About Kathryn

Kathryn Gardow is the founder and Principal of Gardow Consulting, LLC…because land & food matter. She has worked for over 30 years on land issues, facilitating projects and developing solutions while addressing environmental concerns. Kathryn advocates integrating food production lands, farmlands, and community gardens into places where we live, so our families can connect again with their sustenance. Kathryn is passionate about the preservation of our country’s food production lands, which are diminishing as a result of suburban sprawl, aging farmers, policy decisions, and the general lack of public awareness about where our food comes from.


Before starting Gardow Consulting, LLC…because land & food matter, Kathryn was the Executive Director of PCC Farmland Trust, which was founded by PCC Natural Markets (Puget Consumers Cooperative). In four years leading PCC Farmland Trust, Kathryn grew the Seattle-based nonprofit from a one-person to a six-person office, tripling revenue to $1 million, keeping 450 acres of local farmland in active production and saving the 100-acre Orting Valley Farms in Pierce County that had been slated for rural estate development.

As Principal of Kathryn Gardow & Associates LLC from 1994 until 2006, Kathryn assisted local governments and private sector clients with project management, permit acquisition, entitlements, and development and environmental reviews. Kathryn built an expertise in integrating technical disciplines and multiple land uses and expectations for environmentally challenged properties. Kathryn has regulatory expertise with soils, steep slopes, wetlands, and flooding and drainage issues, which she used extensively during the development of Snoqualmie Ridge and other projects in the Puget Sound region.

Early in her career, while working for Buck & Gordon (now VanNess Feldman, LLC), Kathryn assisted Haggens/TOP Foods with permit acquisition, research, and placement of new store sites. Kathryn performed an in-depth survey of all the grocery stores in the Portland, Oregon environs to enable the grocery provider to strategically locate a new marketplace. Kathryn was also hired by King County as a facilitator to help shepherd Trilogy at Blakely Ridge through the environmental and permit review process.

From 2013 to 2016, Kathryn was an active board member of the Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network (now Food Action), a food advocacy organization. 

From 2005 until 2014, Kathryn was a member of the Washington State Public Works Board (PWB). The PWB evaluates and sets policy for infrastructure financing in Washington State. For the 2011-2013 biennium the Board advocated for local governments from the Washington State Legislature, during a period when the legislature was cutting the state budget. Ultimately almost $500 million of projects were authorized by the legislature, creating more than 12,000 jobs over the biennium.

As an elected Trustee of PCC Natural Markets from 1994 to 1999, Kathryn set policy and was responsible for the financial health of the Seattle-based food cooperative.


Kathryn holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Washington and a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Union College. She is a Registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of Washington.  She is 2013 graduate of the Urban Land Institute–Northwest District Council’s Center for Sustainable Leadership program and a member of the Urban Land Institute’s Health Leaders Network

Speaking Engagements

Upcoming Talks & events

Available for scheduling future talks.

Past Talks & Events

Cultivating a Thriving Agricultural Economy, a day long field trip for the American Planning Association 2015 Seattle conference touring the Skagit Valley to understand how economic development and the agricultural economy are entwined, April 21, 2015. 

because land & food matter, presented at Women’s Business Retreat at Canyon Ranch, MA, March 4, 2015.

An Agriculture-Residential Development Solution, Farm/City Roundtable, Green River Community College, May 1, 2014

Land Use 101: For Farmers, presented at Pierce County WSU’s Cultivating Success class, October 8, 2013.

Farming on Land You Don’t Own:  Issues to Consider, presented at the Tilth Producers of Washington conference, November 10, 2012, Fort Worden, Port Townsend, WA with Marko Colby of Midori Farms.

Green Operation Series: Preserving Farm & Farmland: The Power of Health Care’s Institutional Markets, webinar with Practice Greenhealth, August 30, 2012, 2pm – 3pm, eastern standard time. Presented with Lucy Norris & Karen Mauden of Northwest Business Agricultural Center and Pam Thiemann of Tacoma General Hospital.

Preserving Farmland: Planning For Local Food Production, presented at American Planning Association’s Puget Sound Section Brownbags, Wednesday, March 7, 2012, Noon – 12:15pm, Mercer Island City Hall, Mercer Island, WA. Presented with Nicole Capizzi, Amaranth Urban Farm.

Preserving Farmland: The Power of Institutional Markets, presented at FoodMed 2011, October 18, 2011, Seattle, WA ; presented with Lucy Norris & Karen Mauden of Northwest Business Agricultural Center and Pam Thiemann of Tacoma General Hospital.

No Local Food without Local Farmland: Keeping Farmland Available for Farming, presented at Community Food Security Coalition’s Food Policy from Neighborhood to Nation conference, May 20, 2011, Portland, OR; presented with Kimberly Freeman of Pierce County Planning & Land Services.

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