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Dear friends,

We are thinking and feeling for you, for your families, friends, neighbors, businesses, and organizations. We are deeply committed to our community, as you are. It’s a special place filled with special people. That’s why we are supportive of restriction efforts to protect and save those special people.

Our mission is to create thriving communities through innovative ideas, collaboration, and action. We have always pursued this mission with energy, great resolve, and a sense of urgency. That is especially true today as we address and overcome this COVID-19 challenge as a community.

Our priorities in these early days of the crisis have been focused on:

1)     Small business support through promotion of how to safely support the local businesses we love. It’s more important than ever to Think Local First and Eat Local First when you buy products and services. These are our friends and neighbors. If we pay it forward a bit now, they will be there to serve us in the future (plus love dividends).

2)     Small business survival by promoting up-to-date, high-quality information and access to resources on our website and trusted partner websites.While on the topic of partners, it is important to note that collaboration between Whatcom County’s business and economic development organizations is at an all-time high. For several years now, Team Whatcom has been steadily building relationships, capacity, and collaborative projects that have delivered strength and sustainability to our local economy. This puts us in a terrific position to not only address our near-term challenges, but to also spring faster out of the slow-down when the time is right to lift much-needed restrictions.

3)     Food production and food security by actively providing solutions to help feed those in our community who are hungry. Our efforts are highly coordinated with others as we participate on Whatcom Unified Command’s Food Security Work Group and take advantage of the incredible capacity we have built through the Food Recovery Initiative in the past two years. In partnership with dozens and dozens of local businesses and organizations with extra food, and our friends at the Miracle Food Network with the best volunteers in the world, we have distributed thousands of prepared meals and other nutritious food in just the past two weeks. We’ll keep actively working in the coming months to help relieve a growing hunger problem in our community.

In addition to food recovery, our Food & Farming team is working long days and nights to provide more and more ways to support local farms and food producers, helping them to connect to new markets as many traditional markets get closed or restricted. Help us by supporting producers through www.EatLocalFirst.org.

Our team in Everson, working so hard at the Lawrence Road Farm and Cloud Mountain Farm Center, are producing and distributing some of the best produce and food-producing plants in the region. If you are working to grow more of your own food, check out our nursery selection, where orders online and over the phone can be shipped to your home or prepared for free pick-up at the farm.

4)     Recovery planning through Team Whatcom as the Economic Recovery Work Group associated with Whatcom Unified Command. We’re still in reaction mode primarily, but soon we’ll be shifting gears to planning. We’re very interested in your ideas, so don’t hold them back.

We are a strong, connected and caring community. Together, we have an opportunity to emerge from this crisis stronger, better connected and more caring. That’s a hopeful future I can get behind.

If you can support our work, donate here.

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