Food

Market Share

Battling a food desert

Attend

What: Birchwood International Market

Where: Corner of Northwest and Maplewood avenues

More:

WHEN: 6-10pm Fri.,  July 27, Aug. 31, Sept. 28

Info: http://www.sustainableconnections.org

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Sometimes, a boarded-up grocery store is a sign that renovations are being made inside and better things are yet to come. But in the case of the Park Manor Albertsons on the corner of Northwest and Maplewood avenues, the shutdown has instead become a symbol of corporate greed.

Since Albertsons closed its doors in May of 2016, the Birchwood neighborhood has been without a major grocer, meaning residents of the “Wood Hood” who don’t own vehicles must walk long distances purchase their food staples.

And although Albertsons has sold the 41,000-square-foot-space since shuttering, a noncompete clause in effect until 2047 means the building can’t be used as a grocery store.

Enter the Birchwood Food Desert Fighters, a group of neighbors and allies working to address the issue at hand.

“We work to raise awareness of food desert issues in our community, to pressure Albertsons to allow release its noncompete clause, and to promote greater food access and a sense of community by organizing Food and GardenShare networks, RideShare networks, and working together for a sustainable, culturally appropriate community-based solution for the old Albertsons space,” the group says on its Facebook page. “We want local businesses and all of our neighbors to thrive.”

The Food Desert Fighters have had successes—especially in the summer months. A Little Free Food box at 2833 Birchwood Avenue is regularly restocked by neighbors sharing their garden produce, and a Share Spot runs from 12-12pm Saturdays at the bus stop in front of the ICU on Northwest Avenue.

Additionally, from 10am-2pm every Sunday, the neighborhood’s City Sprouts Farm is addressing issues of food access by running the Birchwood Community Farm Stand, a mini-farmers market selling affordably priced local vegetables and more at the Park Manor Shopping Center (EBT cards are welcome). 

June’s inaugural Birchwood International Market also proved that residents are eager to support the neighborhood. Hosted by Sustainable Connections, the event taking place on the last Friday of the month through September celebrates the cultural diversity of Birchwood, Bellingham, and the Pacific Northwest through an array of food selections, small-scale performances, art and more.

Held in the parking lot of the abandoned Albertsons, organizers say the first market on June 29 drew nearly 1,000 residents who danced, purchased local produce and food truck selections, perused an array of booths and showed their love for those living and working in the Birchwood neighborhood. They’re hoping to recreate the success at the second soiree Fri., July 27.

“We can’t wait to see what the rest of the markets bring,” program director Rose Lathrop says. “We hope that they help spark a vibrant cultural retail district for the neighborhood, increase food security, and strengthen Birchwood’s sense of place.”

More Food...
Fall Fare
A Thanksgiving test run

Every fall, I wait until the temperatures drop before heading to the Bellingham Farmers Market to purchase locally grown garlic for planting purposes.

After waking up to a light frost last Saturday morning, I knew the time had come, and made my way to the Depot Market Square to suss out…

more »
Border Bites
Discovering Gastown

The neighborhood of Gastown is the beating heart of Vancouver BC, the locus where the city began and a vicinity tightly knit with top-tier restaurants, boutiques and interesting corners and alleyways.

Most visitors are satisfied with a photograph of Gastown’s famous steam clock, which…

more »
First, We Eat
Cookbook conversations

The photographs for Eva Kosmos Flores’ Blueberry Dutch Baby recipe make the breakfast dish look so inviting, readers of First We Eat: Good Food for Simple Gatherings from My Pacific Northwest might be tempted to sniff the page for inspiration.

Of course, another way to bring the dish to…

more »
Events
Today
Home for the Holidays

5:00pm|Ferndale Events Center

You Can't Take It With You

7:00pm|BHS Performing Arts Center

9 to 5, the Musical

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Seven Supermans

7:30pm|Heiner Theatre

Waiting for Godot

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Romeo and Juliet

7:00pm|Sehome High School Little Theatre

A Chorus Line

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Secret Agents, LOL-apalooza

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

A Chorus Line

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Gardenview Montessori Holiday Bazaar

9:00am|Gardenview Montessori

Turkey Trot with GBRC

9:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Willow Creek

Christmas in the Woods Open House

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

South Fork Winterfest

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Holiday at the Port Farmers Market

10:00am|Port Transit Shed

Stuff the Trunk

10:00am|Haggen stores

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am| Depot Market Square

Poetry Workshops

10:00am|Mindport Exhibits

Anything Goes Arts and Crafts

10:30am|Sumas Library

Wine and Shop Weekend

11:00am|Eagle Haven Winery

Gnocchi Class

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Needle Felting Workshop

1:00pm|Skagit City School

Coffee and Conversation with Surge Artists

1:30pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Fishboy Holiday Show

2:00pm|FishBoy Gallery

A Local Treasure

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Beatles Sing-Along and Jam

2:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Welcome to the 20th century

4:00pm

Pacific NW Insects

4:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Wine & Beer Festival

4:00pm|Eaglemont Golf Club

Last Call Group Reading

7:00pm|Village Books

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Sacred Heart Social Hall

A Light in the Darkness

7:00pm|Church of the Assumption

Seattle International Comedy Competition

8:00pm

Childsplay

8:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Seattle Comedy
Tomorrow
9 to 5, the Musical

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

A Chorus Line

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

A Chorus Line

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Holiday at the Port Farmers Market

10:00am|Port Transit Shed

Wine and Shop Weekend

11:00am|Eagle Haven Winery

Sedro-Woolley Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Langar in Lynden

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Norah Rendell and the Lost Forty

2:00pm|Bellingham YWCA

Hope-Filled Dreams

2:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Whatcom Symphony Orchestra

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Sing-Along Sound of Music

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Poetry Duo

4:00pm|Village Books

Four Pair, An Evening of Duets

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Traveling with the Thurbers

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

7-UP

8:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Trove Web Seattle Comedy
Monday
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Wheelchair Gangball

3:30pm|Bloedel Donovan

Poetrynight

7:00pm|Alternative Library

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web Seattle Comedy Village Books