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Providing Culturally Inclusive Food For a Diverse Market Community

Posted March 10, 2019

Providing Culturally Inclusive Food For a Diverse Market Community

We are all united through food, but we also have different diets and preferences. At Pike Place Market, we have an incredible variety of unique tastes inspired by our vibrant and diverse community. That’s why access to healthy and culturally inclusive food is such an important part of our mission.

No Market agency exemplifies creating equity to food access like the Pike Market Food Bank. After all, the large majority of Food Bank shoppers are seniors, with many of them being residents of the Chinatown-International District who speak a language other than English.

With this in mind, the Food Bank works hard to ensure its food offerings and space meets the needs of its shoppers. When entering the Food Bank, shoppers will see signs translated into Spanish, Mandarin, and Vietnamese, and will encounter friendly volunteers and staff members who speak a variety of languages and are eager to help. “We take cultural inclusivity very seriously in our work,” says Stella Jones, Food Bank Manager.

And this hard work really shows! These staff members also procure nearly 100,000 pounds of fresh food every year, and actively look for produce common in many kinds of Asian cuisines, such as red cabbage, bok choi, Japanese eggplant and much more. Specialty items like these are also cultivated by the team at the Pike Place Secret Garden, where gardeners grow about 500 pounds per year of various fruits and vegetables for the Food Bank.

Oftentimes, this can mean the world to many residents who crave these ingredients but may lack the resources to purchase them.

Because of this work in nourishing the Market community and addressing the need for inclusive food options, we were honored to receive the Community Service Award from Seattle’s Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) at their Annual Banquet & Scholarship Fundraiser.

“What we know is that strong communities are lifted up as a whole and not in fragmented parts,” said Market Foundation Executive Director Lillian Sherman as she accepted this award on behalf of the Market Foundation and the Pike Market Food Bank. “When the health of the whole community is truly nurtured, everyone thrives.”

We are so grateful and humbled by this award, and we will continue to ensure that people of all income levels have access to nourishing and culturally relevant food so that the abundance of Pike Place Market can be shared by all.

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