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Fresno Food System Alliance

The Fresno Food System Alliance (FFSA), launched in December, 2010, is leading the way in creating new relationships in the community and new thinking about food and farming in America’s most important agricultural county. Convened by the Fresno County Farm Bureau, the Fresno County Health Department and the Fresno Agricultural Commissioner’s Office with assistance from Ag Innovations Network, the Alliance has already mapped an ambitious agenda for taking farm-to-school programs to scale in the county and region, tackling tough local food policy development and implementation issues, and is engaged in improving market access for producers through the development of food hubs in the Fresno area.

Fresno County is located near the center of California’s San Joaquin Valley which, together with the Sacramento Valley to the north, form the Great Central Valley, one of the distinct physical regions of the state. The Coast Range foothills, which form the county’s western boundary, reach a height of over 4,000 feet near Coalinga while some peaks along the crest of the Sierra Nevada, the county’s eastern boundary, exceed 14,000 feet. The Valley floor in between is fifty to sixty miles wide and has an elevation near the city of Fresno of about 325 feet. (Environment of Fresno County, Fresno County Planning Dept., 1975).

Fresno County is the largest food producing county in the United States. Its fields are rich, diverse, and like so many of California’s agricultural regions, rife with challenges. From water availability to invasive pests, from food safety to worker safety, producers find themselves faced with choices that often lead to the closing of farms and the loss of rural heritage. Similarly, Fresno County’s cities are home to some of California’s most diverse populations and some of our most intractable urban problems ranging from hunger to childhood obesity, from lack of good food in many neighborhoods to a growing disconnect between urban and rural communities. The common thread in all these issues is food and the system that gets food from farms to forks.

The central idea underlying the FFSA concept is that the long-term viability of agriculture is central to the region’s quality of life, and that advocates for agriculture, farm labor, health, and the environment have much more in common than they often see or act upon. The FFSA will expand on this idea by exploring these issues from the perspective of the broader food economy and work to build a county food and farming system that works for a diverse alliance of interest groups in the county. By finding the places where the interests of producers, laborers, restaurateurs, consumers, health advocates, environmentalists and others intersect, there is great hope for proactively building a successful food economy in Fresno County.

The Fresno County Food System Alliance is currently working on local food system economic development activities such as farm to school and local food hubs

News



Fresno County Food System Alliance Member Sally Tripp Receives USDA Highest Award

Jan. 2014 Fresno County FSA member Sally Tripp receives 2013 USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for outstanding collaborative efforts involving a regional economic strategy in Fresno.

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Fresno Alliance Signs Charter!

Sept. 2013 The Fresno Food System Alliance members met and unanimously agreed to ratify their Charter. Click HERE to view the full document.

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Fresno Alliance Hosts “Dinner on the Farm” and World Café Community Dialogue

May 2013 The Fresno Alliance hosted it’s first “Dinner on the Farm” at Paul & Cheryl Betancourt’s farm in Kerman in an old almond orchard to bring together over 40 leaders who are working to affect change in the local food system.

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Fresno Farm to School Committee Featured on Channel 30 News Ag Watch

April 2013 Fresno FSA members Pao Saephan and Jose Alvarado were interviewed in Channel 30 News Ag Watch, highlighting the FSA’s Farm to School Committee.

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Fresno FSA’s Farm-to-School Committee Members Feautred on NPR Valley Public Radio

April 2013 FFSA Farm-to-School Committee members, Pao Saephan and Jose Alvarado, were featured on NPR Valley Public Radio on April, 2nd.

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