Championing Sacramento as the “Farm to Fork” Capital of America
Sarah spent her fellowship year championing the Sacramento region as the "Farm to Fork Capital of America.” Mayor Kevin Johnson recognized that few places rival the region's resources - natural, economic, historical and political- and that their synergies give Sacramento an extraordinary comparative advantage in fulfilling this collective identity. In recognition of these unparalleled advantages, he designated 2013-14 the Year of Food in the region during his 2013 State of the City address and made growth in this industry cluster a priority for his second term. Sarah championed the inaugural Farm to Fork Festival, which was a hugely successful mix of gala and harvest events that inspired new jobs and community spirit. Sarah saw the opportunity to capitalize on the farm to fork brand to bring attention to energy recovery of food scraps. She partnered with the region͛s private sector innovators to bring the anaerobic digesters up to capacity by recruiting large institutional producers of food scraps (organic waste). Her pilot, dubbed “Farm to Fork to Fuel to Farm”, brought state agencies, city facilities, restaurants, schools, and corporate campuses to see the value in their waste. Renewable natural gas (produced by food scraps) now fuels the city͛s truck fleet, as well as several private fleets. Additionally, the nutrient rich digestate is now commercially available for large-scale agriculture production, closing the energy loop.