Food Innovation District

Food Innovation Districts offer unique opportunities for neighborhoods and regions to build public health and New Economy “placemaking” assets. Food innovation Districts are natural places for retail and restaurant development; farmers markets, festivals and other attractions; and public health outreach and services, such as cooking and nutrition classes or harvest gleaning programs that move farm surpluses to families in need.

Back in 2012, Rainier Beach residents came together around a renewed neighborhood plan with a vision at the center of which Food acted as a catalyst for neighborhood identity, cultural diversity and heritage, health and job creation.

The partners are many and cross-sector. They include residents and local stakeholders (businesses & property owners), non-profit community-based organizations, philanthropists and foundations, local government, as well as food producers and industry professionals.

A Food Hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of food products, primarily from local and regional sources, for the purpose of strengthening producer capacity and access to wholesale, retail and institutional markets.
In Rainier Beach the Food & Farm Hub (5133 S. Director St.) comprises Tilth Alliance, Seattle Farm Coop, JuiceBox, Wow Chocolates and RBAC.

The Rainier Beach Food Innovation District (FID) is a geographic concentration of food-oriented businesses, services, and community activities that local
governments support through planning and economic development initiatives in order to promote a positive business environment, spur regional food system development, and increase access to local food.
Food Innovation Districts connect and catalyze emerging clusters of food and agriculture activity. Benefits include new jobs, healthy food options, and a “sense of place” that regions increasingly need for success in the 21st century.

The Food innovation Center (FIC) is intended as the catalytic venue for the District, featuring vocational training, Food processing, as well as community assets such
gathering hall, community kitchen and childcare.

The FID will focus on Workforce development. It will include culinary arts, but also value-add and manufacturing green jobs. Ultimately, the district will cover the full food system chain with needs for everything from ELS to farming, marketing and distribution, IT and research.

While Planning establishes the community’s vision for its future, Zoning puts the plan into operation. It designates different zoning district for different uses.
Food Innovation Districts will contain a myriad of food-related uses, from restaurants and retail to wholesale activities, light manufacturing, research, residential living, and urban agriculture. The potential mix is broad enough that a community may need to amend existing zoning to allow for the combination of potential district uses to occur in the same area.

The District offers multiple opportunities to be strategic about planning the future of the area. As we bring the concept to implementation, the more land available to
plan with, the easier it is to project the various programing and design the best fit for various activities (aggregation, co-packing, light manufacturing, incubation, education, research, retail, community amenities, etc…).
Contact us to see how your property can participate in the overall vision, and how we can help you anticipate zoning changes to benefit your investment in the community.

Contact us at or 206.859.7820, or visit

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