Transition Whatcom

Hi folks,

re: planning for a food security summit, I've been working with a small group to plan the formation of a food network in Whatcom County, to work toward all of us being coordinated in some way. We plan to pull together all the organizations and groups that are working on or within the food system in April or May.

Here's the details:

What do we hope to accomplish by establishing the Whatcom Food Network?

 Purpose Statement (draft)
The Whatcom Food Network is working to build common understanding and facilitate collaborative efforts toward a healthy and equitable food system for all.

Actions to Guide the Work of the Network

  • Identify overlaps and collaborate on opportunities to build community capacity toward a healthy and equitable food system for all.
  • Gain a collective understanding of system-wide barriers and gaps.
  • Identify potential partnerships and opportunities to leverage resources.


Long Term Overarching Functions

  • Increase communication among food system-related organizations, agencies, and institutions.
  • Facilitate collective work toward mutual goals (This last one is place holder for the longer-term and action-based work that might come of having a Network).


Hopefully it is clear from the above Network outline that the purpose is to coordinate and find common ground.

We have had lots of discussions about community engagement events that might map a common vision for food security, or create actions and plans, but we feel strongly that the first step must be to bring together the groups that are already working on food system issues to agree to be coordinated in our efforts.

I am particularly excited about your efforts to do some "plant the seed" events because that is exactly what is needed for the general public education, and to work toward a community food security summit that will engage the most people. Yay!

At our last Network planning meeting we discussed the potential overlap between what the Transition food security group is planning and the Network Launch event.

We would like to invite a few of you planning the food security event to join us in planning this Network launch.  The next meeting is 10:30 am - 12 noon on Wednesday, February 2 at the WSU Whatcom Extension office on Forest Street.   Please let me know if you want to join us. We will set the date, plan the agenda and logistics of the Network launch event, and prepare a save the date notice.  

Please contact me if you are interested in joining us! I will not post my personal information here, but you can start by contacting me on this site or at work: 360-647-7093, x 106.

We hope to unify our efforts and to work together!  

with gratitude,


Views: 169

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Laura

Sounds really good!  A small group of us meet several weeks ago to talk over plans for a Food Security Summit (which amazingly had the same goals as the Network- must be 'in the air'!). We decided to spend some time doing more "awareness raising" specifically for farmers, ag folks, and others such as schools, who are interested in food security yet maybe unaware of how declining energy resources/higher energy prices will impact our food supply.  We came to the conclusion that it would make any Food Security Summit (or Whatcom Food Network event- same idea) more likely to be attended by those groups who are more traditional or conservative socially and politically- as the goal of TW is to engage all kinds of people, not just our progressive kindred.  


I didn't hear about this in time to attend, but I hope you'll keep our Food Security Group informed as to next steps.  I am SO glad to hear that this is happening- and glad the seed was planted in fertile ground!  


Laura- For those of us who would like to participate- can you post the meeting dates/times/locations?  I know there are folks in the TW Food Security group who feel strongly that a Whatcom (or whatcom/skagit) food security conference is important, and would like to add to the event.


Hi Kate,

Good to know some may be interested in joining our event planning - do you know who? We had a very productive meeting this week and have two new members of the group. We are we have a draft agenda, a final date, a list of who to invite by next meeting. We meet every 3 weeks, and we agreed the Launch event will be late April. The next meeting is 2/23, 10:30-12noon. Please contact me if you plan to join us so I can let the group know and add you to the planning group listserve.

I don't want to give the impression that we are doing the same thing. The idea of the Whatcom Food Network is not the same as a Food Security Summit/Conference. I was trying to be clear about that in my original post, but perhaps it didn't come across. Check out the book "Networks That Work" - it's a good guide to understanding different levels of action that networks can take, and how to set them up for success.

With formation of the Network, we are first attempting to simply coordinate the efforts of the organizations who are working within the food system already. Until those organizations already doing this work understand which of us is doing work that overlaps, or understand our common goals, we are not yet working together. We are not situated to respond to what would come out of a food security summit, let alone actually be coordinated in our efforts to create a more resilient and sustainable food system. (Please review the purpose statement I posted previously.)

The Network Launch event will be an opportunity for as many of the organizations that are currently working in or on the food system to understand the importance of being coordinated in our efforts and to find ways to work together. It will be a little bit of collective education, and a little bit of engagement in understanding each organizations role, and a little bit of agreement to work together in a coordinated fashion. I am sure that out of the Network Launch event there will be people who want to engaged in the planning of a food security summit.

Please see the Multnomah Food Initiative map. We are at the first phase. :) In our planning group we've often had to remember that we cannot do everything at once -- we all see the need for a community-wide summit! And, we've been reminded by other community processes that it's okay to focus on one thing at a time.

So, I hope that one of you who would like to join this planning effort and bring some of the energy for the food security event will contact me and join us! Again, the next meeting is 2/23, 10:30-12noon. Please contact me if you plan to join us so I can let the group know and add you to the planning group listserve.


We are a small farm raising grass fed meat in the Pleasant Valley area of North Ferndale. We would like to be involved with this movement.

Hi Laura,


I'm interested in attending your Whatcom Food Network meeting tomorrow.  I left a message on your work phone yesterday.  Since I'm working on the Food chapter of the EDAP, I was hoping attending a couple of your meetings would give me a better idea of where your network fits into the whole web of food security activities in our county.


Hi Linda,

I think another person from transition whatcom will be there, too. you are welcome to join in. assuming the weather is predicted to cooperate until noon, we will be meeting at the Extension office on Forest from 10:30-12:00.



Thanks, I'll try to make it if the weather holds up.

Heather and I attended the Whatcom Food Network planning meeting this morning.  I now feel I have a better understanding of what they are doing.  Heather will probably have other impressions to contribute.


They are planning a Food Network event for May.  I'm glad we decided to postpone our idea for a Food Security Summit.  Many of the stakeholders that we would want to invite are actually on this planning team.  So it is good to see the push for this type of event come from them.  They are still struggling with the question of how to structure the event so participants feel it was worth going.  But I feel they are making good progress.


My other thought is that having a Whatcom Food Network gives us, the TW Food Security Group, a contact point for bringing in our focus on building resilience and preparing for peak energy to many various groups.  Their goal (paraphrasing now) is to build through collaboration a healthy and equitable food system.  Much of their work focuses on building a network and providing a organizational structure to work on issues the various organizations have in common. They are building a list of organizations supporting the local food system.  I've asked for a copy so we can compare it to our list that Kate compiled.


As we work toward our goals of awareness raising of energy decline, working on the EDAP and creating projects to fill gaps as they are identified, this will be a good group with which to stay connected.

Thanks Linda

Hopefully Laura used the list we posted on our page, as it was pretty thorough, for a starting point. At least one TW Food Security person should be on thier planning that possible? 

Hi Kate.  Their list and ours does look a bit different.  In fact, for my own purposes, I created a spreadsheet comparing the two.  It helped me see the differences and what we have in common. I've attached both files.  The Whatcom Food Network list is preliminary - still being compiled and adjusted.

Unfortunately, since I'm working on the EDAP, I don't have the time to be on their planning committee. Plus I won't be available in May to attend their planned event.  They do meet every three weeks if someone else is interested.

Linda, Do you know the date/time of the next food-network agency meeting? I was not well enough to make it last weeks meeting.

Did they change the Food Network event from the April dates to May? Is the May date set with location yet?

(Neither links posted would open for me on my slow computer).

May is full time garden & permaculture designing time for me...We gotta grow food & support local growers! Thanks for the work you're doing on EDAP team.


Like Kate has suggested, I hope someone else from TW can attend both their planning meetings & the event! Maybe Pleasant Valley Farm folks who posted above, would be willing to connect with Sustainable Connections & Laura R( 647-7093 x 106) about assisting & attending event & planning meetings.

Hi folks,

the date is set for May 11. We would definitely like to see at least one person from TW. It's going to be an all day event, and it will be good!


The next meeting of the group planning the event is April 6, same place, same time as before. In the meantime, we are working on an electronic save the date and finalizing the agenda.


If someone can commit to coming to the meetings and is interested in planning the event with us I can add you to the list so you can get the meeting minutes and reminders. We've got a little over 5 weeks to prepare for the event.





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