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Good Food Kitchens Supports Food Access And The Local Economy

Good Food Kitchens takes an innovative, holistic approach to food access while never losing sight of supporting local, independent food businesses and producers.

Presented by Seattle Restaurant Week April 12, 2022

The team at Project Feast prepares community meals

Image: Project Feast

Since 2020, Seattle Restaurant Week has evolved alongside an incredibly creative and resilient restaurant industry, and been reimagined with a greater focus on community care and support for the local food economy. Through Give a Meal, participating restaurants provide opportunities for diners to support community meal programs, whether that is through Good Food Kitchens or their own in-house program, in recognition of all the amazing community work being done throughout the industry.

Good Food Kitchens began as an initiative to help address food insecurity from the beginning of the pandemic, inspired by the dedicated work of the Seattle Community Kitchen Collective and other tireless restaurateurs and chefs who turned to care for their communities at a time of incredible need. Seattle Good Business Network– an economic development nonprofit that also organizes Seattle Restaurant Week– sought to support those restaurants who were providing free meals to community service providers and directly to individuals in need through donations and at their own expense, even as their own doors were initially shuttered.

Melissa Miranda of Musang

Image: Lauran Max

Through support from King Conservation District and Harvest Against Hunger, restaurants supported by Good Food Kitchens were also able to source ingredients directly from local farms, creating long-term supply chain relationships. This innovative approach strengthens the local food economy and ensures a food assistance model centered on dignity, providing restaurant-quality, nutritious, and culturally relevant meals for those it serves. By ensuring the stability of restaurant businesses and employment for staff, the overall community need for financial assistance is reduced, ensuring markets for local producers are intact, extending to them the same economic security.

Adama Jammeh and Oumie Sallah of Afella Jollof Catering at Spice Bridge

Image: Spice Bridge

YouthCare is one of the 19 community organizations receiving meals from Good Food Kitchens’ restaurants and catering partners. They offer individualized, comprehensive care tailored to the unique needs and goals of over 1,500 young people each year. With 14 sites across the city, it provides outreach, prevention, shelter, housing, education, and employment training, as well as a range of community partnerships, such as legal aid, behavioral healthcare, and post-secondary support. YouthCare ensures that young people experiencing homelessness have the hope, skills, and self-confidence needed to achieve long-term stability.

Janet Becerra of Pancita seasoning a salsa in her mothers molcajete.

“Even though the pandemic made things feel very isolated, food brought life into our program kitchens once again! Since Good Food Kitchens came into the picture,  we have been able to provide delicious restaurant-quality meals to our youth and staff! These meals serve as a reminder that even during difficult times there are people who care.” - Alexis Silva, YouthCare Community Engagement and Volunteer Specialist

Delicious meals from Pancita headed to YouthCare.

Image: Pancita

To ensure the youth that is served receive high-quality meals that are mindful of dietary needs and preferences, YouthCare works in close collaboration with Good Food Kitchens restaurant and catering partners, including That Brown Girl Cooks!, Taku, Pancita, and Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor. All four partners are participating in Seattle Restaurant Week as well, giving YouthCare recipients and Seattle Restaurant Week diners the same opportunity to experience these exceptional culinary experiences.

Shota Nakajima of Taku prepares 150 meals in his restaurant.

In 2021, Good Food Kitchens directed over $100,000 to 25 restaurant and catering partners, who in turn reinvested those dollars into 11 local farms, to create meals for 19 community organizations. With the support of federal Covid-19 recovery funding, the program has expanded to support the provision of at least 75,000 meals by the end of 2022. Their goal now rests on grassroots support in order to sustain food access and a sustainable local economy for years to come.

Braised greens for community meals at Taku

South Lake Union is helping to support this goal with a community challenge and will match funds if $5,000 in donations to Good Food Kitchens is received between April 3rd through 16th. This means any donation made through the promotion doubles in value, helping to ensure meaningful, long-term progress in supporting our community as it continues to recover from the economic impact of Covid-19. Learn more and support here.

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