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 requires coordinated effort that involves all sectors of our local food economy. 

The Foundation’s leadership in Connecting the Regional Food Economy involves learning and advocacy to create upstream changes that ensure everyone benefits from a healthy and thriving regional food system with access for all. We partner with the key players in the food economy—including local farmers, distributors, and sellers—to pursue that aim.

Through a partnership made possible by this initiative, for example, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) streamlined its system of  220 partner agencies, building a more effective and efficient emergency food distribution system to escalate the fight against hunger in Sacramento County. Because of our sustained collaboration, SFBFS has improved its use of computers and databases to track the food its agencies distribute, purchased more trucks and forklifts to move food pallets with ease throughout Sacramento County, and has increased its refrigeration storage to keep foods fresh.

The Healthy Food Economy Fund collaboratively funds the large-scale investments that are improving the greater Sacramento region's entire food system.

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A Roadmap Forward: Food System Action Plan

That partnership advanced one goal of the Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan (the Action Plan), a Foundation-funded report that recommends strategies to strengthen the region’s food system.

Originally developed with Valley Vision in 2015, we are updating the Action Plan to reflect changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the local food ecosystem—including the exacerbation of inequities described in the original Action Plan, which showed that area youth and elderly are disproportionately represented among the hungry and that many local low-income communities are “food deserts” with limited access to grocery stores and fresh produce. The 2021 Food System Action Plan will be released in the fall.

Learn about the 2021 Action Plan

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

In tandem with the release of the initial Action Plan, we opened the Healthy Food Economy Fund to collaboratively fund the large-scale investments that will improve the greater Sacramento region's entire food system. 

Learn about the healthy food economy fund


Related Resources

October 5, 2017
Foundation Establishes New Fund to Boost the Regional Food Economy

First investments will streamline the emergency food system

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Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services
December 1, 2016
Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

After they arrive in Sacramento, refugee families rely on the emergency food system that a grant from our initiative is making more sustainable.

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September 25, 2015
Foundation and Valley Vision Release First-Ever Regional Food System Action Plan

The Foundation and Valley Vision today released 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.

Read More