History of the Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance
The Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance (KCAA) is a volunteer organization established in 2007 to promote local food and local farms. Many current members were members of a prior organization know as the Kitsap Food and Farm Alliance.
These are the stated objectives of the Alliance:
Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance (KCAA) is a community membership organization dedicated to promoting the bonds between agriculture and the community in the Kitsap Peninsula.
In 2009, the board set out to extend these objectives and construct a plan with measurable benchmarks to achieve something very worthwhile:
“To build a local food network.”
The 2009 effort is best described by our Task Force Outline.
How Many People Does The KCAA Reach?
KCAA as of July, 2010 has a list of over 300 paid individual members that is growing and a community mailing list of just under 1400. We are adding members and people to our list at a rate of an average of 20 per month.
KCAA has attracted a solid core of task force members, all volunteers, who wish to join a task force group and work to complete the objectives developed by the group. In May of 2009 this core of volunteers numbered 31 and is growing. A copy of our task force outline is attached.
KCAA holds one educational meeting per month, somewhere in Kitsap County. The topics are usually “how to’s” on farming and farm business subjects of interest to farmers, wanna-be’s, consumers and anyone interested in local food.
KCAA also participates in other organizations’ events as a presenter such as the Great Peninsula Future Festival, Cabin Fever and other events that fly the local food and community flag.
Members of KCAA are active researchers and participants in the local food movement as it is sometimes known. Their research and opinions are published on www.BuyLocalFoodInKitsap.org and are used by journalists, government agencies, farmers and others interested in local food as an authoritative source of information and help. Our members include farmers, consumers, value-added processors, PhDs, professionals, business owners and others.
In June of 2008, KCAA created www.BuyLocalFoodInKitsap.org as a means to extend its reach, provide exposure for the organization and its members and draw more participation. Here is a snapshot
of our monthly traffic statistics for the blog since inception:
In February of 2009 thanks in part to a $9,000+ sponsorship, the KCAA produced a television commercial and aired it on local cable television to promote community Supported Agriculture. One thirty second commercial has been aired directing traffic to a landing page at www.BuyLocalFoodInKitsap.com. The commercial is visible as a video in the left hand column on the site. In just two months nearly 250 people have left their information to receive a call from a farmer offering CSA farm shares in 2009 and many times that number have clicked through to member and farmer sites.
As an indirect result, the Community Supported Agriculture and the KCAA were the subject of several front page “Business Spotlight” articles in our county newspaper, the Kitsap Sun. What this means is that the KCAA and the weblog are achieving our mission of becoming an authoritative voice for the production and consumption of local food in Kitsap.
Recognizing the importance of the Puget Sound Meat Producers Co-op initiative in April of 2009 KCAA presented the PSMPC to an audience of over 100 people. At the end of the meeting 12 people or organizations became new members or associate members of the co-op and some purchased preferred stock to help capitalize the startup. This was the beginning of a focused effort by KCAA to promote investment by local investors in local food projects.
On September 15, 2009 the KCAA produced the Peninsula Local Food Chef Showoff, a four hour local food, local music and farm educational event that attracted some 400 attendees and drew heightened attention to the issues of farmland preservation, farmer succession and connecting new and younger farmers to land. Some thirteen chefs prepared food 95% procured from more than 15 farmers and value added processors on the peninsula to the delight of everyone in the hall. Farmer Nash Huber of Nash’s Organics and Kate Dean of WSU-Extension-Jefferson provided the enlightening education for the evening.
2010 saw the continuation of improving the content and appeal of our monthly meetings which we began to hold in different locations throughout the county to make it more accessible to more people who feel that driving the length of the county prevents them from coming to our meetings regularly.
In April of 2010 the KCAA initiated a local radio program on radio station KITZ 1400 AM. A thirteen week broadcast trial was initiated every Saturday from noon to one pm and the program was named www.BuyLocalRadio.org. The program has featured important guests form the Kitsap Business and Cultural Landscape including Monica Downen of Monica’s Waterfront Bakery and Cafe’, Jocelyn Waite of Pegasus Coffee House, Paul Hunter, Lary Coppola, publisher of the Kitsap Business Journal and currently mayor of Port Orchard, Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, Kathy Cocus of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, John Wilson of JCM Artists, George Hall and Ron Rogerson of Kitsap Credit Union, Marilyn Holt of Abundantly Green Farms, Deborah McDaniel of Bremerton, Green Drinks, David Nelson, editor, Kitsap Sun, Cynthia Mora of Rodstol Lane Farm, Robin Lynn, jazz vocalist, Peter Spencer, blues guitarist, Jon Doll, folk musician, Paul Festag, musician and others.
In June of 2010 we returned to Bremerton to conduct a joint meeting with the Kitsap Regional Library and the Kitsap Sun. We filled the public meeting room at the Norm Dicks Center which hold just under 350 people.
In July of 2010 we held our meeting with about 70 people to hear Paul Hunter, author, musician and more at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island. This was a continuation of effort to educate people about the need for small farm conservation. The Great Peninsula Conservancy and the PCC Farmland Trust were also featured that evening.
Our 2010 Harvest Meal will be held at the Bremer Student Center on the campus of Olympic College, 1600 Chester, Bremerton, WA on September 19, 2010 from around one to 5:00 pm. The food promises to be even better than the 2009 event and we will have music, sponsor displays and speakers to continue our efforts to promote farmland conservation.