The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Sacramento’s farm-to-food bank serves 100% locally grown produce

A number of food banks in California are working to deliver more fresh produce to their clients.  The Sacramento Food Bank is a leader among them.  They used to be “one of those standard food distribution centers where bags of processed foods, carbohydrate-laden government commodities and day-old breads and sweets were bagged and handed to people who stood in line for hours to get it” until their new CEO, Brent Blake noticed the people in the line where getting fatter and fatter. “I realized we were killing them.’’

Young set out to remake how the food bank operated.

He and his staff forged partnerships with local farmers, most of them organic, and upped the amount of fresh produce to more than half of clients’ food allotment. Then knowing that most of them live in food deserts without transportation to grocery stores and the region’s many farmers’ markets, they moved distribution sites to about two dozen neighborhood schools and churches they visit once a month.
Just like at farmers’ markets, the produce is laid out on tables, and clients can ‘‘shop’’ for fresh carrots, kale, tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, squash or whatever else is in season. Background music lends a festive air, and informational booths offer clinics on smoking cessation and health screening.
The number of families served has grown from 8,000 to 20,000 over the two years since it has taken off.

Now the Sacramento Food Bank, under the directorship of Young and his crew is setting out to create the nation’s first farm-to-fork food bank using 100 percent local growers.

Young hopes to open new markets for local farmers as clients buy more healthy food. He believes a true farm-to-fork movement must include socioeconomics groups not inclined to shop at farmers markets or Whole Foods.
‘A community is better off if farm-to-fork includes folks who struggle to put nutritional food on the table,’ Young said.

If you are interested in learning more about the Sacramento Food Bank and how it has helped its clients improve their lives, Tracie Cone’s article can be found here.

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Sno Pac Foods – Organic since 1943

Sno Pac Foods

CALEDONIA, Minn. — The Gengler family and its Sno Pac Foods Inc., founded in 1943, are pioneers in frozen organic food.

In fact, the Caledonia business says it was the world’s first grower/processor of frozen organic vegetables. Today, it also sells frozen fruit and frozen juice concentrate.

This summer, the 70-year-old company is expanding into a new addition to its offices and processing plant at 521 W. Enterprise St. The new 27,000-square-foot structure houses additional freezers and soon will house packaging operations, which are moving from another building in Caledonia. A public open house will be held when the project is completed, company President Pete Gengler said. Continue reading


Community Supported Agriculture

If you haven’t done so already, you might want to consider joining a CSA if you want to have fresh produce from a local farm this spring and summer.

Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief…

Advantages for farmers:

  • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
  • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s  cash flow
  • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow

Advantages for consumers:

  • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
  • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
  • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
  • Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown

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