Non-profit Wants to Keep Harvest at Home

Sacramento (Oct. 26, 2009)—Sacramento-area farmers harvest 3.4 million tons of food each year. More than 98 percent is then shipped out of the region, and 2.2 million tons of food grown or processed elsewhere is imported for local consumption. Shawn Harrison, executive director of Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova, sees an issue and an opportunity. His program is at the hub of a movement to get more of Sacramento's bounty into Sacramento stomachs.

For starters, he plans a new nonprofit produce-handling hub in south Sacramento. Small local farmers could bring their produce to this center. There, it could be combined to create the larger quantities needed for sale to school cafeterias and neighborhood farm stands, or even mainstream distributors looking to serve the booming demand for locally grown food.

It's part of an ambitious vision – backed by a federal grant – to use local food networks to tackle health and nutrition problems, from obesity and diabetes to the lack of access to fresh produce in poor communities.

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