Yolo County News

Technology experts aim to help West Sacramento on food issues

Pigs are roasted last fall at FoodStock, a dinner held at Raley Field as part of the Farm to Fork celebration. A team of technology experts is in town to look at ways to improve food distribution in the region and enhance West Sacramento’s role as a food hub.
Pigs are roasted last fall at FoodStock, a dinner held at Raley Field as part of the Farm to Fork celebration. A team of technology experts is in town to look at ways to improve food distribution in the region and enhance West Sacramento’s role as a food hub. Sacramento Bee file

Three technology experts have arrived in West Sacramento in an attempt to use computer programming skills to make food more accessible to people, improve dietary health and solve food supply-chain issues.

They are part of Code for America, a San Francisco-based nonprofit working with eight U.S. cities this year to make government services more effective and accessible to residents.

The technology should be centered around the city’s food industry and be simple and flexible enough for small cities like West Sacramento and towns around the region to use, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon said Friday in introducing the partnership at West Sacramento City Hall. The Sacramento Area Council of Governments is a partner on the West Sacramento project.

“West Sacramento is a significant food hub for manufacturing, distribution and logistics,” he said. “We want to create something to be scaled to other communities, that will be simple for a Winters or a Galt, to create a new way of civic technology. We want to work in the area of food.”

What that will look like will be the work of the Code for America team, a trio of mid-career fellows from Florida, Puerto Rico and Wisconsin. The team, in West Sacramento through this month, has been meeting with businesses, government officials, SACOG members and experts at UC Davis to help chart a path. The team will return to West Sacramento through the year.

“People really want to participate. The idea is for technology to bring those issues together in a way that will make sense for everybody,” said Code for America team member Imanol Aranzadi, a designer and developer from Puerto Rico.

They are three of 24 fellows working with other partner cities including Albuquerque, N.M., Indianapolis, Miami, Pittsburgh, Somerville, Mass., Richmond, Va., and Vallejo. Issues range from economic development to health to public safety. In four years, the nonprofit has built more than 55 Web applications with 30 cities, according to the group.

Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

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