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Business Participation

September is Eat Local Month! It’s the time of year we go BIG to encourage our community to support local food businesses, educate them on the importance of eating local, and celebrate the bounty that’s in our backyard!  We take every opportunity to tell the story of local food businesses through special events, media, and partnerships.

3 Ways to Participate

  • Whatcom County Farm Tour (Saturday, Sept 17)
  • Eat Local Month Restaurant Specials (all September long)
  • Create your own event (and we’ll help promote it)
See details below and sign up by June 17

Participant Benefits

Participants reap the benefit of inclusion in our September Eat Local Month printed guide. In addition, participants receive extra PR, media, web and social media promotion. Here is a snapshot of our current digital reach:

  • Our Eat Local First Northwest Facebook page has over 3.9k followers, and our Sustainable Connections Facebook page has more than 8.6k followers
  • Our Eat Local First Northwest Instagram page has more than 3.3k followers, and our Sustainable Connections Instagram page has more than 3.1k followers
  • The Eat Local First newsletter goes out to over 3.2k subscribers, and the Sustainable Connections newsletter goes out to over 14.6k subscribers

Not to mention, Eat Local Month is just plain fun and a great way to better connect with your customers! But don’t take our word for it, here are what past attendees had to say about their experiences during Eat Local Month:

 We loved the dairy tour we took. What a wonderful family operation with a great history. Wandering the grounds and seeing the cows and the final delicious products was a treat!

2019 Farm Tour Participant

It was fun to see what dishes and local ingredients the participating restaurants came up with. I really hope they continue to let diners know when they use local ingredients, as that is often a deciding factor for me in choosing from the menu

2018 Eat Local Month Particpant

It was just great to learn about all the variety of local food available. Definitely gave me more appreciation for local producers. And more willing to pay higher prices for higher quality products!

2018 Eat Local Month Particpant

How to Participate

  •  
Be a farm stop on the Whatcom County Farm Tour

The Whatcom County Farm Tour is back! We’re thrilled to bring back this beloved event. This year’s Farm Tour will be a one-day event held on Saturday, September 17th. This is a great opportunity to connect consumers with how their food is grown, caught, raised, and made. We hope you will consider opening your doors to the community so they can learn, explore, and share the love of local food with you!

Please see the guidelines below.

  • Be a member of Sustainable Connections
    • To participate in the Farm Tour you must be a member of Sustainable Connections. Not a member yet? No problem! Membership starts at just $15.89/month or $190 for the year (based on annual revenue). To learn more about membership and to sign up, check out our website. https://sustainableconnections.org/businesses/membership/
  • Pay the $75 fee to participate
    • A lot of time and effort goes into getting the community excited to visit your farm and purchase your products. We start planning months in advance and put a lot of staff resources toward advertisement, outreach, printed materials, and logistics. Fees are used to cover a small fraction of these costs so we can make the event fun and successful for everyone. (Fees will not be collected until we have reviewed all applicants and finalized participants.)
    • * Neighboring farms interested in collaborating and marketing their events together can sign up together and receive a $10 discount per farm.
  • Agree to schedule a meeting with a member of our Food and Farming Team
    • We will send a team member out to your farm to go over logistics and to bring you materials for promotion leading up to and during the Farm Tour. Once you’re a confirmed participant, we will reach out to you to schedule a time to meet in early August. 
  • Provide your own staff and volunteers
    • Having staff on site to answer questions, direct parking, guide activities and conduct sales is your responsibility. You will need to have adequate staffing to accommodate several hundred people on the day of the tour. Unfortunately, we will not be providing volunteers this year but you are welcome to bring on your own volunteers! 
  • Restroom facilities
    • You must provide a public restroom or rent a portable toilet for the day.
  • Sanitation
    • It’s your responsibility to ensure that pathogens don’t get transferred between humans, animals, or crops. We encourage you to have a hand wash station, or at least have sanitizer available. You may also consider having a place to sanitize shoe soles.
  • Certificate of liability
    • We will need a copy with Sustainable Connections named as an Additional Insured on a minimum $500,000 liability policy (this should be quick, easy and affordable by contacting your insurance company). We need this certificate in hand ASAP after your farm is confirmed as a stop.
  • Parking
    • Farms can anticipate an average range of 200-500 visitors during the Farm Tour, and should be able to accommodate 40-50 parking spots at any given point in the day (9AM-4PM). Also consider this as you assess your staffing needs (whether or not your location will need a parking attendant/guide).
  • Education and activities
    • We ask that you do something beyond your normal farm operations to teach the public about local agriculture. Activities can be just for fun, but we ask that you offer at least one opportunity for education. Examples include self-guided tours, a demonstration, interactive educational experiences, etc. Sustainable Connections is happy to provide guidance in creating an experience that fits your farm.

If you’d like to participate, please fill out the Eat Local Month participant application before June 15th, 2022.

Be a featured restaurant during Eat Local Month

We’re looking for restaurants that are excited about local food to be featured during the month of September. Experiencing local food through the creative lens of our local chefs is a great way to get the community more curious and invested in what our food system has to offer. In addition to being heavily promoted on our website and social media channels, featured restaurants will be listed in our Eat Local Month guide and listed on our website event pages for the entire month of September.

See the guidelines below.

  • Be a member of Sustainable Connections
    • To participate in Eat Local Month you must be a member of Sustainable Connections. Not a member yet? No problem! Membership starts at just $15.89/month or $190 for the year (based on annual revenue). To learn more about membership and to sign up, check out our website. https://sustainableconnections.org/businesses/membership/
  • Eat Local Month Specials
    • Create one special Eat Local Month appetizer composed of 50% or more of locally sourced ingredients.
    • Create one special Eat Local Month entree composed of 50% or more of locally sourced ingredients.
    • *We define local as food grown, caught, harvested, or made in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Island counties.
  • Promotion
    • A huge portion of the success of Eat Local Month is directly tied to our local Producers and Buyers actively promoting one another.  We know that farms are proud to be featured in local restaurants, and local restaurants are proud to be able to tell their local food seeking customers exactly where the kale in their salad came from, or that the cheese on their pizza was crafted within a 20 mile radius! We need our participants to be committed to telling the story of their local sourcing in the following ways:
      • Commit to having something on each table for the month of September that tells the consumer where we sourced the local ingredients in our Eat Local Month specials. This can be on your menu and/or a table tent.
      • Commit to making sure all of my Front of House staff are aware of the Eat Local Month Specials, and will be able to tell customers the farms we are featuring to create them (i.e. “We have two Eat Local Month Specials going!  A caprese salad with basil and tomatoes from Twin Cedars Farm, and Mozzarella from Ferndale Farmstead…” etc.)
      • Commit to using our social media channels to co-promote our featured farms, and Eat Local Month throughout the month of September. (i.e. one post a week to Instagram/ facebook to tell consumers about your locally sourced menu items, and/or highlights about why you source from the farms that you do).
      • Please know that the Food & Farming team will be generously supporting you in the months prior to, as well as during the entire month of September. We will provide plug & play content and examples for you so that you don’t have to spend time creating content if you don’t want to!  Most businesses report a huge sense of value and connection when they make the effort to co-promote each other – It’s pretty special!  (Click here to see some examples from previous Eat Local Month promotion successes).
  • Set up a short meeting with Food and Farming staff
    • Prior to Eat Local Month, restaurants agree to a short meeting either in person or virtually so Food and Farming staff can check in about the specials you’re offering and make sure you have all of the information you’ll need to share the love of local food with your staff and customers.

If you’d like to participate, please fill out the Eat Local Month participant application before June 15th

Be a collaborative partner

Not a restaurant or farm but want to participate in Eat Local Month? Have a food/farm related event that you want to co-promote? Send Jess an email at jessicam@sustainableconnections.org! We’d love to work with you to support and promote all things local!

If you have any questions, contact Jess at jessicam@sustainableconnections.org

Thank you to our sponsors!