Posts Tagged: Farm-to-Fork
The day for collectively taking action against global hunger is still two months away. But September and October are already shaping up as “world food months,” with a number of events connecting Californians to their food systems and the world's food challenges.
World Food Day officially falls on October 16, honoring the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In the meantime, here are a few worldly UC events to look out for, both online and in person:
UC Student Video Challenge calls for student stories
The World Food Center at UC Davis is kick-starting the World Food Day spirit of building awareness around solutions for ending hunger. In partnership with the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute and the UC Global Food Initiative, the Center launched a video contest for students across the 10 UC campuses—including extension offices and health systems—to capture stories on UC research related to food or nutrition security, as defined in the second of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Students can win up to $1,000 and a paid trip to the World Food Prize International Symposium. The deadline is September 7.
World Bank and International Year of Pulses
Combining World Food Day with the FAO's celebration of pulses for being a sustainable protein source, the agriculture and SecureNutrition groups at the World Bank are teaming up with the World Food Center to host a talk on the role of legumes in nutrition, climate-smart agriculture and serving low-income countries. Douglas Cook, director of the Chickpea Innovation Lab at UC Davis, will deliver the presentation, which will be streamed online as well, on October 6.
Talk from recent head of UN World Food Programme
Speaking on the need for ensuring the world's neediest receive not only enough food, but the right food, World Prize laureate Catherine Bertini will deliver a public lecture in honor of World Food Day. The World Food Center is hosting Bertini at UC Davis on October 10, also with livestreaming available. The winning submissions for the World Food Day Video Challenge will be showcased ahead of the lecture.
UC research at World Food Prize
Known as the “Borlaug Dialogue,” the World Food Prize International Symposium is the most prestigious gathering in food and agriculture. Beth Mitcham, head of the Horticulture Innovation Lab at UC Davis will speak at the symposium, while the World Food Center is again organizing a panel discussion, this time focused on measures of progress for nutrition security and featuring leaders from the FAO, the US Agency for International Development and the International Food Policy Research Institute.
In past years, World Food Prize laureates have included researchers from UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. The symposium is held in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 12-14, and will be livestreamed as well.
From “Tank” to “Fork” and everything in between
While not directly connected to World Food Day, Sacramento's annual Farm-to-Fork celebrations have locals tipping their glasses to the close connection Californians share with the nation's top ag economy. Tastings, farm tours, food drives and street festivals span the month of September. The Farm Tank conference, meanwhile, is partnering with UC Davis and the Farm-to-Fork organizers to expand the foodie dialogue with a list of speakers ranging from corporate chefs to food reporters and UC ANR's chief information officer, Gabe Youtsey. The event also takes place in Sacramento, on September 22.
The combination of programs that encompass University of California Cooperative Extension allow the organization to be at the forefront of the movement, said Terry Spezzano, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Stanislaus and Merced counties.
“We have farm advisors, nutrition advisors, Master Gardeners and Master Food Producers,” Spezzano said. “We have it all, so we’re in a really good spot to spearhead the farm-to-fork movement.”
When State Senator Cathleen Galgiani sponsored a farm-to-fork education day at the San Joaquin County fairgrounds in August, she invited UC Cooperative Extension to be involved.
The event was designed to link the community with fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms. Even though San Joaquin Valley residents live in the midst of a world-class agricultural industry, they may not know where to purchase the freshest produce, how to prepare it, and the importance of including it in their diets to promote a healthy lifestyle.
“This is to bring attention to the wonderful food we have here at home, in our own backyard,” Galgiani said.
Three local chefs were given one hour, one raw chicken and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are typically distributed by the emergency food bank and available to WIC program participants. As an audience watched, the chefs quickly sliced tomatoes and onions, cut the kernels from corn on the cob, julienned colorful bell peppers, sautéed, braised and stir-fried their creations to be judged by a panel of tasters.
“This shows people how to make wonderful, healthy meals that are so good, we would think we could only get something so delicious in restaurant,” Galgiani said. “We have a farmers market here (at the fairgrounds) every Thursday. We hope that people will come and do more cooking at home with fresh products.”
The UC CalFresh and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education programs had booths at the event to showcase their year-round educational efforts that teach families and school children how to eat better, read labels and manage money.
Also present at the farm-to-fork day was Puentes, a non-profit organization that manages the 2.5-acre Boggs Tract Community Farm on land leased from the Port of Stockton. The organization has worked closely with the UC Master Gardeners in San Joaquin County to build the farm and teach interested residents about producing and marketing fruits and vegetables.
Master Gardener Susan Mora Loyko is chair of the Puentes Board of Directors.
“The Boggs Tract Community Farm is a prototype sustainable farming business,” she said. “We are educating local families to grow, market and sell the produce in the neighborhood, where there is no access to fresh produce, and get people engaged in eating healthy food.”
The program also markets Boggs Tract products via a community supported agriculture program that provides boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables weekly to Stockton subscribers.
“We hope to replicate this model in other parts of Stockton, and eventually throughout California and the Americas,”
To learn more about the San Joaquin County farm-to-fork day, view the video below:
UC researchers studied farm-to-hospital initiatives in the Bay Area, and they found a growing movement to put locally produced food on patient trays and cafeteria menus. They say that buying from local farmers and ranchers is part of a trend toward better quality and flavor in hospital meals, both to satisfy consumer demand and to address concerns about dietary contributions to chronic disease.
"Just replacing food-service cans with locally grown vegetables won't curb high rates of obesity and heart disease, but it may encourage patients and cafe customers to increase their daily intake of vegetables," said study co-author Gail Feenstra. "And if there's one piece of firm advice from nutritionists, it's to eat more fruits and vegetables."
One example of a "farm-to-hospital" initiative is the John Muir Health System facilities in the East Bay, where executive chef Alison Negrin (formerly chef at some of the Bay Area's best known restaurants, including Chez Panisse) has replaced all frozen vegetables with fresh produce, most of which is grown within 150 miles of the hospital.
Now John Muir patient lunch trays feature a local, seasonal fruit of the day. John Muir cafes offer bowls of citrus fruits from Capay Valley orchards and steam trays of fresh broccoli and cauliflower grown in Monterey County, local mixed lettuces in the salad bars and grass-fed beef from area ranches in the hamburgers.
Hospitals have the buying power to make a big difference in local food networks, Feenstra said. "They buy more than $12 billion of food every year."
The report, "Emerging Local Food Purchasing Initiatives in Northern California Hospitals," is available online at http://sarep.ucdavis.edu/cdpp/fti/.