Cultural Practices & Local Foods

Engage with communities to identify, protect, and enhance opportunities for cultural practices and access to safe and abundant local foods.
The people of Puget Sound come from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds. Some residents have long-held connections to the land, water, and creatures. New residents often move here because of specific attributes that make our region unique, including activities that may be connected to cultural practices and local foods. Cultural practices and knowledge systems are shaped by ecosystems and are
critical to human wellbeing because they provide a sense of belonging, create the foundation for moral development, and define rules for social interaction.

Many of the cultural traditions held by Puget Sound residents are dependent on the health of Puget Sound ecosystems. These cultural practices and knowledge systems are centered around local foods, in addition to many other traditional, subsistence, and recreational uses and practices. The quality, safety, availability, and abundance of Puget Sound food resources provide a suite of human wellbeing benefits. High-quality local foods often contain fewer or no chemical fertilizers and pesticides and tend to be higher in nutrition, thus contributing to physical health. The act of collecting, preparing, and sharing such foods maintains cultural knowledge and practices and often builds social relationships. Some communities rely on local foods more than others for their wellbeing and are likely to be impacted disproportionately by declines or risks associated with local foods. There are opportunities to educate agencies and support incentive programs to meaningfully engage with communities and integrate cultural significance into resource assessments, food systems, critical area ordinances, hazard mitigation plans, recreational plans, and other local planning activities.
  • Enhance participation in practices, local harvest

Increase number, accessibility, and protections for multi-use and multi-cultural natural spaces (for example, fish and shellfish harvesting, camping, boating, and gardening, etc.), including green spaces and waterways. (ID #86)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Offer specialized two-way training to increase awareness of cultural and spiritual practices among land, shoreline, and transportation managers and planners;
  • Use information relevant to culturally significant areas when setting priorities for acquisition, protection, and restoration, where recommended by tribal nations;
  • Provide multi-cultural information on navigational maps;
  • Train the boating community on oil spill response and invasive species recognition.

Restore and enhance native fish, shellfish, game, and plant populations consistent with existing species recovery efforts. (ID #89)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Enhance the number of investigations and more widely share findings to improve understanding of marine biotoxins and harmful algal blooms;
  • Increase education and communication on the importance of shorelines;
  • Consider complexities and conflicts in managing multiple recovery goals and species;
  • Use local and technical information to inform protection and recovery efforts.

Improve appropriate access opportunities for harvesting local foods and other culturally significant materials on public lands and shorelines. (ID #91)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Support the delivery of local food harvests to accessible locations;
  • Collect and disseminate existing local guides for best practices to access and harvest safe local foods;
  • Listen to and provide resources to diverse communities with tailored approaches (for example, including local representatives, educational resources, technical assistance, and funding, etc.);
  • Improve land affordability, and support smaller farms for local food production;
  • Enable equitable harvest of marine resources on private tidelands by tribal members, through co-manager agreements;
  • Encourage access for recreational purposes by providing incentives to private shoreline landowners.
Implementation Considerations

No related implementation considerations at this time.  

What We're Measuring

We achieve our recovery goals for a healthy human population and vibrant quality of life by increasing opportunities for cultural practices, such as native and spiritual practices, environmentally related social activities, and increasing access to safe and more abundant local food harvests, such as fish, shellfish, and game, for human populations. The indicator of success is increasing Puget Sound residents’ satisfaction with regard to their participation in cultural practices, particularly among communities with disproportionately low access to resources.

Current Legislative Actions