The Burbank Garden is located at Luther Burbank High. It is a part of an agricultural program for the students at the school. In this video, we take a look into what they are building and what it means to the students.
Farm to fork
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.
Several years ago, the creation of a Central Kitchen for the school district entered into the minds of communities members in Sacramento. As proposed, the Central Kitchen is supposed to bring fresh food to SCUSD students. In this video, residents descend on Hiram Johnson High School to discuss the subject.
On May 6th, the Oak Park Farmers Market opened for its first event of the year. People from all over gathered to enjoy the fruits and vegetables that were on sale and are locally sourced within 150 miles of Oak Park. In this video report, we see just what the farmers have brought us this season.
How do the people of communities get to know the people around them? Recently, at Ethel L. Baker Elementary School, many volunteers, young and old, gathered to bond together through planting trees and helping out their own communities.
The Yisrael Family Farm is offering cooking classes for seniors, families, and teenagers in February, March, and April at the Oak Park Community Center on 3425 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The class are free to attend and offers multiple time slots for each age group, aiming at ease and accessibility for the general public.
“The type of audience I hope to see at the class is the kind that eats,” says cofounder Judith Yisrael. “I’m looking forward to meeting people who are ready and willing to try new foods and are not afraid to be pushed outside their comfort zone.”
The Yisrael Family Farm was founded by husband and wife team Judith and Chanowk Yisrael in 2007 and is based in the Oak Park area of South Sacramento. The farm was created in part, according the website, in response to the declaration of Oak Park and nearby areas as a ‘food desert’, what the U.S. Department of Agriculture declares as “a low-income census tract where either a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store”.
The farm, run by Chanowk, Judith and their children, now has over 40 fruit trees and free-roaming chickens. Since its inception, Yisrael’s have founded programs and community outreach efforts, such as We Diggit Urban Gardens, aimed at building gardens for South Sacramento residents at no cost through funding from the California Endowment, and Project GOOD (Growing Our Own Destiny), an educational outreach program for youth field trips and hands-on events. Project GOOD is also the program through which the upcoming cooking classes will be run.
In addition to specific recipes and dishes, the class will teach food safety, nutrition, and basic cooking technique. Each different class will also cater to their respective audience.
“The series for seniors will focus on delicious meals and snacks that won’t take too much time while Family Night Out series will bring families together in the kitchen and focus on teamwork and collaboration,” Judith told Access Sacramento. “Our TGIF Teens will focus on great tasting easy to make meal ideas, such as our Three Sister Tacos and homemade pico de gallo!”
The Seniors Group will be meeting Tuesdays from 10:30am – 12:30pm on February 7th and 21st, March 7th and 21st, and April 4th and 18th.
The Families Night Out group meets Wednesdays from 5pm – 7pm on February 1st and 15th, March 1st, 15th, and 29th, April 12th, 19th, and 26th.
Lastly, the Teen Scene group will be meeting on Fridays from 5pm – 7pm on February 10th and 24st, March 10th and 24th, and April 14th, 21st, and 28th.
The Oak Park Farmer’s Market is a big part of the Sacramento community. This was their last event for the season. Let check up on them to see what they been up to!
The Yisrael Family Farm is preparing to host their 3rd annual Urban Farm to Fork event on Sunday, October 16th starting 3PM and going until 6PM at 4505 Roosevelt Avenue, Sacramento. For those of you unfamiliar with the Yisrael family farm, it is a local urban farm right in the backyard of Chanowk Yisrael and his family’s home. Over the years, Chanowk and his wife have made several events and workshops in order to inform and to educate local Sacramento community members about the greatness of growing your own food and why organic and natural food is great. “Transforming the hood for good” is their motto, and it fits just nicely as they are located within a suburban local Sacramento neighborhood.
Chanowk has just recently returned from a trip in Italy after meeting their President and is now ready to continue his work back here at home within Sacramento. The Urban Farm to Fork event will offer 5-course meals, a farm tour, and entertainment. Their Facebook event page reads, “Sacramento sits among 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches that grow more than 120 crops for markets here and abroad yet South Oak Park is considered a ‘Food Desert’ meaning local residents do not have access to fresh local food.” With that in mind, it’s absurd to think about how people and families could be growing and sharing their own food for the benefit of themselves and others. Not only that, but to also bring more food culture and variety among the Sacramento community is also a great ideal to shoot towards and is one of the reasons why Chanowk continues to do his work.
If you’re interested in Urban Farm to Fork, visit the event page here and get your tickets while they last. Otherwise, you should also keep up with their future events and information by visiting their website here.
Eating healthy is something that many Americans have struggled with. At the Farm to Fork Festival in the heart of California, everyone is welcomed with open arms. There are opportunities to eat healthier at every step and this festival shows people how to do it.
The Oak Park Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 9AM – 1PM at McClatchy Park through October. Check out their farm-to-fork quality food options, as well as the live entertainment and cooking demonstrations before the program ends for this year.