Food Innovation Network

  • About
  • Local Health Challenge
  • Global Health Strategy
  • G2L Solution
  • Results to Date
  • Opportunities for Scale
  • For More Information

About

The Food Innovation Network includes organizations, educational institutions, local government, and community members working to create pathways for health, wealth, and success through food system revitalization. Members are piloting a food business incubator that will offer cross-organizational resources and commercial kitchen space to underserved entrepreneurs.

By 2018, FIN will develop a Food Innovation Center. The FIN Center will serve as the heart of the food business incubator as well as a community commons for workshops, community kitchens, and other events. With long-term success, the FIN will be able to support additional areas in the food system; finding new ways to bridge the gaps between community, producers, processors, and more. As FIN is not an independent non-profit organization, Global to Local currently acts as the backbone and financial agent for FIN.

Local Health Challenge

SeaTac and Tukwila have twice as many people (39%) living below the federal poverty line and higher mortality rates than the rest of King County, with over 90% of students on free and/or reduced lunch. This community lacks access to healthy food and obesity affects a quarter of the residents. The population experiences 1.5 times the number of diabetes-related deaths as compared to the County average, and 1.2 times the rate of heart disease. At the same time, this area is one of the nation’s most diverse communities in terms of country-of-origin and socioeconomic circumstance. There are more than 70 distinct linguistic groups represented in the area and residents include political refugees seeking asylum, second-generation immigrants, and longtime residents. Communication and effective translation barriers exacerbate challenges around education, employment, and health access.  

Global Health Strategy

  • Linking health with economic development: The link between health and wealth is particularly strong in the United States. Microcredit, microenterprise development, savings programs and other economic development interventions have helped to improve health around the world.
  • Addressing market failure with catalytic investment to spur economic development: Strategic investment in enterprise and job development and training provide economic opportunities for the community, a trained workforce, and increased availability of local capital spurring local industry growth. Additionally, self-employment and small-scale entrepreneurship complement more traditional job training as a pathway to economic self-sufficiency in poverty communities.

G2L Solution

The Food Innovation Network addresses local disparities in health and economic opportunity through a coordinated effort to create entrepreneurial and employment opportunities in the local food sector. The food processing and service sectors are especially compelling to entrepreneurs in immigrant communities searching for culturally appropriate food products. Mobile food trucks, home-based bakers, and produce distributors serving specialized markets are all examples of food entrepreneurs with potential to expand their business and support or supplement their household income.

With demonstrated success, the FIN will be able to support additional areas in the food industry, including a food hub facility as an anchor for producers, processing facilities, commissary kitchens, and more. By looking for opportunities to scare, we can attract food manufacturers, supplies, buyers and programs that serve the community and make the district an attractive destination point.

Results to Date

  • Network member organizations: 14
  • Phase 1 Feasibility Study: Entrepreneurial and Market Assessment for a Food Business Incubator with Commercial Kitchen.
  • Identified over 40 food entrepreneurs in various stages of progress with diverse support needs.
  • 7 Community Food Advocates, trained leaders representing and conducting outreach to diverse communities in the SeaTac-Tukwila area.
  • 2 Community Surveys and 2 Community Listening Sessions reaching 188 individuals.
  • Support for FIN member Project Feast to launch an Apprenticeship program with 4 individuals.
  • Community Food Advocates and Project Feast Apprentices included in steering committee and working group leadership roles.
  • Funding secured through: PICH, Communities of Opportunity, Boeing, and PHPDA to support Network growth as well as member-specific projects.
  • Piloting a food business incubator with commercial kitchen space in April 2016.

Opportunities for Scale

There is great opportunity for scale within the Food Innovation Network. In 2016, FIN’s Pilot Kitchen work group is modeling a food business incubator that will offer cross-organizational resources and commercial kitchen space to a cohort of FIN entrepreneurs. This will be the testing ground for program delivery that will eventually take place in the FIN Center. By 2018, the pilot food business incubator will become part of a larger Food Innovation Center in SeaTac. The Center will serve as the heart of the business incubator as well as a community commons for workshops, community kitchens, and other events.

Read our Phase 1 Food Business incubator Feasibility Study, completed in 2015. We are currently working in partnership with the Matt Griffin YMCA in SeaTac on a business plan for the FIN Center.

For More Information

Visit the Food Innovation Network website: www.foodinnovationnetwork.org

Or Contact FIN Staff