Category Archives: News

First Annual Farm Tank Event – Sept. 22-23, 2016

FoodTankFood Tank, in partnership with the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, Farm-to- Fork Program, and University of California- Davis, is excited to announce the 1st annual Farm Tank Conference at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. This two-day event will feature more than 35 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together for interactive panels.

The event will feature interactive panels moderated by top food journalists, networking, and delicious food, followed by a day of hands-on activities and opportunities for attendees. This is the third in a series of four two-day Summits in 2016 which will bring together some the world’s most impactful food system leaders. Earlier this year, the Washington, D.C. Food Tank Summit completely sold out and drew in more than 30,100 livestream viewers. This is a can’t miss event for 2016! More Info Here to Register

Save the Date! – Statewide Agritourism Summit April 8, 2015

Purchased-Saginaw_WineryReprint From the UC Davis Agritourism Newsletter:

California farmers and ranchers host an amazing richness of enjoyment and education for the public – and the public is ready to visit California farms and ranches. But, in California, agritourism operators, organizers, planners and promoters are not well connected with each other. How can the agritourism industry best organize and work together for the success of all? Let’s talk!

Everyone involved in California agritourism is invited to a California Statewide Agritourism Summit on Wednesday April 8, 2015 in Woodland at the Heidrick Agricultural History Center. This will be a participatory all-day session with lunch provided. Please save the date. Registration will open in January.

This conference is for agritourism operators and associations; agricultural, tourism and community development professionals; county staff and officials; and others involved in California agritourism. The Summit will be a time for everyone in the California agritourism community to learn from each other and to plan for continuing statewide networking, skill-sharing, advocacy and collaborative promotional efforts. Some travel expense reimbursement will be available for specialty crop agritourism operators and for agricultural educators.

At the Summit, tourism and marketing leaders will present innovative ways to connect with the public and the tourism community, and agritourism associations will share their challenges and successes. The Summit will also feature facilitated break-out discussion sessions. In the morning we’ll set up tables for discussion by areas of interest such as county planning and regulatory issues, association development and sustainability, marketing and promotional opportunities, regional tourism connections, statewide policy change potential, and statewide collaboration by regional associations. In the afternoon, we’ll have regional discussion and planning sessions.

Buying Local Food — On Your Phone

ModernFarmerExcerpt from Modern Farmer where FarmAppetit was featured.                            read entire story

Dana Smith of Farmappetit, a Sacramento-based developer of of mobile apps for farms and small food and beverage businesses, agrees that we’re about to see a huge spike in adoption of mobile tech by farmers. “Farmers think apps are cool, but until recently, they have been unwilling to to adopt the technology for one reason or another,” she says. But critical mass is about to be reached. “All they need is a proof-of-concept,” she says, and those are happening all over the place.

Calling all farmers and those interested in making value-added products!

Picture77UC Davis / ANR (Agriculture and Natural Resource Program) Repost

Register in a town near you 

Who should attend? 

This hands-on workshop series is designed especially for farmers of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and honey interested in making value-added products in home kitchens as Cottage Food Operations (CFOs). Workshop series is open to everyone.

What is a Cottage Food Operation?

The California Homemade Food Act (AB1616) allows individuals to prepare and package certain non-potentially hazardous foods in private-home kitchens referred to as “Cottage Food Operations” (CFOs). Processed meat, dairy, fermented foods, and juices are NOT legally acceptable cottage foods.

Learn about:

  • Cottage Food Law
  • Food science and sanitation
  • Hands-on demos with jams/jellies, honey, nuts, dried fruit, and/or baked goods
  • Packaging and storage
  • Business operations for CFOs


Workshop series is $25 with advance registration / $40 at the door, space permitting.

Register for a two-part workshop series near you!

Scroll down for workshop locations and dates for two-part workshop series followed by workshop registration form and payment.You must attend workshop #1 in order to attend workshop #2, but you need not attend at the same location. Workshops take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days. Lunch is provided.



Cooperative Extension Solano County
501 Texas Street, First Floor
Fairfield, CA 94533
May 13 


May 20




UC Cooperative Extension Mendocino County
890 N. Bush Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
May 15


May 22





Agriculture Center
5630 South Broadway
Eureka, CA 95503

(Humboldt Hill Exit Off HWY 101)

May 28



June 11






Shasta College
Building #800, Room #822
11555 Old Oregon Trail
Redding, CA 96003
May 29



June 10






UC Cooperative Extension Amador County
12200B Airport Road
Jackson, CA 95642
June 12



 June 16





UC Cooperative Extension Sacramento County
4145 Branch Center Road
Sacramento, CA 95827-3823
 July 1


 July 9


California Farm to School Program Linking Farms and Schools For Kids Health

CFSNPic1Reposting the California Farm to School Newsletter – Please contact them if you are a California farmer to get involved in your local school district school lunch program. 

We can’t believe it’s already been a month since we launched!  We’ve received so many notes from all over California, from farmers who are eager to sell fresh produce to school cafeterias, to teachers who have been searching for strong nutrition education resources, to nonprofit and government allies who are really ready to work with the California Farm to School network  (CFSN) on getting California organized around Farm to School.

Enjoy the great stories below that we’re so happy to share with you, and remember to keep checking back at for more updates on the CFSN and to find lots of great resources for you to use!

Read complete CFSN newsletter.

CA F2SLogo

Mobile Purchases Continue To Increase

Man-texting-300x199More money continues to move through mobile. Over the next three months, here is what consumers are expected to purchase via mobile with organic and/or natural products at 12% and groceries at 36%. Some interesting mobile facts here – check it out!


Most (68%) consumers already have spent money on an activity via mobile and even more spending is anticipated, based on a new global study by InMobi. The research found that no one category dominates mobile spending:

  • 44% — Digital goods, such as apps and games
  • 30% — Physical goods, such as clothes and electronics
  • 24% — Financial, such as bill payments
  • 21% — Entertainment, such as movie tickets
  • 16% — Travel, such as train tickets

As you might expect, the study also found that mobile phones are being used throughout the day in numerous locations.  Interestingly, more people use their phones in the bathroom than in meetings or class. This is where people use their phones:

  • 83% — Waiting for something
  • 81% — Lying in bed
  • 61% — While watching TV
  • 57% — Commuting
  • 51% — Spending time with family
  • 46% — Social event
  • 43% — Shopping
  • 27% — In the bathroom
  • 25% — On a meeting or class

The study is based on 14 markets balanced by economic tier and geographic location (Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, New Zealand, Nigeria, Malaysia, South Africa, UK, US).  Some overall stats from the study:

  • 68% have spent money on an activity via mobile
  • 61% of mobile Web users are comfortable with mobile advertising
  • 7 apps were actively used within last 30 days
  • 60% of the average global mobile Web users now use mobile as only or primary way of going online
  • 61% of mobile Web users engage in mobile activities while watching TV

One of the key figures in the report is that most (83%) consumers expect to conduct mobile commerce in the next year, a 15% increase from where we are today. Over the next three months, here is what consumers are expected to purchase:

  • 58% — Clothing, shows or jewelry
  • 36% — Groceries
  • 36% — Music, videos, books
  • 33% — Beauty or grooming products
  • 28% — Entertainment activities
  • 20% — Tickets
  • 16% — Exercise and fitness products
  • 12% — Natural or organic products

No matter where it’s going, more money is getting there through mobile.

Reprint: Mobile Shop Talk 

How to decide between a responsive website or a native mobile app

BBC-Responsive-DesignMany business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with whether they should design a responsive website that works across devices or focus exclusively on building a native mobile app. It’s a difficult choice to make since both options present advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into consideration when moving forward.

As of last year, apps from retail businesses took up to 27 percent of consumer’s time, which sheds lights on how critical a mobile app can be to reaching your customers where they are active online. At the same time, 67 percent of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website than they are from a website not optimized for devices other than desktop.

It’s a tough call to make when deciding between responsive design or an app, but in the end, it depends on the goals of your business. If your company can afford it, it’s highly recommended that you build both a responsive site and a native mobile app in order to help your business work towards capturing the attention of your entire mobile audience. The native mobile app will provide a mobile centric experience for your existing and most loyal customers, while your responsive website can help provide an optimized experience to new and old visitors browsing your website or discovering it for the very first time.

For example, popular ecommerce brand Nasty Gal has a responsive website and a mobile app to help provide the best experience for its shoppers however they wish to shop the brand’s products. Most companies can’t afford to do both, which is why it’s important to understand the advantages of both options when addressing your company’s mobile priorities.

Responsive design is not a cure-all

Responsive Web design is certainly the most affordable option for your business as compared to the development of a mobile app. Take into consideration the initial costs of redesigning your website to be mobile friendly, then the cost of occasional upkeep and upgrades.

If visibility in the search engines is an increasingly important part of your strategy to grow your business, then a responsive website is critical in helping grow traffic to your website. A mobile app lives in a closed environment and cannot be indexed by the search engines, which requires driving traffic to this app through alternate methods.

Depending on your designer and the size of your website, a responsive Web design often takes far less time to create then does a mobile app since there’s no app store approval or extensive guidelines to follow as compared to what GooglePlay, the Apple app store and the Windows Phone app store require for launching an app.

If the goal of your destination online is to be universally accessible from any device, then responsive design is the solution. A mobile app is designed for a unique experience; exclusive to the operating system it lives on, which means it is not a one size fits all fix.

However, don’t think of responsive design as the easy way out when it comes to optimizing your website across mobile devices. Although a responsive website optimizes your experience, it doesn’t incorporate all the smart phone features like the camera or GPS that a native mobile app can.

A mobile app will provide users with unique functionality and speed that can’t be achieve with a responsive website, but can be experienced on the operating system you choose to design your app on.

It’s better than not having a mobile-friendly version of your website, but it’s not the finally solution for your customer’s experience with your business on mobile. Again, the choice between responsive and a mobile app depends on what your goals are for mobile.

Consult analytics to inform your native mobile app

A mobile app offers a compelling, unique and mobile specific experience for your customers, which is one of the main reasons why your company should consider designing an app over worrying about making your existing website mobile-friendly.

First and foremost, if you have existing data to analyze than it is important to use your analytics tools like Google Analytics or Omniture to see what mobile devices are used the most to visit your website in the past few months. This can help inform what operating system you decide to design your app on.

Whether you decide to go with iOS, Android, Windows Phone or another less popular operating system, it’s essential to match the features of the operating system with the type of app you’re looking to create whether it’s an ecommerce store, a content focused website etc.

Besides being able to utilize more of the features incorporated in a mobile device into the experience, a mobile app often has access to more data from a user and therefore, can provide a more personalized experience.

This personalization through data could play out in the types of push notifications an app sends you, product recommendations, suggested content to view or other specific user-driven actions. When a user makes a profile on an app, it makes gathering data about a person and their online habits much easier for a business and much quicker and smoother for the user continually using this app to shop, find events to attend, listen to music and perform other tasks.

As of now, a native mobile app offers the best user experience for a person on a mobile device since there are still limitations to how HTML 5 can be parsed on mobile.

As the complexity of the responsive website increases, the more likely the user experience will begin to suffer. A native mobile app offers the best user experience to your audience, taking advantage of the phone’s functions and the expectations of customers using these devices.

Lastly, in-app purchasing drives 76 percent of all app marketplace revenues to date since once it is setup, it’s particularly easy for users to make a purchase with pre-entered credit card information.

This is best suited if your app will offer micro-purchases, which our low price point products or services within the app, like buying virtual goods, membership to the premium version of the app or access to additional content.

Increase Sales With a Mobile App – Farmers Take Notice

Picture70With the new year well underway, more retail research studies are coming out pointing to the enormous opportunity in mobile commerce.  The good news is that mobile sales are projected to increase, according to the national Retail Federation, which shows online sales increasing up to 12%. And an increasing number of online sales are coming from mobile devices.

Many retailers seem poised to respond with mobile initiatives. More than half of retailers identify mobile efforts as a top priority, according to a recent survey of retailers by Forrester Research for   And with good reason: smartphone revenue more than doubled from the previous year with more than one in five sales coming from a smartphone or tablet, according to the survey.

That study suggests that merchants need to stand out to attract value-focused shoppers. One way to accomplish this to create a coherent mobile-shopping experience that leverages mobile connectivity throughout the shopping process. This includes reaching consumers and providing value as they shop.

Past studies have shown that in-store shoppers prefer using their smartphone for research rather than dealing with sales associates. The merchants who win will have moved past the why go mobile to engage shoppers via mobile and will be well on the road to experimenting with and deploying the how.

Responsive web design is not a long-term solution to mobility

AppIconSource:  Forrester Report published Feb 2, 2014

With responsive Web design projects proving more complex than expected while still lacking the ability to leverage key mobile functionality, the answer to how to efficiently deliver experiences across multiple devices is still forthcoming, according to a report released today by Forrester.

The survey forming the basis of the report found that 63 percent of companies using responsive Web design today believe it is not suitable for long-term use. With many companies looking for ways to address the significant growth in mobile traffic to their Web assets, the report suggests that responsive delivery and HTML5 may be better long-term solutions.

One of the biggest things that came out of this was that responsive Web design was viewed by the majority of the respondents as a tactical short-term solution.   They do not view responsive Web design as a long-term strategic answer to mobility.

Simpler solutions needed
The report is based on a survey of 146 United States-based companies across a range of industry sectors evaluating the results of various leading mobile development and deployment strategies. A key finding was that a responsive Web design approach and use of HTML5 were tied as the most frequently-used techniques, with 43 percent using responsive Web design and 45 percent HTML5.

However, the report uncovered some issues with responsive Web design.  One of the main issues with responsive Web design is that it requires the code for a company’s existing Web assets to be completely rewritten, making the project more complex than some expected.  Key findings from the report include that more than 70 percent of the cost, time and effort in responsive Web design projects is spent on the back-end recoding APIs, middleware, integration and infrastructure.

The survey also found 37 percent of respondents had to cut the scope of their responsive Web design projects in order to be able to deliver them on budget. Responsive Web design also does not meet many companies’ needs on the front-end. It is actually difficult to take advantage of mobile-specific features like geo-location, the camera or promotional programs using push notifications.

Longer-term benefits

Going forward, the report recommends responsive delivery as a way to unify experiences across touch points. It also underscores the ongoing importance of HTML5 for building mobile app experiences. By leveraging existing Web assets for both mobile sites and apps and eliminating the need for Web site rewrites, responsive delivery can help improve performance and allow organizations to take advantage of mobile-specific features, thereby providing more strategic, longer-term benefits.

Responsive Web design has a lot of mind share with marketers right now, and I think that once they get through this first wave of projects, they are going to realize that they need something else. Businesses are after a way to unify their desktop, Web and app strategies under one umbrella.

Does It Matter – General Mills and GMO?

This is a re-post from Local Harvest | Erin Barnett

CherriosEarlier this month, General Mills announced that Cheerios would no longer be made with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. Anti-GMO activists were pleased, while defenders of Corporate Food insisted it was no big deal. General Mills did have a relatively easy job of it; the only GMO ingredients in its original Cheerios were a little cornstarch and sugar which were readily replaced by non-GMO sources. Unfortunately, General Mills is not removing the GMO ingredients from its myriad other products so there is no reason to think that the company is concerned about the widespread use of GMOs. To the contrary, General Mills owns organic brands Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen which made campaign contributions that helped defeat the GMO labelling initiative in the State of Washington last November. Given all this, some people have suggested that the change with Cheerios was just a PR ploy. Maybe it was. Certainly General Mills knew that the move would appeal to many parents who feed Cheerios to their toddlers. Whatever the motivation, Cheerios going non-GMO is a very small gesture on the part of a very big food conglomerate.

So, does it matter? We at LocalHarvest think it matters deeply over the long run.

Most people in this country find themselves in the cereal aisle at least once a week. Most of those shoppers would probably not go out of their way to find a GMO-free cereal, but given that polls show that the vast majority of Americans want access to GMO-free food, we have to assume that many of them will be glad to have a convenient option. The change with Cheerios is important because it gives everyone a chance to easily and knowingly choose a product that is free of GMOs. What begins with Cheerios may very well carry over to other GMO-free products. Sometimes peoples’ buying patterns actual strengthen their beliefs, which then deepen their commitment to their buying patterns. Anyone who buys organic food has probably experienced this; I know I did. I started buying organic vegetables and fruits out of concern about pesticides. Gradually, organic became a higher priority and I started investing in organic meat. Then I switched to organic milk and yogurt. I’m still working on cheese and get organic grains or beans when I can.

We start with something easy and eventually realize that the issue has become more important to us. We put effort into it. This is one way to create change. One choice leads to another, leads to another, and to a strengthened conviction over time.

Moving toward a GMO-free food system will take a lot more than Cheerios. But if a few million people get in the habit of buying this one GMO-free product, they may begin looking for others. If they do, America’s food manufacturers will respond. What sells gets produced. Meanwhile, if even a couple of million of those people started making a little noise for GMO labelling, it will only be a matter of time before a labelling law gets passed in a populous state, and that could be the tipping point for labelling laws across the nation.

Genetically modified ingredients have infiltrated nearly every corner of the food system with very little public debate about the risks and possible benefits. It is that public discussion, along with the kind of labelling laws already in place in Europe and elsewhere, that we at LocalHarvest feel are vital. GMO-free Cheerios may play a role in furthering those causes…even if that wasn’t General Mills’ intent.