A new organization was born in 2016 when Seattle Tilth, Tilth Producers and Cascade Harvest Coalition merged -- we are now Tilth Alliance! We realized that the most effective way to get more people growing and eating healthy food is uniting farmers, eaters, gardeners, cooks and environmental advocates to champion a sustainable food culture. Read more about the new organization.
Puget Sound Fresh was launched in 1998 by King County in close partnership with the King County Agriculture Commission to assist local farmers in the 12 counties that surround Puget Sound to market their products, enabling them to keep their land in production and encourage development of new farm enterprises.
The program provides consumers with resources and tools to help them identify and make informed choices on how to find and purchase seasonal and locally grown, raised or harvested foods. The Puget Sound region supports a diversity of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry, fish and shellfish, eggs, herbs, flowers and a wide variety of value added-farm products such as preserves, ciders and wine, cheese and many others. The program also helps consumers connect with on-farm experiences such as U-Picks, special on-farm events and pumpkin patches.
In addition, Puget Sound Fresh provides information for those seeking agro-tourism experiences that feature the foods of our farms, forests and waters and the people who produce it. Whether it's attending hands-on cooking classes and harvest festivals, connecting with local chefs and winemakers or spending quality time with local farmers via farm tours and farm stays, culinary/agritourism offers a distinctive opportunity to connect with our agricultural heritage in unique ways.
Throughout the years, Puget Sound Fresh has also served to raise awareness of the numerous economic, environmental and health benefits of local agriculture and actively works with consumers, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants and institutions to incorporate local food.
In 1999, the program was joined by Snohomish County, and then followed by Kitsap County in 2001 and Pierce County in 2002.
Since its inception, the Puget Sound Fresh logo has been adopted by farmers, farmers markets, retailers and sustainably-minded businesses throughout the region. The program was expanded to include logo identification that includes Select Kitsap, Puget Sound Fresh: Pride of Pierce County and Puget Sound Grown: Appellation. In 2010, a new program, "Fresh From the Forest" was developed to reflect incorporation of sustainably raised forest products into the program.
In early 2002, Cascade Harvest Coalition, a regional non-profit agricultural education and advocacy organization, incorporated Puget Sound Fresh as part of their programming and in November, 2013 to incorporate all counties in Washington State.
For more than a decade, Cascade Harvest Coalition has worked to address issues affecting the local food and farm system by building awareness and affecting change for the important economic, environmental, social and cultural aspects of farming in the region; promoting preservation and protection of farmlands and farming resources; enhancing community food security by improving access to locally-produced food; and working collaboratively with individuals and organizations to effectively identify and address issues facing the local food system.
In 2016, Cascade Harvest Coalition merged with Seattle Tilth and Tilth Producers becoming Tilth Alliance. Read about Tilth Alliance on our blog! Cascade Harvest Coalition’s main programs, Puget Sound Fresh, FarmLink and Food Lust, found a new home with Tilth Alliance, helping create a new more impactful and inclusive organization. By uniting farmers, eaters, gardeners, cooks and environmental advocates, Tilth Alliance can better champion a sustainable food movement with greater potential for influence and change. Thank you for reading this history and being a part of this exciting movement!