Connecting the Regional Food Economy

Leading to a Healthy, Accessible Food System

With our pride in the region’s growing reputation as the “Farm to Fork” capital, we must also deal with the reality that many suffer from hunger and live in “food deserts” with limited access to fresh, locally grown food. This unacceptable contrast exists despite the fact that we live in a region rich with agriculture and farmlands. Solving this complex problem will take a coordinated effort that involves all sectors of our local food economy. 

The Foundation’s leadership in Connecting the Regional Food Economy involves both learning and advocacy, leading us to partner with the key “players” in the food economy – from local farmers, to the distributors who store, disseminate, and transport food, to sellers who market, package and make food accessible. Through this initiative, we examine how communities – especially the underserved – experience barriers in access to healthy foods, and learn about the negative impacts such inaccessibility can lead to. We aim to identify and create upstream changes that will be required in order to ensure that everyone can benefit from a healthy and thriving regional food system with access for all.

Our Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan details strategies to connect the regional food system; its findings prompted our $100,000 grant to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

Look through the Action Plan


 

WHAT WE KNOW

  • Hunger affects the quality of life for our most vulnerable. The Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan (the Action Plan), which we produced in collaboration with Valley Vision, shows that area youth and elderly are disproportionately represented among the hungry.
  • Low-income people have limited access to fresh foods. The Action Plan reports that many local low-income communities are “food deserts” with limited access to grocery stores and fresh produce, and their residents have higher chronic disease and obesity rates. Thirty-one percent of adults in our region are considered obese, exceeding the state’s rate of 25%. 
  • Only a small portion of food eaten in our region is locally grown. Despite being a region rich in agriculture, only 2% of food consumed here is actually grown here, according to the Action Plan.
     

WHAT WE ENVISION

  • Strengthening access to fresh, healthy food, especially in underserved communities
  • Teaching individuals and the community about proper nutrition and cooking, focusing particularly on youth
  • Bringing more locally grown produce into the food system
     

WHAT WE'VE ACCOMPLISHED

  • We made a substantial investment to develop the Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan, which was launched to a regional audience of over 500 civic leaders in September 2015. The plan details four specific goals for our region to improve the local food system, which are summarized here.
  • In order to distribute more fresh food to communities in need, we awarded a $100,000 grant to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services to streamline and strengthen the emergency food provider network.
     

RELATED PROGRAMS AND RESOURCES

Food, Agriculture & Nutrition Grants Registry for Nonprofits
Register to receive email alerts when we offer funding opportunities in food, agriculture, and nutrition

Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan
Developed by the Foundation and Valley Vision, the Action Plan is an in-depth report addressing the disconnect between the abundant agricultural output of the Sacramento region and the reality that many in its communities suffer from hunger and limited access to healthy, fresh foods.