(West Sacramento, CA) Raley’s is announcing an increased commitment to supporting beginning farmers through the Center for Land-Based Learning’s West Sacramento Urban Farm Program.
Raley's has committed significant support for three urban farm sites in the City of West Sacramento. The Urban Farm Program, run by the Center for Land-Based Learning, supports beginning farmers through low cost land leases, professional mentoring and by helping farmers find markets for their crops. Urban farm sites increase access to fresh local produce, promote community sustainability, encourage volunteerism and stimulate educational opportunities. A percentage of produce grown will benefit Food For Families while creating a built in market for beginning farmers.
“Our partnership with the Center for Land-Based Learning provides a full circle approach to Raley’s support of the entire food system,” said Becca Whitman, Community Relations Manager for Raley’s. “By working together, we are strengthening the market channel for farmers, increasing agricultural workforce development opportunities, and providing our Food For Families partners fresh fruits and vegetables for the food insecure in our communities.”
In 2014, the Center for Land-Based Learning planted West Sacramento’s first urban farm at the corner of 5th & C Streets. There are now four urban farms within the city, all of which are managed by beginning farmers. The Farm at the BARN will be the fifth urban farm site and is slated to be planted in spring 2017. Three of the five sites are supported by Raley’s. As part of Raley's commitment, ongoing efforts will be made to support farmers seeking to gain access to larger partners, including Raley’s own “Living Local” Program, which builds relationships with local farmers within 50 miles of its stores. Produce from the urban farm at 5th and C Streets is sold at the Raley's in West Sacramento.
“Contract growing, navigation of complex food safety rules and the ability for several small-scale farmers to aggregate their produce to fill large, weekly orders is a huge step toward sustainability for these beginning farmers,” says Mary Kimball, Executive Director of the Center for Land-Based Learning. “Just like any other business, the first three years are make or break, but farming presents its own unique challenges, which Raley’s is helping to address with beginning farmers.”
The project supports Land-Based Learning’s mission to inspire, educate, and cultivate future generations of farmers, agricultural leaders, and natural resource stewards. “The ongoing support of Raley’s to the Center for Land-Based Learning is exactly the type of civic interaction that the city of West Sacramento seeks to foster,” says Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor West Sacramento. “The strong partnership sends signals throughout the community that we are dedicated to nurturing connections between residents, businesses and non-profits to improve the quality of life for all”.
About Center for Land-Based Learning
The Center for Land-Based Learning was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to creating the next generation of farmers and to teaching California’s youth about the importance of agriculture and watershed conservation. Combining innovative hands-on experience with classroom learning, participants in Land-Based Learning’s many programs develop leadership skills, learn how sustainable agriculture practices contribute to a healthy ecosystem, and create connections to agricultural, environmental, and food system careers. For more information, visit www.landbasedlearning.org.
About Raley’s Family of Fine Stores
Raley’s is a privately owned, family operated supermarket chain with headquarters in West Sacramento, CA. The company operates 121 stores in Northern California and Nevada under four banners: Raley’s Supermarkets, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source. Raley’s was founded in 1935 by Tom Raley and is a major grocery chain best known for high quality products, fresh produce, fine meats and outstanding customer service. Raley’s strives to make its customers’ lives easier and better by delivering a personalized food shopping experience. For more information, visit www.raleys.com.