Our local food system—from seed to table and back to soil again—is vital, yet fragmented. The inaugural day-long Sonoma County Food Forum Feb. 24th at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds was an attempt to start putting those pieces together for the 21st century.
Food growers and producers in Sonoma County welcome and, in many cases, actively court local customers. But that's not enough for most of them to be economically sustainable, says, Sheana Davis, an ag entrepreneur in Sonoma.
In addition to the policy discussions that dominated the inaugural Food Forum, Davis said she welcomed the opportunity to get acquainted with some of her colleagues.
The worth of Sonoma County's agricultural producers extends well beyond their products, says lamb grower and former Sonoma County Farm Bureau President Joe Pozzi. Speaking with KRCB in the wind outside the forum, he suggested that the physical existence of farms and ranches such as his add to the quality of life for everyone in the area.
This first-ever Sonoma County Food Forum was hosted by the Sonoma County Food System Alliance, which in turn is a project of Sonoma County Health Action 2020. Organizers indicated they expect to hold additional such events in the future.
Sonoma Count's agriculture sector is, as one would expect, dominated by winegrapes, which are categorized as a fruit crop. Dairy, livestock and poultry comprise the next largest segment, with a multitude of small and specialty growers adding diversity, if only a comparatively small economic impact. This graph is taken from the annual Sonoma County Agricultural Crop Report.