I am trying to answer two questions:
What percentage of food consumed in Bellingham is produced in Whatcom or Skagit counties?
What percentage of food consumed in Whatcom County is consumed in Whatcom county?
thanks to anyone with answers (with references) or ideas for tracking down the data!
(this is not the only place I'm asking, but the answers are strangely illusive...)
Let us know if you find the answer. In 2008-2009 I participated in the Bellingham and Whatcom County Energy Scarcity/Peak Oil Task Force (ERSPO), where Food and Agriculture was one of our areas of concern. Gigi Berardi from WWU wrote that section of our report. I don't think the data exists to answer your question precisely. From the report I have gleaned the following:
Whatcom County is in the top 3 percent of U.S. farm counties in the U.S. Lynden's Darigold plant is one of the top 10 producers of powdered milk in the U.S. and 65% of the country's raspberry products comes from Whatcom County.
Farm acreage was reduced by about a third in the five years from 2002 to 2007 in Whatcom County.
It is the small scale farms that are producing local food for local markets; Bellingham Farmers Market saw a growth in vendor sales from $288,888 in 1993 to $1,154,112 in 2006.
Still, most of the food consumed in Whatcom County is produced outside our region, and most of the food produced in Whatcom County is consumed outside our region (no specific numbers are given).
A "Future of Food" panel at WWU in 2008 concluded that it is possible for Whatcom County to become self-sufficient in growing and producing food.
There are about 9 pages on Food and Agriculture in the report. You can download it by going to the TI Resources page here on this site, and click on the link there (or here) to download the ERSPO Report (large pdf file).
You might want to contact Gigi Berardi at WWU's Huxley College to see if she has more current or new info.
FYI, from Shannon Maris' Garden E-News
Food Gardening in the U.S. at the Highest Levels in More Than a Decade
- 35% of all households in America, or 42 million households, are growing food at home or in a community garden, up 17% in five years
- Largest increases in participation seen among younger households - up 63% to 13 million since 2008
- 2 million more households community gardening - up 200% since 2008
Press release from the National Gardening Association
Williston, VT (April 2, 2014)
Less than two percent of the food consumed in Whatcom County is produced in Whatcom County, and adding in Skagit doesn't change the answer.
Less than two percent of Whatcom County's farm gate stays in the Fourth Corner, and that includes the dairy products that Edaleen makes from the million gallons of milk that they produce here and distribute widely to area stores.
Source: That's the answer I got a few years ago when I asked the WSU Ag Extension folks that same question.
Dairygold produces powdered milk, most of which is exported. It is actually possible to buy a 50 lb sack of LOCAL powdered milk at Cash and Carry, something few counties can claim.