Foodsheds etc.

Dear Tom and other interested sanet-ers,

It looks like you've gotten excellent feedback on the foodshed question.  
There is, indeed, a network of us out here who are very interested in the 
concept of foodsheds.  Here at the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and 
Education Program (SAREP), we are developing an RFP that focuses on community
food systems.  We are trying to encourage research and education in 
California that supports the development of sustainable production 
and distribution practices, community economic development and social equity 
within local food systems.  Our new RFP will be out in early May and will be 
due in August. 

In the past couple of years, we have funded several projects that have 
attempted to incorporate these criteria in unique ways. One project is being 
developed in Placer County, called PlacerGrown. It is a local agricultural 
marketing program that is working to expand the production, distribution and 
consumption of local foods in Placer County.  Two surveys--one for producers 
and one for consumers--are being used to gather information about what 
production and marketing strategies are being used now and to find out what 
farmers and consumers need to increase their use of locally grown foods.  
They are also developing a local food guide for consumers called "Reason for
the Season" that will describe which foods are locally available in which 
seasons.  A packet of information has just gone out to folks in the 
restaurant business, telling them about how they might "tap in" to this 
project.  The Master Preservers are being utilized to do workshops with 
consumers about how to use and preserve local foods throughout the year.  The
PlacerGrown group is also attempting to collect data about how this project 
is impacting the community economically.  Sharon Junge, county director in 
Placer County, is the contact person.

Another project we have funded for several years now is up in Arcata.  It is 
called the Arcata Community Farm.  They are leasing land from the city and 
have developed a wonderful educational farm.  It is being used as a learning 
laboratory for students studying sustainable agriculture at Humboldt State 
University; for developing a curriculum with elementary school children; as a
community supported agriculture project (they now have about 30 subscibers) 
and as an educational facility for the community.  The project has also 
involved the Hmong community (which has a substantial population in the 
area).  Several Hmong families grow food for their families on the farm, 
supplementing their diets and making them less reliant on federal food 
programs to get nutritious food.  The Hmong families and the Arcata farm 
staff are sharing information about sustainable production techniques and 
learning about each others' cultures.  The contact person is Susan Ornelas.

Both of these projects have involved both university and/or extension 
personnel and community members in their development.  We have seen that good
leadership and effective collaboration among several groups has been part of 
the reason for these projects' successes.  

We encourage other groups or individuals in California who are interested in 
the concept of foodsheds or community food systems to contact either Gail 
Feenstra (916/ 752-8408) or Dave Campbell (916/ 752-7541) and obtain a copy 
of our RFP.

Gail Feenstra
Food Systems Analyst
UC Davis
Davis, CA 95616