By Erika Bradley
On Saturday, September 28th, 2013, the first annual Farm to Fork Festival was held in Sacramento, California. The event featured many different restaurants, organizations, vendors, mobile food trucks as well as beer and wine tastings.
Thousands of participants showed up to enjoy and learn how the Sacramento region contributes to their community through agriculture. As they walked down each street, they could easily find lots of activities to participate in, nutritional information to learn about and a variety of delicious food and beverages to try.
“I like the programs the festival has for children to learn on how to eat and grow their own vegetables,” says Patty Frank, a participant in the Farm to Fork festival. The festival had many things to enjoy for all ages. Anyone who stopped by the Savemart tent would find an area where children could learn about and plant their own seeds.
Helping the children to do this were Future Farmers of America (FFA) students. The FFA is very involved with raising animals and entering them into contests.
“We raise them on our own farm, feed them, and give them antibiotics when they’re sick,” says Adella Clark, a FFA student from Grace M. Davis High School, Modesto. “We enter many contests and eventually find buyers for them; the lowest place we have gotten was third,”.
The Farm to Fork Festival had many organizations from all over the Sacramento region which contribute to the community in immense ways. UC Davis was on hand with many of their other programs and organizations such as the World Food Center and the Agricultural Sustainability Institute.
“We do a lot of research on agricultural productivity, marketing, and how to produce the best quality foods for the citizens of this region and how to get it to them,” says Gail Feenstra Academic Coordinator Food and Society, UC Davis.
In addition to eating healthily, individuals need to exercise too, which is what Kaiser Permanente’s “Thrive” message is all about. Something many may not know about Kaiser is that they have farmers markets at their local hospitals during the harvest and summer seasons.
“The idea to support farmers markets, get fresh vegetables and grow your own garden; we like that,” says Suzanne Dizon, a representative of Kaiser Permanente.
Of course, with it being a Farm to Fork Festival, there was a lot of produce to learn about and taste.
“Our booth presence has local produce, salads from our deli department, different cheeses, bakery goods and fresh market pasta with in-store made bread,” says Jennifer Dowden, a representative of Nugget Market.
Foodies interested in attending another event with plenty of food and beverages to try may consider The Palate Project. Presented by Nugget Markets, this event has hundreds of wines, beer, different cheese, barbecuing and much more. It takes place at the Robert Mondavi Institute on October 4th with proceeds going to the Yolo County Food Bank and the Center for Land-based Learning. You can find more information at landbasedlearning.org.
Being aware that anyone can produce their own fruits and vegetables was another big aspect to the Farm to Fork Festival.
“We want to give to the organic growing movement and foster it here in this area,” says Colby Landis, a vendor for the International Greenhouse Company. “If you’re growing a small garden at home we can provide the material or if you’re planning to step up to the next level and get a large greenhouse we can assist with putting it together.”
Those interested in starting a garden or greenhouse can find more information at GreenhouseMegastore.com.
Walking down all the streets of the Farm to Fork Festival and meeting with different organizations, vendors, and participants leaves one with the knowledge that the Sacramento region offers a lot to its community and in so many different ways.
From knowing how to eat healthily and exercise to what organizations are doing around the community, Sacramento’s residents are gaining a better understanding of the importance of their farming community.