a position on the King County Agriculture Commission.

Story

The King County Agriculture Commission is seeking new board members to help strengthen the county’s farm economy, which is the fourth-largest in Washington state.

Many of the county’s 1,800 farmers continue to face challenges such as land development pressure, climate change, labor shortages, and competition from producers growing on less-expensive ground elsewhere.

Farming and local food production play prominent roles in Executive Dow Constantine’s Local Food Initiative (2014) as well as the Fish, Farm, Flood Agreement (2017). The Agriculture Commission expects to play a significant role in helping achieve the initiative’s goals and in implementing the report’s recommendations.

Created in 1994, the commission advises county managers and elected officials on policies and programs affecting agriculture, including land use issues, promoting and enhancing agriculture and agricultural products across the region, and more.

“The commission serves as a forum to discuss agricultural successes and challenges, and it provides expert advice on how to ensure the agricultural community’s prosperity," said Patrice Barrentine, King County liaison to the commission.

Agriculture Commission members are required to attend six early evening meetings a year over the course of a three-year term, plus some subcommittee work.

King County residents who are interested in applying should have a working knowledge of agriculture and/or food systems in the county, and the ability to work with differing viewpoints to find solutions to complex problems.

Applicants should either be producers of agricultural crops or commodities, or have demonstrable knowledge, experience, and interest in agricultural real estate, food processing, wholesale and retail marketing, produce buying, direct marketing, supply, and finance.

To request an application package or to learn more about the Agriculture Commission, contact King County’s Agriculture Program at 206-477-1556; email patrice.barrentine@kingcounty.gov; or visit www.kingcounty.gov/agcomm.