A Renton Food Co-op



All animals need it to survive and thrive. Seems simple enough: Find food. Eat food. Survive. Thrive.

Sure-you can eat just about anything and survive. Fast food, frozen processed TV dinners, energy drinks-you can certainly survive on all of them. But over time, it will take a toll on your body. The question is-what can you do to thrive? What choices can you make right here in Renton to do that? And-what can you do to not only nourish your body to thrive, but to help your community and planet thrive?

These are all concerns and questions that a local group of community members are exploring together. And the channel we are using to explore these questions is the idea of a local grocery co-op. Currently using the name Renton Food Co-op (although Renton Grocery Co-op is gaining favor), this group is gathering on a regular basis to create a vision of a local, sustainable, member-owned and operated grocery cooperative. We are inspired by other successful grassroots co-op models that already exist in the region, such as Olympia Food Co-op, Tacoma Food Co-op, and the under construction Delridge Grocery.

Why does Renton need a grocery co-op you ask? We already have a Grocery Outlet; Fred Meyer and Safeway have organic produce; Minkler’s has gluten-free products. True-but a locally owned, member operated grocery co-op provides something unique and special that can’t necessarily be found in those other businesses: an opportunity to nourish our community, the environment, and all people.

A grocery co-op would provide many benefits to Renton:

–          A space to find locally sourced, sustainable, organic food;

–          An opportunity to be a stakeholder in how the grocery co-op is run;

–          Create and provide new jobs;

–          A space to hold educational classes on cooking, making healthy food choices, sustainability, etc.;

–          A means to care for our environment by intentionally offering sustainable shopping choices;

–          and A space to build community connections and partnerships.

Our steering committee meets every few weeks, and is growing. But we want to see this idea engage the wider community and thrive. We encourage any interested parties to get in contact with us. There are many ways to get involved-some very simple, and some that are more in-depth.

We look forward to sharing more details about this project as it proceeds and develops in the near future.

If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact us via email at sustainablerenton@gmail.com or visit us on Facebook.

Renton Food Co-op Part Deux


Join board members and other community members for a breakfast potluck, sharing of research findings,and then a caravan to tour the Tacoma Food Co-Op.

Saturday, April 6th at 9:30am. Sustainable Renton offices at 970 Harrington Ave NE.

You can RSVP at the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/169682573186207/

Meaningful Movies – URBAN ROOTS

Come join Sustainable Renton at a new monthly film series we are hosting called Meaningful Movies. The first film in the series will be URBAN ROOTS, shown on Friday, August 31st at 7pm. These film screenings are free and open to the public, but donations are accepted to support Sustainable Renton. There will be a discussion to follow the screening. Board member Lara Randolph will be our host.

Location: 970 Harrington Ave NE, Renton WA.

From the Meaningful Movies Project: We are a group of concerned citizens in your neighborhood who are trying to make a difference in the defense of justice and pursuit of peace. We present social justice documentary films the last Friday night of every month, along with facilitated open community discussion on a wide range of topics, free and open to the public, with donations accepted to support Sustainable Renton. Our purpose is to gather, educate, inspire, connect, and commit to peace and justice

URBAN ROOTS is the next documentary from Tree Media. Produced by Leila Conners (The 11th Hour) and Mathew Schmid and directed by Mark MacInnis, the film follows the urban farming phenomenon in Detroit. Urban Roots is a timely, moving and inspiring film that speaks to a nation grappling with collapsed industrial towns and the need to forge a sustainable and prosperous future.

Everything has a beginning…


This past Sunday, Sustainable Renton hosted a community meeting on the Big Idea of a community farm in Renton. We really just wanted to see what kind of support and interest there was in this idea to determine if it would have energy to move forward.

While we did not have a huge turnout, the 10 non-board members that came had lots of energy, enthusiasm, and ideas for this project. Everyone wanted to see it happen, and wanted to help to do so.

Some steps that we’ll be taking as we start this journey:

  • Building “test” gardens in the area as a way to exhibit different methods of designing gardens: raised beds, lasagna-style, wheelchair accesssible, etc. This would also serve to model for potential donors that we are commited to seeing this project happen.
  • Researching studies done on the positive health and lifestyle benefits of organic food and gardens. The information collected will be used as a tool to help the project gather support and donors.
  • Start an online forum for discussions around the community farm project. This will allow community members to come together to share ideas and visions for what the farm could look like.
  • Outreaching to other area farms and organizations for support and ideas on securing land, fundraising, and farming methodology.

The planning group would also like to see us outreach to the various ethnic communities in Renton to engage them in utilizing gardens and a farm to grow produce that is unique to their cultures.

Mmm…fresh produce.

We will be having more community meetings on this project in the future to continue to draw in more ideas, energy, and support.

Imagine it: a farm here in Renton where food could be grown and sourced to serve at local restaurants, to sell at the farmer’s market, where classes could provide education on healthy living for all ages, and a community space where families and organizations could gather for celebrations, for cooking classes, and more.

What an exciting project to be a part of. As this journey evolves, we’ll continue to share what’s happening here on our website and on Facebook.

Mother Earth News Fair – Win a weekend pass!

Here is a great opportunity to help out Sustainable Renton and win tickets to a fantastic event!

We would like to see our website and blog filled with interesting, fresh ideas about sustainable living in Renton. But we don’t just want to read blog entries from our board-we want too hear your voice as well!

So, to encourage you to contribute to our blog, we are having a contest. Every blog submission we receive via email will give the author an opportunity to win two weekend passes to the Mother Earth News Fair, held June 2nd/3rd at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. This Fair is a fun-filled, family-oriented sustainable lifestyle event.

Here are the details: Submissions are due by Friday, May 18th. The Sustainable Renton board will choose the most creative, interesting, or informative blog submission to win the tickets. Winners will be notified by Friday, May 25th. Prize is valued at $50. Each submission should include a name, email, and phone number. Submissions should be emailed to: sustainablerenton@gmail.com. Accompanying photos for each blog piece are encouraged and should be attached to the email in jpeg format.

But even though only one entry will win the tickets, all entries will be posted on our blog over the course of the summer. Submissions of course are subject to editing and verification of accuracy.

To find out more information about the fair, visit the Mother Earth News website: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/Puyallup.aspx

Thank you!

Thinking big-a Renton community farm?

21 Acres

Today I was invited to speak at the Board meeting for the Renton Community Foundation on behalf of Sustainable Renton and our work around community gardens, education, and supporting a healthy, local food system. They are currently looking at different ways of addressing issues surrounding hunger in our community. The Foundation is an important supporter of local non-profits and charities in our community, and I felt privileged to be able to speak with them.

While speaking with the Board, there were conversations around the impact community gardens have on a community, how livestock and poultry fit into the picture, and how education is a pivotal piece in people eating healthier lifestyles. I shared with them the inspiring story of 21 Acres (http://21acres.org/). 21 Acres, located just outside downtown Woodinville, is an agricultural and environmental learning center that has a community garden, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a community food kitchen, classes on sustainability, and a farmer’s market.

This got me to thinking-What would a center like this look like in Renton? Would it have livestock-like chickens or goats or rabbits? Would it have a community garden? How about a community food kitchen? What about a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? How about a meeting space for classes on gardening, canning, food drying, cooking with vegetables? The possibilities for creating an inspiring, community-building center like this are limitless.

A bigger question is: what would it take to make this happen? Who are the stakeholders in a project like this? Could partnerships with the Salvation Army Food Bank, King County Conservation District, and other local organizations pull together a project of this scale? Is there land available to support a farm of this nature in our suburban town?

What are your thoughts? How would you like to be involved with a sustainable community model like 21 Acres in Renton? Please share your thoughts!

Let’s see where this idea takes us.

-Chris Conkling