For years, the South Sacramento water tower off of I-5 Freeway said in big letters, “Welcome to Sacramento. City of Trees.” But in March of 2017, the bottom slogan went from “City of Trees,” to “America’s Farm To Fork Capital
With Sacramento hosting their very large event the 2018 Farm-to-Fork Festival, it shows that the term “Farm to Fork” is here to stay.
Why was it changed? What is farm to fork? Why is Sacramento America’s farm to fork capital? What is the importance of farm to fork? And how did this all begin?
The term “Farm to Fork” is connected to a social movement that aims to promoting serving locally grown produce in restaurants, grocery stores and more. In the Sacramento region, this has become a very popular term. California has been a agricultural powerhouse for the United States.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), California in 2013 would have a export value of $13.7 Billion in agricultural and livestock products. The Top Countries to receive agriculture exports Canada ($2.6 billion); Hong Kong ($1.29 billion); and China. ($1.21 billion)
The six counties surrounding the Sacramento region produces over 200 different types of crops including 1.5 million acres of farmland. Locally that’s a billion dollar agricultural economy according to a study done by UC Davis.
With numbers as large as those, local farmers provide many restaurants with local produce and with the increase in local farmers markets such as the Oak Park Farmers Market, farm to fork is aiding in the fight against food deserts.
Food deserts can be described as areas or neighborhoods where access to affordable and healthy food options, is severely restricted or even completely non-existent. You would know if you’re in a food desert if you do not have a supermarket that provides fresh food within a mile from your neighborhood.
Neighborhoods that are in food deserts are statistically more common in communities of color and low-income areas. Studies from the USDA shows that wealthy neighborhoods usually have about three times as many supermarkets than low-income areas.
Many people think that farm to fork practices such as growing produce in resident’s backyards could help with the fight against food deserts around the country. Many believe that this could provide more access to fresh foods that food desert neighborhoods didn’t have access before.
In Sacramento, local farmers Chanowk and Judith Yisrael tried to combat the food desert he is in by growing a farm of produce in his backyard. He used his produce to provide food for himself and his family but as time went on he began to realize that he could help the surrounding community he is in with his farm.
“We realized that even though we were in our backyards and growing food, eating healthy. We still had a community that we lived in that was a food desert,” Said Chanowk in an interview with Sol Life. “It didn’t seem right for us. And that’s where the Yisrael Family Urban Farm was born.”
With locally produced farmers markets popping up more frequently not just in the Sacramento area but all across United States, the next few years will be interesting when it comes how other communities (especially low-income communities) will use the farm to fork lifestyle.