Last winter, GRuB’s board adopted a set of Climate Priorities & Practices which articulate how we aspire to put our mission into action around climate change.
During this time of accelerating climate disruption, we call on the role of agriculture in climate change mitigation and justice. A climate-just food and farm system includes much more than just particular agricultural practices, as it also must address racial justice, food sovereignty, and historic and current power dynamics both in the community and in our relationship with land.
The following principles and practices are some aspects of climate-forward food and farm systems; at GRuB, we seek to integrate these into our growing spaces, and to model, promote, and teach through our programs, operations, and partnerships. For each priority listed here, we’ve included an example or two of how GRuB’s programs model, promote, and teach these practices, AND we’re also sharing a few areas where we see room for improvement or deepening the practice. We hope you’ll be part of this conversation as we continue to adapt and evolve!
Local and seasonal food (whether from backyard gardens or local farms) reduces transportation miles, packaging, and food waste.
- What GRuB already has in place: All of our programs feature local, seasonal food, and help share tools and resources for people to increase access and skills. Our youth team just made delicious soup with vegetables that overwintered on the farm!
- Where we can do even better: Even more emphasis on seasonal foods in our events and meals.
Biodiverse growing spaces (such as crop rotation, polycropping, and diverse varieties) increase ecological resilience.
- What GRuB already has in place: Our farm features diversity in many ways: perennial & annual crops, cultural ecosystems and cultivated spaces, crops from different regions of the world and many different varieties. We’re letting our overwintered brassicas go to flower to support spring pollinators.
- Where we can do even better: More demonstrations of and learning about diverse growing techniques, plus interpretive signage or videos that deepen people’s learning about these techniques.
Farming with low use of fossil fuels & minimal chemical inputs protects our air, water, and soil. Locally-produced or farm-generated inputs reduce fossil fuels and lead us towards more closed-loop and ecologically-centered systems.
- What GRuB already has in place: We incorporate organic practices on our farm; most of the work is powered by people rather than fossil fuels.
- Where we can do even better: Our garden-building program uses material intensive raised beds, and utilizes a large truck to deliver materials. We could also encourage more biking, public transit or carpooling to get to work in person, as well as ongoing remote work when appropriate.
Farming practices such as cover cropping and perennial plants remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in plants and soil.
- What GRuB already has in place: We promote perennial systems such as food forests and cultural ecosystems, and use annual cover groups to minimize bare soil and fix carbon year round.
- Where we can do even better: Incorporate more perennials and cover crops into our backyard garden program.
Locally adapted plants and animals are more resilient in the face of climate disruption. Wild foods & medicines grow here already, and--provided they are foraged or raised in alignment with sustainable harvest principles--decrease our reliance on cultivated agriculture with its potentially higher impacts.
- What GRuB already has in place: Our Wild Foods & Medicines programs provide abundant resources to learn from and with the plants of this region. So much food is available in the forest, prairies, and beaches around us!
- Where we can do even better: Integrate Wild Foods & Medicines with all of our other program areas, and share resources more broadly with partners. Teach and learn more about plants such as redwoods and Garry oaks that are tolerant to extremes of weather.
A locally-centered food system is conducive to relationship-building, both between eaters and growers; and by connecting people with the land, plants, animals, and cultural traditions that are the source of their food. Informed, related, and engaged eaters do make a difference!
- What GRuB already has in place: Our work is all about building connections among people, land, and communities. Many, many people have had life-changing experiences through GRuB, and share a deep love of our land and farm.
- Where we can do even better: More opportunities for leadership, relationship building, and leveraging GRuB resources to support community-led initiatives.
Our food system is more resilient and adaptable when farms are locally-owned, represent diverse economic models, and farmers have long-term tenure with their land.
- What GRuB already has in place: A parcel of the GRuB land is held by the Community Farmland Trust with a 99 year lease; this balances long-term tenure with communal holding of land. We value and uplift reciprocity and gift economies across our programs and relationships.
- Where we can do even better: More decision-making for youth in what happens with the food grown on the GRuB farm.
We honor, support, and celebrate cultural traditions for growing, gathering, preparing, and sharing food.
- What GRuB already has in place: Culturally relevant teaching and content through all of our programs, especially Wild Foods & Medicines. Community advising processes are underway in many of our program areas.
- Where we can do even better: More representation of people from diverse cultural backgrounds in leadership for all of our programs. Offering our land and building to community partners.
We need pathways for people from all backgrounds & cultural traditions in our region to thrive as farmers, including access to land, capital, training, mentoring, markets, and social and cultural support.
- What GRuB already has in place: Collaboration with partners to build pathways for Veterans to move into agriculture, addressing barriers of mentoring, land access, training, and community.
- Where we can do even better: More support and resources for youth considering farming, and exposure to diverse farm models.
Healthy food is a human right, and all people deserve access to food that is nourishing for their bodies, culturally-relevant, accessible, usable, and affordable. Further, food sovereignty is the right of peoples to define and control their own food and agricultural systems, and must be central in climate justice.
- What GRuB already has in place: Partnership with SNAP-Ed supports individuals in accessing healthy food, and increases community agency and self-determination.
- Where we can do even better: Provide spaces for more nuanced conversation and community education about health equity and food sovereignty.
We honor the land as a living partner in our work, and are called to decolonize our thinking and actions around land.
- What GRuB already has in place: Our Wild Foods & Medicines programs and resources celebrate cultural traditions connected to the land, and the powerful teachings of plants, plants, and peoples of this region.
- Where we can do even better: GRuB occupies and “owns” ancestral lands of Coast Salish peoples. We recognize a need and opportunity to be accountable and responsive to Indigenous community members in addressing historic and current inequities related to their lands.
We strive for GRuB operations to minimize climate impact.
- What GRuB already has in place: We purchase supplies locally.
- Where we can do even better: We can install solar panels, adopt more energy saving measures, and reduce paper waste.
We collaborate locally, regionally, and nationally to share resources and leverage change.
- What GRuB already has in place: We partner with so many innovative and insightful individuals and organizations who take leadership in this area.
- Where we can do even better: We can tell more of their stories and promote their vision through GRuB channels!
In this vein, we are pleased to share the innovative and creative initiatives of our collaborators across the region, and encourage you to learn more about their projects and how to support them.
- The Swinomish tribe and their initiatives to build clam gardens, combining traditional ecological knowledge with contemporary resource management to mitigate climate change and increase food security.
- Thurston Climate Action Team and their priority around growing food and native plants to sequester carbon on public lands.
- Haki Farmers Collective and their research to grow culturally relevant grains, greens, and roots from around the world in this region.