Healthy Human Population
Local Foods
Locally harvestable foods
Vital Sign Indicator
Percent (%)

No targets are currently set for this indicator.

Kelly Biedenweg
Contributing Partners
Last Updated
8/5/2021 11:11:57 AM
2020 mean local foods index by county. Map created by Brian Katz. These and other human wellbeing data can be further explored with an interactive web interface at the link below.
The locally harvestable foods indicator is intended to track the frequency of collecting different Puget Sound wild foods for traditional, subsistence, and recreational use. These include: fish, shellfish, mushrooms/plants, and animal meat.
Vital Sign Indicator Chart
Locally harvestable foods
By: Response
Respondents were asked to rate their engagement in hunting, fishing, or foraging on a five-point scale from 'Never' (1) to 'Frequently - more than 10 times a season' (5) for the following resources in Puget Sound.

The health and quality of life of Puget Sound residents is partially dependent on their ability to collect local resources for ceremonial, subsistence and recreation foods. Moniting the frequency with which residents do so, and how this varies by geography and demographics, can help managers understand where to prioritize efforts to protect or educate about the health of local foods.

Key Vital Sign Indicator Results
  • Plants, berries and mushrooms are the most likely local foods to be harvested, with about 58 percent of the population collecting at least one time per season.
  • Approximately 14 percent of people harvest deer, elk or waterfowl.
  • Approximately 35 percent of people harvest fish or shellfish. 
  • Local foods harvest for all foods was higher for the purposive Latinx sample than both the Latinx and non-Latinx general survey respondents.  
  • There was slightly higher collection of local foods in San Juan and Jefferson counties.
Monitoring Program

Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab

Data Source

Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab

Vital Signs Survey Summary Report 2020

Data are collected every 2 years via paper survey to a random sample of Puget Sound households. The population chosen for this survey was a clustered random sample of Puget Sound residents, with an initial sample of 9,000. Due to undeliverable addresses, the total sample reached was less than 9,000. In 2018, the response rate was 28 percent for a total of 2,323 individual responses. In 2020, the response rate was 25 percent for a total of 1,843 respondents. 

Also appended is a 2021 purposive sample of 180 Latinx respondents who were selected using a variety of techniques, including:

  • qualtrics panel of Latinx respondents,
  • recruitment ads placed in Spanish and English with regional Spanish radio and newspapers, and
  • social media recruitment through Puget Sound Latinx groups.

This one-time survey was conducted to approach Latinx respondents in diverse, potentially more culturally-appropriate ways, to determine if the Latinx respondents to our general public survey significantly differ from the overall Latinx population of Puget Sound (e.g., do Latinx respondents to our biennial random sample survey represent a biased group of Latinx?). To answer this question we compared the responses to the purposive sample to 1) all non-Latinx respondents in the general public survey and 2) only Latinx respondents to the general public survey.

Critical Definitions

Starting in 2020, we distinguished the tracking of shellfish harvest to include three separate categories: 1) clams, includes all clams except razor clams (e.g., geoducks, oysters and muschles), 2) crab and shrimp, and 3) squid.

Interpretation of Results

On average, the majority of Puget Sound residents rarely harvest local foods other than plants and berries. The mean response to all local foods was 1.43, which equates to halfway between rarely (1-2 times per season) and never. This was true for both the random population and the purposive Latinx sample.

While on average, all counties harvested local foods rarely or between rarely and never, respondents from San Juan and Jefferson counties tended to harvest local foods more frequently.

2020 local food harvest data was not significantly different from 2018 local food harvest data. Those that harvested the least common local foods (waterfowl, deer, and elk) also tended to harvest the most frequent foods (plants, berries and mushrooms). As such, we can consider a summation of all local foods harvesting as an index for this Vital Sign. 

For the random sample of Puget Sound, seven percent of the variation in responses could be predicted by demographics. Men and people living in rural areas were more likely to harvest local foods. For the Latinx purposive sample, 21 percent of the variation in responses could be explained by the fact that Latinx who were more educated were more likely to collect local foods. Based on similar types of research, other factors likely include, but cannot be demonstrated through these data, prior experience with local food harvesting, being connected to friends who harvest, and individual personality traits. 

This is the second iteration of collecting these data. We do not anticipate significant differences to appear until several years of monitoring.


The Puget Sound Partnership believes in the transparency and accessibility of the data used to address puget sound indicators. These data are provided by contributing partners to the Partnership and are made publicly available through the Puget Sound Info site. These data are available on an "as is" basis and the Partnership is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies. Please acknowledge the monitoring program and data source when using these data and obtain permission from the Vital Sign Indicator Reporter to use these data in a publication.

Human Wellbeing Survey Results
Uploaded On
File Type
Excel (XLSX)
Survey results are provided for the subjective Human Wellbeing Vital Sign indicators Data were collected via survey to the general population of the Puget Sound Region in 2018 and 2020. Please acknowledge the Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab and Puget Sound Partnership when using these data.
Reporting Guidance
Reporting Instructions
Never, Rarely (1-2 times a season), Occasionally (3-5 times a season), Regularly (6-8 times a season), Frequently (More than 10 times a season)