Foodcare for Everyone
Every school, every street, every hospital is a good food farm for the community.
Children participating at a school/parking area garden in garden club. They take the food home and cannot be kept out of the space. They love it!
A garden at a juvenile detention center. The students can join the garden program if their behavior puts them in what is called level 4 or 5. The students most of the time make extra efforts to be meeting requirement. They learn about gardening, team work, good food and what it means to be employable.
A brand new school garden ready for the students to come and plant.
The planning team walks to school remodel project and looks at potential garden placement.
Gardening and eating together is healing. It brings the community together. When we start talking to one another, we learn about our culture and can see that we are not that different after all.
Ozette potatoes harvested by a high schooler. Her face tells the entire story: joyous and victorious. her first time growing anything! And now she can eat this with her family! Ozettes are very special to our area and to our Native Makah Tribe. Learning about this potatoes can meet most standards for Common Core and beyond and help with hands on STEAM education.
Humans became a civilization when we planted a seed and expected a specific result. Our civilization is centered around food, access to food, soil, water and technology that makes eating possible. Students love innovating, learning and experimenting with even the simplest things such as watering with a watering can. Starting with basics leads us into the new and the complex. Innovators and leaders are all around us and they are our youth.
The food gardens can look many things. Long narrow and wide and big, greenhouses and raised beds or plantings in strips along a street.
Some spaces can serve as central gathering spaces for the community. Others can be small and more intimate. The idea is not to turn every settlement into a full on farm but it is that humans can eat without worry, nutritious, delicious food that is grown with techniques that help the environment too.
Sharing food, sharing fun create lasting memories and traditions. We really can regrow our world through public spaces and open access, open sources for food.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Foundation for Sustainable Community DBA Farmer Frog
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small NGO (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Western Wildlife Outreach partner developing our ecosystem supportive practices and demonstration projects of wildlife wise farming methods such as non-lethal predator management.
Snohomish Conservation District is one of our major partners as we organize public education programs together and support front yard conversion projects.
University of Washington Bothell Department of Engineering and School of Business are partners of ours. Their student research and capstone projects we are supporting are centered around smart tech innovations and alternative off-grid climate resilient solutions for food production and environmental protection.
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
United States of America
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Western Washington (64,080 km2) is the area between the Oregon and Canadian border and the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains
What country is your selected Place located in?
United States of America
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I live in Western Washington. I was born and raised in Hungary and immigrated in 1987. My husband and I spent just shy of two years in a UN camp in Austria and were picked up by the USA. We arrived to Denver first and after a miserable few months there in the dry and rocky land, we learned about the green west side of Washington. We moved here in April 1990, fell in love as we drove into Puget Sound and never left. This is our home.
We raised our children here. Our friends and chosen family is here. And we know this place the best. We have traveled to many spots on the Planet and know how amazing it is, but we know this area the best.
While I know that the entire Earth is magical, I think the Pacific NW is one of the most beautiful places. Eastern Washington is more like a prairie. Western WA is generally more wet, has lots of evergreens, mountains, ocean shores, a smaller sea (Salish Sea), lots of streams, rivers, wetlands…for someone who doesn’t mind rain and gray winter sky, this place is a true Paradise.
I love the trees, the wildlife, the very soil and when the sun does come out, there is nothing more beautiful I am sure. Really.
We are both horticulturists, arborists, permaculturists and urban agriculturists. We owned high end landscape construction businesses and taught classes in colleges but ten years ago we started to grow food for the families who lost their homes in our neighborhood. Eventually it grew into a nonprofit organization, Farmer Frog.
I understand this Place. I understand the clouds, the color if the sky, the land, the feeling of the soil in my hand and the sounds critters make in the forest. It is my Home.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
The city of Seattle, picture taken from West Seattle by Andrew Larsen
Picture from a tourist page, Southwest Washington Long Beach shoreline
Port of Tacoma, one of our many ports
Common background in our daily comings and goings are the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges
View from a hill nearby, Bellingham, a city close to the Canadian border
West Tiger lake shore, very common undisturbed natural landscape in our area, forests, swampy marshlands and stream or lakes.
The map highlights Western Washington within the state of Washington.
Western Washington (WWA) is the western one third of Washington State (WA). WA was incorporated in1889 as a state. The Pacific Northwest was considered the farwest. The local tribes were chased off their lands, killed and oppressed. They were moved to reservations. By law they were not citizens and had no voting rights until 1924. Many people were migrating here from Europe, Asia and much later Africa. The region was a frontier for the prospectors, loggers and miners as the terrain was rough. Some of the Asian immigrants started farming on land the European colonizers didn’t want. Forests of enormous trees towering 90+ m tall and with trunks that were 8+ m diameter covered the steep slopes and wet swampy ground. Wildlife was abundant and included large predators. The rivers were teaming with fish. People would walk into the stream and picked up a hundred pounds of salmon with one dip of a net. The shores were full of shellfish and sea-veggies, many things our grandchildren might not know as the sea is declining. Immigrants and the colonizers over the last 150+ years had integrated the local ingredients into their dishes. Industries exploited the natural resources and overfished.
The climate is maritime, humid and typically rainy from end of October through early July with sunny and dry 3-4 months summers.
Our region has become a technology center. Boeing, Microsoft, Nintendo, Amazon, T-Mobile, and many other companies are headquartered here, ports are homes to shipping and fishing companies and the Navy. This resulted in higher than the national average of people with college degrees, higher wages and prices. Because of the cost of living, many people are working full time, yet live in tents, vehicles or with groups of roommates.
One in every four children go to bed hungry on a regular basis. On average the estimated number of houseless children is one for every classroom. While a lot of healthcare organizations are wanting to shift dietary habits, largely poverty driven lack of access to good food is influencing the health of our youth. From behavior to heart and diabetic problems are common among children as young as 1st and 2nd graders.
Agriculture is an important revenue source for our region but the land prices are limiting access to farming. Traditionally more of our food was produced in the eastern part of the state yet the consumers are on the west. WWA is realizing that we must start growing more of certain foods closer to the public as an important solution to limited aquifers and incoming climate crisis.
The Co-Salish Tribes are reviving their traditional foods, land and sea management. The region’s young people are showing interest in modern farming such as indoor growing and aquaponic systems. We have diverse neighborhoods with dozens of languages spoken. People are hopeful in our modern future focused community. At the same time, people who spend majority of their days with tech innovation and research, crave being in nature.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Our region is expanding because of the tech industry, it is also struggling with inequality, rise of white supremacy and hate crimes.
While we are in a booming economy with more construction cranes than Manhattan for years now, poverty is affecting a larger percentage of the population each year. Housing and access to resources are a challenge to many. After they cover basic costs, families have little funds left for anything else. Folks are losing their health benefits.
The strongest arms of our economy are still relying on emission generating industries for support and are slow to change. Transportation is in a gridlock with inadequate mass transit and lack of alternatives.
School districts are trying to save money yet provide food to the students so they use low-quality mass-produced items with 2000+ km attached to them. Most schools no longer have kitchens where they cook, only to reheat over-processed foods. While grocery stores are being built in the suburban areas, these are fancier places with higher priced products and offer less healthy affordable options to the shoppers.
Our access to good food is sacrificed as collateral damage in the middle of these struggles. Land is very expensive thus in urban areas open land is no longer available.
The region is experiencing a growing divide between progressive and conservative ideology and it reflects in our inability to move fast with forward thinking policy changes that are needed. New ideas even if enacted by the state government, are often challenged in the courts and delayed sometimes for many years. At this point we look at each other saying if we still have a nation in 2050, this region will be an important hub. Our climate is projected to become wetter, slightly warmer, windier but not too dry. That means that we will be able to use alternative energy solutions, tide, wind and water besides the already utilized solar systems. But we will also see sea level rise, lose land to it and will have even more people to feed and support while open land will be scarcer. While large number of people will be migrating, we will have an important role receiving climate refugees from all around the world. Different people will bring different traditions and views and the integration of newcomers will be an ongoing project.
Our climate is in crisis and even if we started shifting our practices today, humanity will face serious consequences of this crisis. Pollution from wildfires, the warming of the permafrost and long-frozen viruses released will be just some of the challenges. Health, lifespan, quality of life and creation of strong communities will be some of the big questions for all of us.
We don’t know how we will be impacted exactly. What we do know is that we will need to be flexible and creative as we think about the fast approaching future. I will be 82 years old. I am hoping I will be still active and helping with the work of healing our planet and preserving a good life for all creatures.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Universal Foodcare means easily accessible, free or low cost fresh, nutritious and healthy food for everyone, everywhere. Because we include all creatures on this planet, people and wildlife, flora, fauna and the rest of the kingdoms, foodcare is for the entire ecosystem and all people.
As people can easily find good food, they often gather with neighbors and random strangers, converse about life and learn about one another. Trust builds and friendships develop.
Foodcare provides most of the daily needed fresh produce such as salad materials and fruits in an open source fashion right in the middle of public areas. Some things are growing outdoors and others are inside buildings. Larger indoor production in the cities are managed at shopping and distribution centers, commercial facilities and kitchens and even hospitals. During the storms that ravage the region these indoor containerized growing operations are important continuous supplies of fresh produce and protein sources. These daily needed fresh foods are important basic foods and because all people can easily access these, extreme poverty and hunger no longer exists.
Farms can now grow building materials which impact the cost of housing directly. Material and construction costs are lower so the homes are affordable and there is simply no more houselessness.
Schools use the food grown on campus and the students can and do take excess food home. They learn how to prepare delicious meals right in the classroom as they prepare everything with their instructors in the full kitchen. Policy follows the process. These community based, grassroot efforts proving theory in practice and push for policy to follow.
Young people who want to farm are able to work in the public areas and the owner of the land can provide them with wages as they no longer have to pay for lawncare and parking lot maintenance
Fresh food, healthy diets help the immune system so it can fight off infections and illnesses easier and can also receive vaccinations without complications so overall health is improved. Food directly impacts healthcare therefore open source fresh food in public spaces is essentially the foundation of Universal Healthcare. Food is healing for community as well. Coming and eating together enables us to discover the human in the other and embrace each other’s traditions and friendship.
Using all public land to create healthy natural spaces and incorporate good food for people provides access to fresh foods without limitations and engages people with nature. As the climate is still challenging and humanity is tested on many platforms, we are learning to combine technology and nature in ways that makes life on Earth a unique and worthy experience. Colonies on Mars have started yet keeping Earth, our Home, where it all begun as beautiful and lifefilled as possible is more important to every person than it ever was.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
The ripple effects of Universal Foodcare (UF) are far reaching. Most people who are generally healthy respond well to good food. In children healthy diet works as a preventative of health challenges. Kids can learn better if they eat well. People who can learn better, have fewer behavioral issues to overcome, gain new skills faster, become more confident and can succeed easier. People with better skills, create more easily, innovation flows more freely therefore communities are more resilient and flexible. Successful, confident and satisfied folks result in a happier society. People can work in meaningful jobs as AI is able to complete mundane tasks efficiently. The food system shifted; old jobs gave way to new.
Policy makers are required to conduct townhall meetings every month and receive direct input from the community they serve. Subsidies are supporting public open source food production, ecosystem supportive regenerative agriculture near urban sectors and habitat restoration on lands further away and they help with healthy added value processing at weather resilient distribution facilities. Through the direct feedback loop from people laws can change and adjust as needed at a speed that best serves the health of the community. The new system is inclusive as everyone is heard, seen and matters. Local traditions and culture generate customized implementation of the UF as a main concept. Not to site are the same. The guiding values connect the projects however as the 17 UN sustainability goals and the 10 UN principles are the underlying standards for every location.
Food is a central issue for everyone every day. We must eat and we become what we eat therefore placing food literally at the center of all tables from dining rooms to board rooms and governmental meeting rooms we are able to address the root causes of our systemic failures as well as the very simple goal of living a good life for everyone.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Imagine Foodcare for Everyone Everywhere!
Imagine Foodcare for Everyone Everywhere!
Imagine Foodcare for Everyone Everywhere!
Imagine Foodcare for Everyone Everywhere!
Imagine Foodcare for Everyone Everywhere!
Aquaponic system vertical strawberry wall
Small indoor cabinet sized aquaponic system
Team maintaining crops in the aquaponic house
Possible future streetscape with community tending their gardens
Indoor aquaponic house crop harvest
Flow chart of vision
Food is at the heart of existence as it is the basis for civilization. From art to science, from trade to health, food itself is a fundamental driver. Food is the crucible of change, advancement, development, wars and healing. We can innovate about computers and vehicles and smart cities all day long, but if we do not eat something good for our body every so often during the day, none of our ideas will mean anything to anyone.
I never took food for granted as being raised participating in the growing, harvesting and processing of food taught me to respect and value it. Air, water, food are the three most important things in life for all life on Earth.
My husband, a dear friend and I started a project ten years ago right in my neighborhood to help folks who lost their homes and had nothing to eat. I had no idea how important this work would become for our region. Soon after we started growing food at the elementary school for the houseless folks, we were contacted almost every week by a new school, a new group or community member because they also wanted a food growing garden somewhere in their area by a school or in a street planting strip. Eventually we started talking with our local hospital system and colleges and helped to create campus farms. Neighborhoods decided to turn their front yards into food growing spaces so they could share food with the folks coming by. Today we manage a total of 21 sites of various sizes from .1 acres to 31 acres and support dozens more as experts. All here in Western Washington (WWA).
Doing this work we now understand how many people are impacted by hunger even to the point of starvation in one of the richest parts of the world. We see the root causes of poverty as a system of oppression of the many by a few. The few however are powerful and usually wealthy. What they lack is empathy and confidence. Their actions are based in fear of losing their power or being found out that they in fact lack confidence. Hurt people really do hurt people. Interestingly when people are introduced to genuine sharing, caring and acceptance, most of them experience a deep realization of being loved. From this love people can become good leaders and followers since the best leaders are always also followers.
Food can facilitate this transformation. Food can end poverty. Food does bring us to these moments multiple times a day if we utilize the opportunity of eating to come together. Especially when the people are not worried about their next delicious meal and how will they need to stretch their income to cover all the basic necessities. Less stress and less economical and societal triggered anxiety help people live a calmer and more relaxed daily experience.
Our team understands how much work it is to create food growing areas in public spaces. We see the challenges and we see what needs improvements locally and nationally, as we are actively working on many of the issues from social justice to policy feedback to growing and sharing fresh food and offering hands-on learning opportunities for all ages of people from all walks of life.
Imagine that all public open spaces are growing something good for people and or wildlife! Everywhere. No more lawns, no more acres and acres of parking near acres and acres of flat roofs on one story box stores. It is all full of live and vegetation, edible, medicinal plants or important habitat for the local critters. Buildings are designed wiser with smaller footprint and cities are dense, yet very green livable, walkable spaces where most of the human activity is focused. The urban greenery supports temperature management within the cities. This helps keeping wilderness wild, strengthening the global ecosystem as it is still recovering from the thousands of years of abuse. We are in 2050 -
Families come home from their day and go right back outside to munch on the fruit that is in season. They check their smart City Connect trinket and see what fruits and veggies are available on which city block so they can plan their walk as they go to pick their foods. It is a lot like Pokémon Go used to be, with this special application on their device they can see if a space has more or less pickers, if any area is need of maintenance help and where can volunteers meet up for their preferred community service contribution.
As they walk in the city they chat with others, catch up about each other’s’ days and weeks, share recipes. No cost. Open source food, Universal Foodcare (UF) for everyone. All kinds of birds and insects are hurrying back to their hives or nests as the sun is setting. Folks are heading home with freshly harvested goodies for the dinner and breakfast meals. They will add these to the groceries they have in the kitchen from the distribution hub that is just like a giant yearlong farmers market. When they buy food there, they pay fair prices for it, but because so many fruits and basic veggies are growing in the neighborhoods, at their work, around the schools and even at the clinics, they can afford to pay what the farmers need, so the growers can also have a good living standard. The hubs carry foods that come from other regions and not available locally and things that cannot be grown in the public spaces such as most animal products and staples.
People can purchase all kinds of good in bulk if they want more than what the community space provides. In the hubs the processing operations create added value products for sale as well.
The urban public spaces are food forests and food gardens, habitat corridors and outdoor activity centers. UF does not produce all food needed but supplies a basic nutrition ending hunger and indirectly adding a basic income by reducing the cost of healthy eating. The smart tech solutions integrated maximize efficiency and access for all participants of the food system.
Agriculture and city life sure changed since 2020! We grow our food, clothing, medicine, even much of our building materials now and agriculture has never been more important in history! The gigantic farms outside our urban areas where we used to grow commodities were broken up into smaller acreage so natural habitat restoration could take place between one area and another. Animal agriculture is now regenerative habitat-based system. People eat less animal protein and the animals are raised using traditional ecosystem friendly pastoral practices. The oceans collapsed and they are now left to recover so only restoration activities are allowed in the seas. Fish are raised in aquaponic systems indoors and in the cities. Because so much of the produce people use for daily eating and juicing is now grown in the cities, farmers can concentrate on crops for non-food purposes. Most of our raw materials are now vegetation based or mined from old landfills.
We created a lot of new jobs. They are different and people needed training, but they sure pay well. Everyone contributes to society in some way. Many works and almost everyone volunteers. A community can only thrive if everyone shares in the responsibilities. Paying jobs are enabling people to continue learning and feel dignified about their role in society. Some folks are engaged in growing crops inside or outside the urban area. Shepherds are almost a community to themselves as they are guarding ancient traditional wisdom about nature and move along with their animals season to season in the vast lands. Others are in the city, teaching the community about best management practices and making sure the community members can fulfill their volunteering. Other people started their own businesses and produce added value goods. Because most of the simple tasks and high efficiency processes such as transportation are done using artificial intelligence (AI), technology loving individuals are managing, monitoring and developing solutions and systems 24/7. Because agriculture is the most important and foundational industry now, seed preservation, sharing and research is one of the cutting-edge sciences in 2050.
Important new jobs are centered around cultural relationship development around the Planet. Trade is essential for lasting peace and if it is collaboration based rather than it used to be a competition, it promotes environmental protection and fosters planetary citizenship. Communication and outreach to build authentic relationship between growers, producers, processors and consumers not only generate strong and lasting partnerships, they also influence policy.
Lawmakers and elected officials are in contact with their constituents and receive direct feedback. Codes and regulations are supportive of the new goals of a healthy people living in a healthy ecosystem in healthy relationships with all life and in great appreciation for life. Politicians are required to hold monthly townhall meetings with their voter base. These are regularly scheduled informational gatherings that include eating together meals the community grew, harvested and prepared together.
When food is shared, joy is shared. People tell their stories, explain their experiences, cultural traditions, their understanding of his(hers)tory and through this simple activity they become connected and eventually a bonded group. Climate refugees are moving to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and WWA. Transportation drones are landing with new-arrivals daily. To create a strong community, we must embrace our newcomers instead of fearing the differences we may have from one another.
It will be at least another 50 years before climate stabilizes again. Localized support for each and every member of the community is critical for a long time to come.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?