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Farm-to-Fork LIVE Travels to Washington D.C.

This year, Valley Vision and Honey Agency hosted a special Farm-to-Fork-Live event in Washington, DC as part of the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s annual Cap-to-Cap (Capitol to Capitol) program. Through our partnership with Visit Sacramento, Farm-to-Fork-Live D.C. showcased the region’s special assets and innovative approaches on critical food and ag system issues to both local and national leadership.

Farm-to-Fork-Live is a speakers series program managed by Valley Vision and Honey Agency as part of the region’s Farm to Fork program. This year we took the show on the road to Washington, that included a speaker panel and reception held at the beautiful Whitten Building atrium at USDA headquarters.

More than 70 representatives from federal agencies, congressional offices and Cap to Cap participants – including many local elected officials – heard about the priority policy issues carried by the Cap-to- Cap Food and Ag Committee to DC; how the local partners are pushing forward solutions that will improve the viability and sustainability of our food and ag economy and can inform other communities around the country; and how we can work with our federal partners and congressional delegation to move the needles on priorities. Our policy priorities this year are: accelerating ag technologies through R&D and improved rural broadband infrastructure and access, especially given the low levels of connectivity across the region; training the next generation of farmers and farm managers through apprenticeships and other creative programs; given that the average age of a farmer is almost 60 years; and facilitating institutional procurement of local, healthy foods for our schools, hospitals and other institutions, which also support local growers and the food economy through Farm to School and other USDA/federal programs.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations: Ken Barbic, welcomed the group and Bill Mueller, CEO, Valley Vision, framed the importance of the issues and the work being done. Meghan Phillip, Owner of Honey, moderated the panel of experts that included Brandon Minto, UC Davis, David Ogilvie, Silt Winery and Wilson Vineyards, and Trish Kelly, Valley Vision.

Each guest received a special Farm-to-Fork Live bag filled with products from the Sacramento region. A big thank you to all the companies that helped contribute these items including Raley’s, Visit Sacramento, California Rice, California Walnut Association, California Almond Association, and Vacaville Fruit Company.

This event was made possible by our presenting sponsor UC Davis. With additional support from Foster Farms, and partnering organizations including the Sacramento Metro Chamber, Visit Sacramento, and Silt Winery.

A special thank you to Bryan Zulko, National Director- Communities at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jim Barham, USDA Rural Development agricultural economist and food systems specialist, and Tricia Kovacs, Acting Associate Deputy Administrator at USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for their support in planning this event.

Emma Koefoed is a Valley Vision Project Associate contributing to the 21st Century Workforce and Food and Agriculture impact areas.