Cities and counties in the Sacramento region are looking for more ways to increase local processing of food grown and eventually sold in the area. People in the Sacramento Region buy about $7 billion worth of food every year, but only about two percent of that food is grown locally. David Shabazian with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments says the organization has commissioned a study in part to see how the region could increase its capacity to process local crops:
“Our farmers are doing really well right now and they’re doing well off of an export market. But, there is also value to be gained in growing food for ourselves here in the region and not paying someone else to do that.”
Shabazian says farmers in the region produce $1.8 billion in food crops annually. Farmers markets and food subscription services are increasingly popular and account for almost all of the local purchases of locally-grown food:
"The consumer today is starting to look for more products that have that local label on them. So, that’s the starting point. What is it out there that people are demanding? And what is it that we can we do here in the region to meet that demand.”
Shabazian says part of the study will focus on the benefits of using food banks, old processing plants, and the Campbell’s Soup plant in Sacramento to increase the region’s capacity to process food.
The SACOG study will also try to identify funding sources needed to build new processing plants.
The study could be finished by March of next year.