It’s typically not until a neighborhood shows signs of revitalization that the farm-to-table bistros pop up and artisanal hot dog food trucks roll in. But what if it were possible to flip that formula and food inspired growth?
That’s the plan under way in Rainier Beach, where neighborhood activists are working with the city’s Department of Planning and Development to build a so-called food innovation zone. Inspired by the concept of transit-oriented development—vibrant, urban one-stop-shop communities built near, say, light rail—the project would leverage the neighborhood’s already strong food community to create a “kitchen incubator,” a facility that would cater to local up-and-coming restaurateurs with cooking and business classes and access to a commercial kitchen.
Toss in the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands—a 10-acre tract of greenhouses and gardens, where residents are already farming on city land—and you’ve got a neighborhood ripe for a tasty renewal. The final step in the recipe is a rezoning plan that DPD will submit to the Seattle City Council in December. To which we say: Hey, council, if you plant it, they will come.