Although she’s always appreciated the University of California system (she graduated from UC Berkeley and developed a course there called Edible Education 101), she had concerns UC Davis was overly influenced by agribusiness companies like Monsanto. She was surprised when UC Davis chancellor Gary S. May invited her to lunch last year. Santana Diaz, the executive chef at UC Davis Health, served a meal made with local ingredients, including ones from Full Belly Farm and Riverdog Farm—both are suppliers to Chez Panisse. The collaboration between UC Davis, a heavy hitter in agriculture and environmental science, and Waters, a wellknown advocate for healthy, local food and sustainable farming practices, looks like a winning partnership. Segar says UC Davis will provide evidence-based research to support the institute’s educational programs, while Waters hopes to influence policy in the state’s Capitol. “Alice will create a larger impact than we could do alone,” he says. “We have the potential to do something that will capture the attention of the country and the world, and I can help to make that happen with this institute,” Waters says. “We can help Gavin [Gov. Newsom] speak out to the world around [the issues of] climate and agriculture and food.” Waters says she is “not quite ready to make the move” to Sacramento from the Bay Area, but she is “going to be very deeply involved in this project,” she says. “I want to find people, and I know a lot of them who I want to be a part of it who live near Sacramento.” Among the local notables are Craig McNamara from Sierra Orchards, Judith Redmond from Full Belly Farm and Darrell Corti from Corti Brothers. “It’s really going to take an army of people who share values and a love of teaching and care of children,” Waters says.
he nonprofit Food Literacy Center, the brainchild of Amber Stott, is contained in a cute but cramped house not far from Gunther’s Ice Cream in Curtis Park. There’s a tiny garden out front. When we stopped by, ripe pea pods, perfect for snacking, hung from their vines. Next year, the center plans to pack up and relocate to its new cooking school and headquarters at Floyd Farms on the grounds of Leataata Floyd Elementary. The development is part of a planned “agrihood” bordering The Mill at Broadway, with a park, housing and community gardens. Stott and her staff, enthusiastic cheerleaders for all things vegetable, will continue to offer free cooking and nutrition programs to schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District and maintain the student gardens in exchange for the space. “COVID has given this project new meaning as far as building resilience in this community. With cold storage and the ability to prepare food in the commercial kitchen space, we will be better able to meet the needs of our students in times of crisis,” Stott writes via text. “Also, COVID has shown the lack of open space. The parks that are open are often crowded. Being able to open our gardens as public parks is more important than ever as our community continues to prioritize their health.” The center is unique because it serves an entire school district, she says, and she’d like to see more formal agreements between nonprofit food-literacy organizations and school districts in California. “This model says to the rest of the state, this is something that’s possible.” The farm-to-fork movement was in its baby stages when Stott started writing about food and figuring out how to
SACMAG.COM August 2020