Rural economic strategies
The strategies to support and enhance the economic health of our rural areas are based on input from rural residents and business owners. The Office of Business Relations and Economic Development (BRED) is continuing to work with individuals, organizations, and county departments to implement the strategies and action items through various projects and programs.
If you want to learn more or to get involved with any of the projects or programs contact the Rural Economic Strategies Coordinator, Julia Larson.
Also, do you an idea for a new project or program that could enhance the economic vibrancy of the rural area? If so, please contact the Coordinator, as we would like to hear from you.
Here are a few of our projects:
Rural services website -Rural residents, businesses, and visitors to the rural area asked for a Web site that made it easy to find useful information about services and programs.
Rural business circuit rider - The county will be funding a small business specialist to work with rural businesses. This position will work out of one of our rural oriented community colleges.
Agricultural kitchens - BRED and the King County Agriculture Program are working with rural residents and small business owners in establishing one or more agricultural kitchens around the county to create value added products such as jams and sauces.
"The time is ripe to eat local" - In celebration of the bounty of the county's farmers markets, BRED and the King County Agriculture Program are joining forces with our numerous partners, such as Puget Sound Fresh, Washington State University Extension, and Cascade Harvest Coalition, to sponsor events and farmers markets recipe cards for Get Fresh Week in Aug. 2006.
Harvest Celebration and Farm Tour - This annual Washington State University Extension event is held the first Saturday in October. BRED, King County Agriculture Program, Forestry Program, and Historic Preservation Program, as well as 4Culture have sponsored the tour and expanded the event to provide historic agricultural information. The 2006 event will be on Oct. 7.
Farmer Chef Networking Conference - The success of the first Chef's Connection in Feb. 2006 has paved the way for the second annual event that provides networking opportunities for local growers and restaurant chefs. Sponsors include BRED, King County Agriculture Program, Seattle Chef's Collaborative, Washington State Small Farm Program, Cascade Harvest Coalition, and others
Tools for successful small business operations - BRED facilitates classes on small business assistance, insurance, marketing, business planning, and the FarmLink Program at the Small Farm Expo held each March by the Washington State University Extension Service.
Review of county regulations related to economic health of the rural area - BRED and other county departments are working with the Agriculture Commission, the Forestry Commission, the rural Unincorporated Area Councils, and the Historic Preservation Office to evaluate codes that potentially impact or limit agricultural and forestry production, value-added products, and home-based business. A set of proposed changes will be submitted to the King County Council on Aug. 31 and other changes are being evaluated this fall relating to adaptive reuse of historic structures.