What is the Sonoma County Food System Alliance?
The Sonoma County Food System Alliance (FSA) is a county-based coalition of diverse stakeholders working collaboratively to envision, advocate for and create a vibrant local food system. We envision a system in which local growers and processors are economically viable, the physical environment is maintained, and consumers have access to healthy, affordable food.
Convened through a partnership between Ag Innovations Network and the County of Sonoma in 2009, the FSA is a powerful forum to confront and resolve local food system issues by identifying and implementing key strategies and effective action.
The SCFSA is committed to the long-term process necessary to achieve system-wide change and will continue to leverage partnerships and strategic opportunities to reach the goals outlined in the Food Action Plan.
In August 2007, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors authorized the Department of Health Services to convene a Health Action Council called Health Action to work on improving the health of all Sonoma County residents. As one of 7 initiatives recommended by Health Action, the Department partnered with Ag Innovations Network, the Redwood Empire Food Bank and The Ag Commissioner’s Office to convene the “Sonoma County Food System Alliance”.
The Sonoma County Food System Alliance is part of a California network of county Alliances and State Roundtables that foster consensus actions and policy recommendations from food and agriculture stakeholders.
The staff support to enable much of this work (from 2012-2015) was provided by Ag Innovations, a Sebastopol-based nonprofit facilitation firm that has been working throughout California since 2000 to convene community leaders to improve regional food systems and tackle the biggest issues facing California’s ag and food systems (e.g., food safety, water, farmworker housing, ag land loss, etc.).
The Sonoma County Food System Alliance envisions a county in which everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food. Local farms and operations play a primary role in producing that food. Each part of the food system, from seed to table and back to soil, is environmentally regenerative, economically viable, and supports a healthy life for all members of our community.
The Sonoma County Food System Alliance engages diverse stakeholders: food producers and distributors, food security organizations, public health advocates, and other community stakeholders. These stakeholders work collaboratively to envision, advocate for, and create a vibrant local food system in Sonoma County that increases the viability of agriculture and access to healthy food in our community.
FOOD SYSTEM GOALS
- Food Security and Access: Assure that residents are food secure and have access to sufficient affordable, healthful, fresh food
- Food and Agricultural Literacy: Assure that residents of all ages are food literate. They have
- awareness of local and global implications of their food choices, and
- skills and knowledge to acquire or grow, prepare, cook and preserve healthy food
- Demand for Locally Produced Food: Increase the demand for healthful, locally-produced food
- Local Markets and Production: Expand local markets and food production in order to provide consumers with nutritious foods produced and processed as close to home as possible, and create a resilient food system for all citizens of Sonoma County
- Local Distribution and Processing: Assure Sonoma County has a local distribution and processing system that effectively connects local producers, manufacturers, processors, vendors, and consumers
- Economic Viability: Assure that farming and food system work are economically viable, respected occupations
- Opportunities for Food System and Farm Workers: Assure meaningful livelihoods and opportunities for all food system and farm workers
- Environmental Impacts: Assure that local agriculture, food production, distribution, consumption and disposal are part of a food system that regenerates nature
“The Healthy & Sustainable Food Action Plan can lead us to our final destination – a society where each of us has a place at a bountiful table, where we protect the natural world, and where true prosperity is created by those who grow and prepare our food.”
– Joseph McIntyre, Ag Innovations