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Seattle has a lot of smart solutions focusing on promoting food with a conscience. Whether it’s innovative nonprofits, locally-minded restaurants, or neighborhood farmers’ markets, food is something near and dear to most Seattleites’ hearts. Here are a few of my favorite things:
From Food to Work. I have a not-so-secret crush on FareStart—Seattle’s restaurant-slash-job-placement nonprofit. FareStart offers job training programs for homeless or disadvantaged men and women by offering hands-on food-service training, life-skills training, and job placement assistance—with stylish digs and a delicious menu to boot. Equally cool is their restaurant where lunch is prepared by the program’s students, and a guest chef leads the kitchen every Thursday night. An innovative nonprofit that gives visitors a real taste of its work, FareStart has inspired similar organizations throughout the country.
From Farm to City. Seattle is fortunate to draw food from nearby farms, whether through our abundant farmers’ markets, among them the famous Pike Place Market, or through community-supported agriculture programs and produce delivery and distribution operations. Even eating out, restaurants take pride in crafting their menus around local and seasonal ingredients.
From Roof to Table. Jumping on a growing trend in the city, I started my first rooftop garden last spring. More and more, apartment and condo managers are appealing to the green thumbs of urban residents (or at least those not lucky enough to have a P-patch—neighborhood gardens that are in high demand) by offering up-for-grabs soil on their rooftops. A new restaurant, Bastille, even serves salad greens fresh from its roof in the summer.
Counting Calories. Following the trend of many major metropolises, Seattle requires chain restaurants to post nutrition information right on the menu. While the effect is yet to be determined, the city is making an effort to improve eating habits and encourage smart choices.
Street Food Revolution. Albeit a little late in the game, Seattle is undergoing a renaissance of street food, bringing spice to the streets. This weekend, hundreds turned out to a “mobile chowdown“—a gathering of the city’s mobile food vendors—in Interbay. Unlike Portland’s business-centric food carts, most of Seattle’s street food caters to the gourmet.