RBAC owns a property off of Martin Luther King Jr Way South, across the Rainier Beach light rail station. The community has a home for its Food Innovation Center.

Let’s take a moment to let these words sink in. 

Rainier Beach residents own land to develop their vision.

It had been…

10 years since Gregory Davis and David Sauvion met during the Neighborhood Plan Update process.

9 years since the Neighborhood Advisory Committee they were part of hosted open houses to  review and organize residents’ aspirations for the community.

8 years since Harry Hoffman actively promoted this vision alongside his work at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands.

7 years since City planners like Nora Liu and Robert Scully laid out the foundations to the concept of a Food Innovation District.

6 years since the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands launched a successful $3.5 million capital campaign.

5 years since the Food & Farm Hub first opened on Director St., in partnership with SEED, Tilth Alliance, and the Farm Co-op.

4 years since Patrice Thomas successfully proposed our vision to a National Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, since the Mayor finally signed the Neighborhood Plan Update, since the Equitable Development Initiative was first funded.

3 years since we conducted a community-led participatory research highlighting health priorities for the neighborhood and the need for better access to fresh produce, since the Mixed-Use Rainier Beach zoning passed as part of the City’s Mandatory Housing Affordability.

2 years since Forterra secured the property for that very purpose, since the Farm Stand opened for its first season.

1 year since Amanda Lopez-Castanon joined the team as the Food Innovation Center Director.

This is our new Ground 0, a huge milestone and an opportunity for a model of equitable, transit-oriented development and community-led effort.

In the months to come, contractors will start the work to bring the main building back to life. The 1st Floor will host a community kitchen, a place to gather and break bread together, as well as ample cold storage serving the Farm Stand POC farm partners and local businesses.

The 2nd Floor will provide more space for RBAC to expand Young Adults Transitioning Through Adulthood (aka YATTAs) programming.

In 3-4 years, we will hopefully break ground on what will be a new neighborhood anchor, an amenity that will mix services and employment opportunities through produce aggregation and food production.

We may add 5, 6, or more stories of affordable housing or offices for other small businesses and non-profits, so that many more generations of Rainier Beach residents can continue sharing their neighborhood stories.

It took many more people than could be listed here– going back much further than 10 years– and it will take many more to achieve these next milestones. 

The Food Innovation Center has been tasked with addressing displacement in the Rainier Valley, using food as a means of celebrating the unique diversity and creating opportunities for both residents and local stakeholders. This is your space and we want you to claim ownership. To get this right we need to know that you will take a stake in this project, that you will support us in filling it with things to uplift our community, and that you will help us shape the future of Rainier Beach.

Are you in? 

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or big ideas about the future of the Rainier Beach Food Innovation Center, please reach out to us at info@rbactioncoalition.org