Last month, we had the pleasure of interacting with over 250 foodies at the annual International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) in Sacramento. In addition to running food, wine, and beer tours, Taste Vacations is involved in organizing the IFBC, along with Zephyr Conferences and Foodista.
For the previous three years, IFBC had been hosted in Seattle but made the jump to Sacramento this year because of its growing Farm to Fork reputation. Farm to Fork is actually not a new concept, but rather a return to a more traditional way of getting food on our plates. It is a social movement which promotes serving local food at restaurants and grocery stores, which has been acquired directly from the producer. These producers not only include traditional farms but ranches, wineries, breweries, fisheries, or other types of food producers that are not strictly seen as “farms”.
According to farmtofork.com, Sacramento is the nation’s largest agricultural producer with over 1.5 million acres of farmland. 70% of the region’s overall land is agricultural, forest, or other open space. Unlike some other big agricultural areas in the country, Sacramento has a fairly Mediterranean climate which allows producers to grow high-quality crops year round. Restaurants and consumers in the area are fortunate to have access to a constant yield of delicious and nutritious fruits, vegetables, and other local products. On top of that, Sacramento is the leader in supplying the world’s almonds, rice, and caviar. Ironically, Japan consumes more Sacramento-grown sushi rice than its own domestic rice.
But why is the Farm to Fork movement important? Often, local food is more nutritious than food that has been shipped long distances. In order for food to be unspoiled by the time it travels to the consumer, especially if that consumer is across the country or even across the world, fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe. This prevents them from absorbing nutrients fully.
Additionally, eating locally produced foods is better for the environment. According to a Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture study, the average distance a fruit or vegetable travels to its end destination is 1,500 miles. Most produce is transported by semi-trucks which means for 1,500 miles, diesel fumes are being released into the environment.
Instead of shipping food far away, the Farm to Fork movement also has a positive impact on local economies. It not only pumps the money right back into local farms and businesses, but it helps keep the cost of the food down since it doesn’t have to travel very far.
We enjoyed tasting and learning about Sacramento’s Farm to Fork offerings during IFBC, but realized that it was just the tip of the iceberg! Because of this, IFBC will be returning to Sacramento for next year’s conference to take an even deeper dive into their bursting food scene. We encourage you to not only check out Sacramento’s exciting local food offerings, but to seek out locally grown fruits, vegetables, and other food products wherever you may be.