Henderson Peaches 2The Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan is an initiative of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation and Valley Vision. The goal of this project is to create a common framework and identify the strategic priorities, actions, resources and leadership needed to transform our regional food system, reducing hunger, increasing local healthy food consumption, improving health outcomes, and growing our regional economy.

The Sacramento Region Community Foundation is a community catalyst for meaningful change throughout the region, through engaged philanthropy, thought leadership, and building nonprofit capacity. Valley Vision is a regional civic leader in the food, agriculture and health sectors, among other areas, working with a broad network of community leaders, partners and stakeholders to ensure a prosperous and sustainable region. Together they are leading a collaborative process to develop, launch and support the implementation of the Action Plan, described below.

Background

The Sacramento Region has tremendous assets in food and agriculture. There have been significant studies and initiatives over the past few years that have identified regional goals and resulted in many activities to advance an economically vibrant, accessible and sustainable food system. However, while there has been progress, much work remains: most of the food we consume is not produced locally, we still have high levels of hunger, we have continuing poor food-related health outcomes in communities across the region, and agriculture faces ongoing challenges such as farmland development pressures.

The passion and commitment among the many food system actors across the region has brought significant benefits in improving and strengthening the food system. However, we have reached a threshold where we need to be better organized if we are going to capture our economic potential, address our systemic health and hunger issues, and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. Additionally, while SACOG and other entities have generated a great deal of useful data, there is limited ability for that information to be understood and leveraged broadly and strategically without a more systematic assessment of actors, initiatives and capacity within the region.

The region needs a comprehensive roadmap that connects leaders and stakeholders in common purpose, working together on breakthrough actions. We are working with food system partners to prepare, launch and implement the Sacramento Regional Food System Action Plan.

Project Approach

The Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan will help document, align and strengthen food system efforts across the public and private sectors for optimum economic, community and environmental benefits. Valley Vision and the Foundation are working with community partners to define the key metrics to monitor and measure progress over the next three years and develop an annual report card.

This project is a three phase effort that includes:

Phase I: Food System Action Plan: Asset Inventory of key actors and initiatives; capacity assessment and gap analysis; interviews and research on key opportunities that the region could catalyze and accelerate, including food system innovations and potential pilots; convening of stakeholders to identify and agree upon 3-5 strategic priorities; and development, dissemination and launch of the Sacramento Regional Food System Action Plan, targeted for Fall 2015.

Phase II: Action Plan Implementation: Phase II activities will include coordination of Action Plan implementation; convening of stakeholders; additional research; support for nonprofit capacity building; and identification and leveraging of resources from external funders.

Phase III: Action Plan Update: Refinement of Action Plan priorities, and continuation of Phase II activities, including coordination, capacity building, resource leveraging and information dissemination.

The Foundation will work with partners to develop an information-rich website that can be used for project planning, resource identification, best practices on food system innovations, grant writing, initiative tracking and increased learning about the food system.  Utilizing an updatable function, the website will host the most current information available and make it widely accessible and visible.

Outcomes

Over the three project phases, and working with key partners, progress will be measured towards the following outcomes:

  • Documentation and assessment of key regional food system organizational assets, gaps, needs
  • Increased transparency of food system actors and initiatives
  • Implementation of Action Plan Strategic priorities
  • Coordination and mobilization of partners around cohesive regional Action Plan
  • Increased capacity of key system partners, especially nonprofits, doing this work
  • Increased investment of resources in the regional food system
  • Increased efficiency in the regional food system
  • Increased amount of local food reaching local markets, especially food deserts
  • Reduced food waste