Foodshed Initiative

Foodshed-Anne-SchwartzNorth 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

  1. Offer appealing, wholesome food choices
  2. Serve organic and sustainably produced food
  3. Purchase locally grown, seasonally appropriate food
  4. Minimize waste
  5. 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!

In 2015, 70% of the food we served at the Environmental Learning Center was local and/or organic, and we contributed $130,357 to organic distributors and local farmers, fishers and roasters!

Read local media coverage of our Foodshed Initiative:

"The Natural Connection: Food/people/ecosystem in North Cascades Institute’s Foodshed Initiative" Mount Baker Experience, May 2014

"Culinary experience and expertise: For North Cascades Environmental Learning Center chef Shelby Slater, quality is the key," Skagit Valley Herald, October 2013

Watch a video about our Foodshed Initiative:

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

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Field Guide to North Cascades Institute

Foodshed Partners

Blue Heron Farm
Organic farming in the Skagit Valley since 1979

Jones Creek Farm
Fruit and vegetables from the Skagit Valley

Moka Joe Coffee
Single Origin coffee roasted in Anacortes

Nooksack Delta Ranch
Naturally raised grass-fed beef in Whatcom County

Osprey Hill Farm
Delicious, fresh produce from Acme, WA

Taylor Shellfish Farm
Growing shellfish in the bays and inlets of Puget Sound in Washington for over 100 years

Viva Farms
Viva Farms provides new farmers affordable access to education, training and technical assistance; capital and credit; land and markets.

Nerka Sea Frozen Salmon
Pre­mium qual­ity wild salmon from Alaska