The Sacramento region is becoming well-known as the Farm-to-Fork Capital of the world. Home to 1.4 million residents, Sacramento County is the only Northern California County with a large urban population and a significant agricultural industry, plus the largest Certified Farmers’ Market in the state. The County’s Agricultural Commissioner, Juli Jensen, plays a key role in this important industry.
According to the Farm-to-Fork website, “Sacramento is the capital city to the largest producing state of agriculture in the nation and, locally, 70 percent of the region’s land is agricultural, forest or other open space. Additionally, the region contains 7,000 to 8,000 acres of boutique farms.”
The County is connected to the Farm-to-Fork movement through the Certified Producer’s Certificates & Certified Farmers’ Markets programs. The Commissioner’s office ensures that the produce sold at farmer’s markets comes directly from local growers. During spring, summer and fall, a Certified Farmer’s Market is open nearly every day in Sacramento County. For example, the Orangevale market operates on Thursday nights from March through November. Others, including the Sacramento Florin market, are open all year.
With a staff of only 23, the Commissioner manages two main programs – agriculture and weights and measures. The Commissioner is also creating an Agricultural Advisory Committee to help advise on County agricultural issues.
“Most of the general public in Sacramento County is probably not aware that we exist but when informed, they have been extremely supportive,” said Juli Jensen, “and many people are not even aware that there is someone out there watching over them and ensuring their safety, particularly when pesticides are concerned.”
The Commissioner’s goal is to ensure the health and safety of our citizens by promoting and protecting Sacramento County agriculture and the environment, by inspecting crops for pests through exclusion and detection and ensuring good quality through inspection services. The Ag Commissioner’s Office works closely with the Sacramento County Farm Bureau and local growers to find new opportunities to promote agriculture within the county.
Sacramento County’s agricultural products are sold worldwide. The total in the County was over $460 million in 2012, with wine grapes as the number one crop. The County and the Agricultural Commissioner are committed to continued protection for this valuable resource.
Writer: Nicole Bee, Communication and Media Intern