HSD’s Economic Stimulus Investment Spreads Good

Great local cuisines and restaurants are transforming Seattle’s food economy.

The City of Seattle’s Department of Human Services (HSD) is pleased to announce that we have partnered with Good Food Kitchens, a local food relief and economic development program that is part of the Good Food Economy initiative of the Seattle Good Business Network. As the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, HSD’s investment in Good Food Kitchens and the Seattle Food Pipeline is supporting community members facing food insecurity by creating a more resilient local food economy, sustainable and fair.

Good Food Kitchens was created to meet the needs of the entire local food system. It is not only a food assistance program – a program that primarily ensures that people in need receive fresh, nutritious and culturally relevant meals – but also an economic assistance program, an employment support program and a local food system resilience program.

Mariah DeLeo, Good Food Economy Program Manager

Chef Kristi Brown at That Brown Girl Cooks!

The program, created in response to the growing food insecurity and economic impacts of COVID-19 on the entire food system, supports a wide range of local catering and catering partners who prepare free meals for members of the community in need. Good Food Kitchens programming takes a holistic approach to service that emphasizes the care and dignity of those who receive meals by funding restaurants and caterers who create nutritious, culturally relevant meals that feature local ingredients. The program simultaneously provides economic relief to restaurants and farmers hard hit by lost revenue and pandemic closures, leading to a more resilient and connected local economy.

Mariah DeLeo, Good Food Economy Program Manager, added, “2020 stay-at-home orders and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 have had an overwhelming economic effect on restaurants, farms and our communities. Food insecurity has more than doubled to 2.2 million people in the state of Western Australia. Good Food Kitchens is a community-led program, inspired by the work of the Seattle Community Kitchen Collective and other restaurants and food businesses that have stepped up to support their communities in a time of increased need. Many have been doing this through donations or otherwise at their own expense for almost two years now, and we are so happy to be able to financially support their efforts so they can continue this vital work.

The pandemic has particularly hurt communities of color, and Good Food Kitchens is prioritizing partnerships with BIPOC-owned restaurants and dining partners, 97% of restaurant partners, and 81% of local farms owned by BIPOC. Good Food Kitchens partners include 29 restaurants and caterers, which source portions from 10 local farms and support 21 different community organizations. Their programming is best illustrated in this video they posted on their website, which shows the community resilience created between Musang, Oxbow Farm and SE Seattle Senior Center in Rainier Beach.

Chef Melissa Miranda of Musang fills containers ready for meal delivery
Chef Melissa Miranda in Musang

Good Food Kitchens primarily funds existing community kitchens with established partnerships of community meal providers or those providing direct distribution to those in need. The program also provides matchmaking resources to community organizations and local producers, as needed. This program helps keep restaurant doors open and workers employed safe, while supporting local farms and producers and building long-term relationships with the local supply chain. “As the economy reopens, many restaurants are still clinging to accumulated debt and unstable restaurant traffic as pandemic risks continue to fluctuate, with impacts rippling through the entire supply chain,” said DeLeo.

Funding for Good Food Kitchens comes from individual donations as well as public and private funding. HSD’s support comes through the Seattle Bailout, which invests federal Local Coronavirus Tax Relief (CLFR) funds in programs and initiatives that strengthen the city’s recovery.

Good Food Kitchen Partners (link to PDF of listing):

• This brunette girl cooks!
• Musang
• Mojito
• Pancita
• Ayako and her family
• Frank’s Oyster House
• Feed people
• Project party
• Taku
• Salary
• SCIDpda (Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority)
o Bowl of gourmet noodles
o Ho Ho Seafood Restaurant
o Ton Kiang Barbeque Noodle House
o Dim Sum King
o A more Hong Kong cuisine
o Gan Bei
o Henry’s Taiwan
• Neighborly Needs (a program of Wasat)
o Mugi’s Kitchen
o Phresh Eats
o Andrew Hype
• FIN (a program from Global to Local)
o Jazz Afghani Fusion
o Taste of Congo
o Afella Jollof Catering
o Wengay Kitchen
o Monique’s hot kitchen
o Moyo Kitchen
o Theoretical Cambodian foods

Beneficiaries of the meal:
• Seattle Southeast Senior Center
• YouthCare
• Wa Na Wari
• South Park Community Center
• Seattle Housing Authority
• Food intentions
• Real Change
• Cham Refugee Community Center
• Nickelsville
• Village of small houses
• SCIDpda Residents
• FamilyWorks
• Catholic Community Services
• Partners in employment
• SHAG Residents
• International Rescue Committee
• SNAP customers at the Tukwila Village Farmer’s Market
• Communities at School – Kent
• UGM KentHope
• WA Iraqi Community Center
• Direct delivery to community partner

• 21 acres
• Oxbow Farms
• Namuna Garden
• Lee’s fresh produce
• Hmong friendly farms
• Sariwa Farm
• Wakulima United States
• Collective of black farmers / Yes Farm
• Nourishing roots
• Clean greens
• Dark Star Farmers

Additional facts and information:

Chef Shota Nakajima at Taku handles multiple pots on the stove
Chef Shota Nakajima at Taku
  • Food insecurity affects more people than ever: Food insecurity more than doubled to 2.2 million in Western Australia state in 20201 and has remained high until today. In King County, food insecurity affected 30% of households and of these, 57% had children. Among those surveyed, people of color were 1.5 times more likely to be food insecure than their white counterparts, with South Seattle and South King County experiencing a higher prevalence of food insecurity than anywhere else in the world. the count.2
  • Restaurants remain in crisis: As of December 2020, more than 1,000 restaurants and bars in King County closed permanently, 90% of them independent businesses.3 In 2022, the recreation and hospitality industry accounted for 50.1% of all jobs lost in Washington since March 2020.4 This has particularly affected communities of color, as workers of color make up 46% of the workforce employed in restaurants compared to 30% of the employed population in Seattle as a whole.5, including many undocumented workers who have been unable to access most relief funds. A June 2020 report found that 41% of black-owned businesses had gone out of business by April 2020, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses.6
  • Local suppliers and farmers suffer: Independent restaurants redistribute an average of 94% of all revenue in the economy, with 79% going to local businesses, including farms and food producers.7 In a January 2021 survey, nearly half of all farms surveyed in Washington State (48%) experienced a loss of revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, with the largest impacts related to the closure of restaurants and other market closures.8

  1. Katie Rains, WSDA estimates 2.2 million food insecure people in WA, November 2020
  2. UW, WSU: Economic Security and Food Access During the COVID-19 Pandemic: King County, June-July 2020.
  3. WHA via Eater, nearly 20% of Seattle restaurants permanently closed during the first six months of the pandemic, December 2020.
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington in a nutshell
  5. ROC United, The Great Service Divide, ROC Seattle (July 2020)
  6. National Bureau of Economic Research, The Impact of Covid-19 on Small Business Owners: Evidence of Early-Stage Losses from the April 2020 Current Population Survey, June 2020.
  7. Sonntag, Viki. Why local connections matter: Findings from the local food economy study. April 2008.
  8. UW, WSU, WSDA, WA Farm Brief 1 – Impacts and Adaptations of COVID-19 Among Washington State Farm Businesses, March 2021.

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Edward L. Robinett