Food & Drink

Farm-to-Fork Festival kicks off with food drive

Peppers and local vegetables sit on a display created by Nugget Market at the second annual Farm-to-Fork Festival at the Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento last September.
Peppers and local vegetables sit on a display created by Nugget Market at the second annual Farm-to-Fork Festival at the Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento last September. Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento’s third Farm-to-Fork celebration will open in less dramatic fashion than the previous two.

The event, which culminates Sept. 27 with the (sold-out) Tower Bridge Dinner, will kick off at 5 a.m. Wednesday with a fresh-food drive on Capitol Mall. Contributions will go to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, which will distribute food and serve as a clearinghouse for other food banks in the region.

Local grocers Raley’s and Nugget, produce supplier General Produce, California Endive Farms and the California Pear Advisory Board will donate produce to the event. Donations of fresh, local produce from the public also are welcome.

The goal is to collect at least 25,000 pounds of fresh food and set a Guinness World Record. A Guinness representative will be on hand at the food drive, which lasts until 11 a.m.

World record bid aside, this kickoff event likely will provide less spectacle than the inaugural Farm-to-Fork celebration’s cattle drive and the second year’s tractor parade – both of which traversed the Tower Bridge. But it’s still an outsize display of Sacramento’s farm-to-fork bona fides, said Mike Testa of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“The first year, we wanted to show that farm-to-fork was not just produce, but proteins,” Testa said. “The second year was to show the equipment that was necessary for farm to fork. This year, it is to show the bounty of everything that is coming out of the ground, and to benefit people in need – with fresh food and not the traditional canned goods that people think of when they think of food donations.”

There are few other places in the country “that could compete for a (fresh-food) world record in a 24-hour period,” Testa said. “And if they did, they likely would be sourcing (some of it) from the Sacramento region.”

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson declared Sacramento “America’s farm-to-fork capital” in 2012. The city’s first Farm-to-Fork celebration, in September 2013, lasted a week. This year’s celebration runs 2 1/2 weeks and includes the free Farm-to-Fork Festival Sept. 26 on Capitol Mall.

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