Foodshed Initiative

North Cascades Institute strives to deliver the highest quality meals for all participants at the Learning Center because the food choices we make impact not only our bodies, but our planet too. The methods by which food is grown, processed, transported and prepared has consequences on the air and water that all of life depends on, as well as issues of social justice, local economics and community well-being. It is our goal that Learning Center meals meet as many of our Foodshed Initiative’s goals as seasonally possible, which are

  • Offer appealing, wholesome food choices
  • Serve organic and sustainably produced food
  • Purchase locally grown, seasonally appropriate food
  • Minimize waste
  • Educate about the power of food choice

Thanks to the farmers, ranchers, fishermen and producers in Western Washington, we are able to offer people of all ages food that is both delicious and nutritious, while also educating guests on the choices we can make in how food flows from farms to tables.

Read a story about our how our Foodshed Initiative supports and celebrates Latinx farmers and food culture in the Skagit Valley in this story from the Skagit Valley Herald, October 2019: "From Harvest to Table: North Cascades Institute event highlights Latino farmers

Our Foodshed by the numbers

The year Foodshed Initiative began

Distance in miles from the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center campus that qualifies a producer as a Foodshed vendor

Participant meals served in 2018

Dollars spent with Foodshed vendors in 2018

Dollars spent on organic produce, meat, dairy, beverages, and dry goods in 2018

Target percentage for organic purchasing in 2018 

Actual percentage of grocery budget spent on Organic and Foodshed in 2018

Percentage of fresh produce served in the dining hall that is local and/or organic

Local cage-free organic eggs consumed at an average Mountain School breakfast

Gallons of scratch-made Ranch Dressing consumed during a 12 week Mountain School session

Bananas purchased annually

Year that North Cascades Institute will establish a baseline for dollars spent with minority farmers in our Foodshed

Target percentage for annual growth of spending with minority farmers in each following year

Target percentage for Foodshed dollars spent with minority farmers by 2021

Discover more about our Foodshed Initiative at the Learning Center on our blog

Watch a series of "Foodshed Explorations" videos created by our kitchen team