FareStart's 2021 Learnings & 2022 Key Strategic Priorities

April 15, 2022

A Letter to Our Community,

The last couple of years have brought immense challenges and opportunities to FareStart, our community and the world around us. As we turn yet another corner in the pandemic, there remains extensive collective work to do to recover, rebuild and reimagine a more equitable future.

Today, food insecurity remains the highest for Washington State households with children, people of color and individuals who identify as non-binary. Unemployment data shows that communities in South King County are recovering from the pandemic at a significantly slower pace than other parts of King County due to economic disparities.

As FareStart celebrates our 30th year, we remain constant in pursuing our mission of transforming lives, disrupting poverty and nourishing communities through food, life skills and job training, locally and nationally. At the heart of our mission is working with people furthest from opportunity so they can support themselves and thrive. We also are more committed than ever to continuing our antiracist journey and creating a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging and value. 

This year marks the first of our three-year strategic plan, which focuses on increasing food security and creating pathways toward personal stability and economic mobility. We are focused on communities furthest from opportunity and most affected by poverty, homelessness and hunger. 2022 will involve considerable innovating, listening, data gathering, iterating and relationship building as we evolve in the way we approach our work. We are deepening how we center our students and their experiences in our job training programs and wraparound social services. We are finding new ways to collaborate with and support partners to increase food access in underserved communities, especially in South King County. We are addressing the longer-term challenges of poverty and hunger by expanding our national consulting and developing a strong foundation for advocacy. FareStart always has been about creating community around food: in our restaurants, cafés and through community meals. At a time when our community needs us most, we are doubling down on our efforts to feed our neighbors in need and keep people from going hungry.

We’re not just focusing on what we do, but how we do it to advance race equity, build connection and collaborate with communities.

Speaking of community, we cannot wait to welcome back onsite students, volunteers and supporters to FareStart this year. While our virtual programs will continue and have been successful in enabling us to expand our reach, we are actively working to provide in-person, on-the-job training opportunities for students while continuing to feed our community. We have missed you and the connection that comes from being together in person, working side-by-side in our kitchens and classrooms, connecting over coffee, attending in-person events and getting to know one another.

The following report looks back at some of our key takeaways and learnings from 2021 and details our work for the year ahead. As always, your questions and support are welcome. We are committed to keeping you regularly informed as we progress, so please continue to watch our newsletters and social media channels.

Thank you for being on this journey with us as we learn, grow and transform together.

With gratitude,

Angela Dunleavy