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.
The Healthy Food Economy Fund collaboratively funds the large-scale investments that are improving the greater Sacramento region's entire food system.
We know that hunger affects the quality of life for our community's most vulnerable. The Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan (the Action Plan), which we produced in collaboration with Valley Vision, and which was launched to a regional audience of over 500 civic leaders, shows that area youth and elderly are disproportionately represented among the hungry. It shows 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. Additionally, the Action Plan reveals that – despite being a region rich in agriculture – only 2 percent of food consumed here is actually grown here.
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.
To begin addressing the strategies recommended by the Action Plan – strengthening access to healthy food in underserved communities, teaching young people in the community about proper nutrition and cooking, and bringing more locally grown produce into the food system – we awarded a $100,000 grant to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services to streamline and strengthen the emergency food provider network and opened the Healthy Food Economy Fund to collaboratively fund the large-scale investments that will improve the greater Sacramento region's entire food system.
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.
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.