Sacramento is blessed with an incredible year-round growing season. While much of the country is covered in snow and ice, our city is producing massive quantities of healthy, fresh food. Currently, the primary focus of Soil Born Farms' Edible City Initiative, Harvest Sacramento, is our amazing "food forest" highlighted by the tens of thousands of edible fruit and nut trees located in backyards throughout the city. As of March 1, we (this includes the help of nearly 350 volunteers!) have gleaned over 25,000 pounds of citrus from 165 homes. This puts us on pace to surpass our harvest total of 55,000 pounds in 2012. Much of this fruit was donated to Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services while more than 5000 pounds have been picked up directly by residents from our meeting locations in South Sacramento. We expect to continue harvesting citrus into June, lemons, grapefruit and oranges (navel oranges will give way to Valencia oranges in May) and then transition to stone fruit (apricots, plums, peaches and nectarines) over the summer.
A small percentage of the fruit is utilized to create value-added products, including Moroccan preserved lemons, candied kumquats and Meyer lemon-ginger marmalade that will be sold at Oak Park Farmers Market, Sac Coop, Corti Brothers and our American River Ranch Farm Stand. All proceeds support Harvest Sacramento. Janet McDonald (owner of The Good Stuff) and a growing group of dedicated volunteers make the preserves in Sac Coop's Learning Center Kitchen on select Sundays throughout the year.
An exciting growth area for Harvest Sacramento in 2013 has been the launch of several neighborhood harvest groups throughout Sacramento. These groups received training, harvest tools and on-going support from Soil Born Farms and have been building their network of family, friends and neighbors to take ownership of harvesting and distributing the fruit in their own neighborhoods. We are actively recruiting more residents to get directly involved in these existing groups and also those who want to start their own. These groups, although working independently, are also connected with each other to share experiences and provide support.
While we are currently focused on gleaning our existing fruit trees (this is the proverbial low hanging fruit), which are the legacy of those who planted them 10, 20, and up to 75 years ago in some cases, we are also building our capacity to realize the vision of an edible city by offering gardening and tree care classes, selling/planting fruit trees, designing and installing edible landscapes and pushing for community orchards, edible parks, school gardens and more. Sacramento, thanks to its unique climate, fertile valley soils, access to water and our diverse population with agricultural heritage, has the potential be the model "Edible City" for the country and the world. This potential can only be realized if all of us as individuals and collectively commit this happening.
For more information on how to get involved or to start your own neighborhood harvest group, please contact Randy Stannard,
, (530) 204-8082.
Existing Neighborhood Harvest Groups and Coordinators:
Land Park: Briana Monroe
South Land Park: Ivy Glasgow
Curtis Park: Tim Bowles
East Sacramento: Nanci Kuzins
Tahoe Park: Charleen Pfanner
Midtown: Valerie Seymour
Join us at an Upcoming Harvest