As a community we were spending more time arguing over our political differences and less time developing sound policy-based solutions.Read More »
Kate Burke is a Spokane native, born and raised in this fantastic city. She prides herself in her ability to take on challenges by identifying the core issues and finding practical solutions. One of her first ventures into community problem-solving started with her time as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, where she worked to bring fresh produce into local food banks. During that time she further realized the benefits of a healthy and nutritional diet. She believes all people deserve access to fresh resources, yet the majority of food banks almost exclusively provide canned and processed goods. Upon further research, she soon found that the problem wasn’t a lack of healthy food in Spokane, but poor utilization of the resources already in place. So she started the Spokane Edible Tree Project, a non-profit that finds fruit and nut trees in Spokane County that have not been fully harvested. They then pick the leftover fruit and donate it to local food banks. The Spokane Edible Tree Project has donated over 200,000 pounds of produce since we started in October 2013. Since then, she's had the opportunity to volunteer with different causes, and of course, solve a few more problems. Her dedication to the community eventually led to an opportunity as the Legislative Assistant for State Senator Andy Billig. Serving Spokane alongside Senator Billig has taught her that Spokane has so much to offer. But too many people don’t know what’s going on. City agencies and non-profit organizations work in silos – unaware of what’s happening in the next office over. Members of our community, those who could most benefit from the services these groups provide, don’t know where to go for the support they need, she said. This need inspired her to run for City Council. Because, she said, we can make such a strong impact by simply finding the gaps in our system, connecting people with resources, and making Spokane more effective for its citizens.