2011 Bite of Skagit was a Tasty Success!
The Third Annual Bite of Skagit, held July 30, 2011 in downtown Mount Vernon, was the "perfect storm" of perfect weather, delicious and plentiful food and drink, great local music by Marcia Kester and Home Grown Tomatoes, lots of hungry people and we raised $10,836.83 for Skagit Food Share Alliance to feed the hungry in Skagit County! World famous local culinary expert Graham Kerr, whose life goal is to help others "convert habits that harm into resources that heal," made a stage presentation about the benefits of cooking with fresh and best in season fruits and vegetables grown locally.
Watershed Restaurant (in Angel of the Winds Casino) was voted Best Bite of 2011 for their menu of Smoked Salmon and Corn Chowder and Moo Shu Pork. Watershed Restaurant, Empire Ale House, and Costco all generously donated 100% of their sales to Skagit Food Share Alliance.
North Coast Credit Union Awarded for Bite of Skagit
North Coast Credit Union to be awarded Legacy Award for their contributions to the Bite of Skagit. From a Press Release by the Washington Credit Union Foundation: "The Washington Credit Union Foundation will be honoring the best and brightest of the credit union movement for their community service at its annual Summit Awards Gala on Thursday, September 16, 2010.
The Foundation's Legacy Award, which recognizes credit unions and affiliate organizations that use grant funds to develop community outreach and public education, will go to North Coast Credit Union in Bellingham for its support of Bite of Skagit.
'The Washington Credit Union Foundation is so pleased to be able to assist credit unions and their community partners in making such a significant difference in their areas, all the while highlighting the credit union philosophy,' says the Awards Committee Chair Earlene Fantz, CEO of American Lake CU. 'North Coast Credit Union's Bite of Skagit is a very unique project, involving many community partners, which is what made it stand out to receive this honor.'
President and CEO of North Coast Credit Union, Terry Belcoe, was justifiably thrilled to win the Legacy Award for a project his credit union feels so passionate about. 'There is no reason that, in one of the richest agricultural regions in the world, anyone should go to bed hungry,' said Belcoe. "Also, we need to support local farm families by paying them a fair price for the food we acquire through the [Skagit Food Share Alliance] program, and not just keep asking them to contribute.'
'It's just another example of credit unions coming together to put their money where their hearts are,' added Belcoe."
In this, one of the most fertile agricultural regions on earth, healthy foods grow from tiny seeds. Likewise, good things can grow from small ideas too.
It all started with a conversation between North Coast Credit Union President/CEO Terry Belcoe and Executive Director of Skagit County Community Action Agency (SCCAA) Bill Henkle and Executive Director of Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF) Alan Rozema. They met to explore the possibility of developing a "farms to food banks" program that would operate through the food bank distribution center, managed by SCCAA. This program would make it possible to provide local food banks with more nutritional options for those who must rely on food banks to feed their families.
It was from these early conversations that Skagit Food Share Alliance was formed, not as an agency in and of itself, but rather as a collaborative partnership between Skagit County Community Action Agency, North Coast Credit Union and Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, in which they could work to meet their twin goals of "Supporting local agriculture; ending local hunger."
For it's part, the team at North Coast Credit Union took on the responsibility of designing and managing an annual fundraising event, aimed at providing the necessary funding to acquire local produce and support the food bank distribution center operation.
In June 2008, we held the first "Food Share Festival" at Maiben Park in Burlington. Through the efforts of many volunteers, and the culinary skills of Chefs Graham Kerr, Tom French, and Charles Claasen, the event raised not only needed funds for the Skagit Food Share Alliance, but more importantly, it raised awareness of this collaboration and the community needs that it was formed to address.
The Bite of Skagit concept came about in the Spring of 2009, as a result of Skagit Food Share Alliance's collaboration with Paul Springer, owner of Trumpeter Public House and his brother Bruce Springer, owner of Empire Ale House, both of the Mount Vernon Downtown Association.
On August 1, 2009, we took our fundraiser to the next level, holding the first Annual Bite of Skagit event in downtown Mount Vernon. It featured live music, special guest Graham Kerr, local "pioneer" food vendors Costco, Skagit Valley Food Co-op, The Farmhouse Restaurant, The Soup Bowl, Train Wreck and Trumpeter Public House, and a Beer Garden hosted by Empire Ale House. With the money raised for the Skagit Food Share Alliance, the media coverage received, and many happy guests who made the event so successful, the Bite of Skagit was now "on the map" as one of the hallmark summer events in Skagit County.
Big Dreams ~ 2012 and Beyond
We believe the Bite of Skagit has unlimited growth potential. In 2012, we moved to our expanded venue space on First Street in downtown Mount Vernon, doubled sponsor participation, increased attendance, and nearly doubled the funds raised for the hungry in Skagit County. Sky's the limit!