November 14, 2017

A grand plan to get Seattle’s families to make healthy food choices for life

The Beecher's Foundation supports its community through food education

The Beecher's Foundation hosts Pure Food Kids Workshop to equip students with information and skills to make healthy food choices for life. Photo by Erinn Hale

The best way to ensure a life of healthy eating habits is to start young. A Seattle nonprofit is helping kids in their community do just that.

The Beecher’s Foundation offers food education programs for youth through its Pure Food Kids Workshop, and for adults through Sound Food Uprising, which officially launches in 2018.

Sara Billups is director of communications and public affairs for The Beecher’s Foundation. She says the organization helps families eat healthy for life by sparking their curiosity and empowering them to read labels and consider marketing tactics used by food manufacturers. And of course, to cook more.

We got her take on how The Beecher’s Foundation is creating a community of healthy eaters and changing Puget Sound’s “food for good.”

— The Renewal Project

What inspired you to do this work?

Years ago, I was writing about food professionally, editing a popular restaurant news website. After Seattle passed $15 minimum wage I started to explore issues impacting the larger food system, including equity and access around food. I went back to school for my Masters in Nonprofit Leadership and have been able to use writing, communications, and advocacy in my current role.

What ways are you helping to make your community thrive?

We know for certain that the only way we can re-imagine our food future in Puget Sound is with the support of many community partners. We’re diving into direct food education and public awareness, but to achieve our goal of turning the tide on diet-related disease in our region in the next 10 years, it’s going to take a village. That’s why we’re working on a full-day event, the Sound Food Uprising Summit, to launch our adult program and celebrate the work of the many stakeholders in the food space in Seattle and beyond.

What do you love about your community?

Seattle has real challenges, including a growing homeless population, lack of affordable housing, and income inequality. At the same time we’re leading the way nationally on several progressive issues and as a region can harness real ingenuity. By and large, people here are curious and eager to engage.

What’s one thing you want outsiders to know about your community?

Seattle is home to the best independent, community-supported radio station on earth, KEXP. If I didn’t live here I’d stream it from afar all day long.

What leader or leaders inspire you?

Alice Waters, Michelle Obama, Dorothy Day

Sara Billups

As Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Sara develops external communications strategies, cultivates stakeholder partnerships, and oversees community-based advocacy and impact.

She joined Pure Food Kids in 2015 as Special Projects Manager, overseeing food advocacy projects focusing on school lunch reform, food labeling transparency, and ending the marketing of processed foods to kids. She is working to continue local and national conversations surrounding food policy and social justice issues impacting nutrition.
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