If Anything is Possible, How Would You Feed Nevada County?

Nevada County Food Policy Council Meeting, November 2016
Nevada County Food Policy Council Meeting, November 2016

If the sky was the limit, what kind of food and farm community would you create for Nevada County? This has been the collaborative task of the Nevada County Food Policy Council, a multi-disciplinary team of farmers, ranchers, businesses, government and non-profit organizations who are passionate about creating a thriving community based food system.

Under the facilitation of Sierra Harvest, the Council was formed in January 2015 to set common goals and work together to maximize positive impacts on the food environment, human health and the livelihoods of Nevada County residents.

The Council’s first goal was to create a comprehensive assessment of our “food system”, which offered some sobering data on the health of our farming community.  For example, the average Nevada County farmer struggles to make ends meet and most have an off-farm job to support their farm business.  In addition, the majority of farmers in this county are nearing retirement age and don’t have successions plan for their farm.   As far as consumers, over 13,000 families in Nevada County struggle to put food on the table, and their access to local, nutrient dense fresh vegetables is extremely limited.

As part of the food system assessment, the Council brainstormed a plan for what our ideal food system would look like.  Some elements of the vision include fair and widespread access to fresh, local food; expanding our community of farmers and ranchers, who would make a good living growing healthy food; scratch-cooked meals made with local food in all schools, hospitals, and other institutions; and sustainable farming practices that would give back to the health of the natural resources we treasure so deeply in Nevada County. 

Our work has only just begun, and it will take several years of carefully coordinated teamwork to see the changes the council envisions for our community.  We are very encouraged by the collaborative spirit among the council members and their dedication to making the vision a reality for our community and generations to come! Sierra Harvest wishes to thank all of our Council members as well as a very generous anonymous donor who has funded much of this work to date.

Nevada County Food Policy Council participants include:

Agriculture Commissioners Office of Nevada County

The Banner Grange

Bear Yuba Land Trust

The BriarPatch Co-op

California Growers Association

Crossroads Resource Center

Elster Ranch

The Farm Bureau

Food Bank of Nevada County
Folwer Family Farm

Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce

Interfaith Food Ministry

Johansen Family Farm

Nevada City Farmers Market

Nevada County Grown/Nevada County Food Hub

Nevada County Public Health

Nevada County Resource Conservation District

Sierra Harvest

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital

Tahoe Food Hub

Tahoe/Truckee Unified School District

Three Forks Bakery and Brewing Co


Know an organization or someone that should be on this list?  Would like to make a contribution to this work?  Please contact Malaika Bishop or Aimee Retzler at 530-265-2343.