By Elena Karoulina, Executive Director
We continue working on our big vision for the environmentally and economically sustainable and socially just local food system in our county. As a part of our Community Food Center project, funded by USDA, we are finalizing the feasibility study of the agriculture production available for the needs of the county. In June-July, our mighty working team of Sustainable Solano staff, UC Davis interns and a representative of the Solano Public Health, our key partner in this vision, embarked on reaching out to our farmers and meeting face to face with them to better understand the reality of farming and feeding the community in Solano County.
We reached out to 60 farms. Most of them are small to mid-size operations, producing a variety of food (mostly produce, but also honey, olive oil, eggs, meat and dairy). Not everyone was available or interested to talk with us about the emerging local food system, and we totally understand and respect this reservation. However, many opened their hearts and minds to this vision, and we are immensely grateful to the farmers who took time off their busiest season of the year to sit down with us and to tell us the true story of local food production and distribution.
We are still finalizing the results of our interviews and integrating them with relevant statistics from USDA and Solano Department of Agriculture to form an accurate picture of the state of agriculture production suitable for the local markets. What we see so far is a rather weak supply, a lack of infrastructure and most importantly, a week demand for Solano-grown food. If we are to change this picture, if we are to create a resilient local food economy, we’ll have to revisit our relationship with local food, our commitment to buying locally and our priorities as consumers.
Sustainable Solano is committed to continue working with various stakeholders and community partners to strengthen our local food economy. However, we cannot do it without a broad support of this vision from our communities! Please give your personal and family food supply a thought! To find out more, attend one of our many public educational events and consider buying truly local. For the list of Community Supported Agriculture, farm stands, restaurants and retailers, please click here.
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU to the owners and operators of the following farms who communicated with us during this process and contributed to our understanding of the current state of our local food economy:
Acquistapace Farms, Fairfield
Be Love Farm, Vacaville
Brazelton Ranch, Vacaville
Cherry Glen Beefmasters, Vacaville
Eatwell Farm and CSA, Dixon
Everything Under The Sun, Dixon
Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company, Fairfield
Lockewood Acres Organic Farm, Vacaville
Menagerie Hill Ranch, Vacaville
Pleasants Valley Honey Company, Vacaville
Robledo Produce, Fairfield
Rock Hill Ranch Chickens, Fairfield
Saechao Family Farm, Fairfield
Sepay Groves Olive Oil, Fairfield
Sierra Orchards, Dixon
Solano Mushroom Farm, Vacaville
Soul Food Farm, Vacaville
Tenbrink Farm, Fairfield
The Cloverleaf at Bridgeway Farms, Dixon
The Collins Farm, Dixon