Napa County aims to make it’s food system healthy, local, and sustainable by ensuring all residents have access to it, reducing food insecurity. Napa food events and organizations work to raise awareness around this issue. Supporting green businesses and local campaigns are vital to combat food-related economic and environmental issues. Additionally, maintaining sound watershed management by contributing to positive impacts to local watersheds is crucial for a sustainable environment, the core of a strong local food system.
Click the menu bars below to explore current issues within Napa’s local food movement.
Napa County has a proud legacy of agricultural diversity which continues to evolve today. In addition to the Ag Preserve, other laws also protect and preserve that diversity. The California Land Conservation Act of 1965, commonly known as the Williamson Act, enables the County to enter into contracts with private landowners and restrict specific parcels for agricultural use. By preserving agricultural land, the program helps support agricultural diversity and discourages premature and unnecessary conversion to urban uses. Many individuals, groups and organizations contribute to and benefit from the bounty and diversity of our abundant agriculture and new collaborations and partnerships continue to expand agricultural diversity in Napa County. www.farmland.org
California Farm Link Two of the biggest challenges farmers face are securing enough land and money. California Farm Link’s mission is to link independent farmers and ranchers to the land and financing they need for a sustainable future. CA Farm Link provides valuable resources for business support and training, whether you’re just starting to farm or already farming. Learn more.
Community Alliance with Family Farmers CAFF is a non-profit organization that advocates for California family farmers and sustainable agriculture. By building on shared values around food and agriculture and the strong partnerships that exist between family farmers and their communities, CAFF provides support for improving local economic vitality and long-term sustainability of family farms. Visit CAFF’s website to use their “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” search tool to find local food providers in Napa with a couple of clicks, or get the latest information on Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), Farm to School programs, farming, food safety and other important topics.
CropMobster Community Exchange CropMobster’s mission is to empower communities by transforming old paradigms of food waste, surplus and loss, into new paradigms of valued and celebrated resourceful efficiency. Using social media and instant alerts, they connect local growers who have too much healthy food with those in need. This innovative exchange also helps local businesses recover costs, prevent food waste and connects people on both sides in new and fun ways. Napa County land owners can also take advantage of plant recommendations from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), to learn about native and non-native plants and how to achieve your landscaping goals. Learn more.
Farming First and many other groups are working hard to preserve, promote and protect biodiversity around the globe. Learn more about the challenges of conserving our ecosystems while ensuring future food security. To learn more, visit www.farmingfirst.org.
Land Trust of Napa County The Land Trust works to preserve the character of Napa County by permanently protecting land. They partner with the community to preserve the places people cherish most and over the past three and half decades, they’ve protected precious places like vineyards, mountain tops, redwood forests, ranches, and waterfalls. As a member and volunteer supported organization, the Land Trust’s hikes and activities are very popular with local napkins. Learn more.
Napa County Farm Bureau As one of the county’s most consistent voices for land stewardship, open space preservation and conservation, and agricultural sustainability, the NCFB is an important partner and driving force in Napa County agriculture. As a result of their advocacy efforts, the majority of the agricultural commodities in Napa County are produced using sustainable agricultural practices. As they work toward the goal of permanent protection of agriculture and its resources, popular programs include Ag in the Classroom (AITC) and a lending library for local educators, the Napa Green Certified Land and Fish Friendly Farming programs, and continuing education classes. Learn more.
Napa County Resource Conservation District The RCD is a local organization dedicated to promoting responsible watershed management through community involvement, land stewardship and technical assistance.
Their territory covers all of Napa County and a small portion of western Solano County and they seek to inspire all of us to take good care of our nature resources.
The RCD’s Best Plants, Best Practices offers a guide to conservation planting for Napa County and beyond.
Napa Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society Learn more about Napa Valley Native Plants by joining the weekly work group that meets every Wednesday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Martha Walker Native Habitat Garden in Skyline Park. CNPS is also seeking volunteers for their Natural Science Docent Program, to provide Napa County students a chance to learn about plants, animals and the Napa Watershed, while exploring the native habitat garden and hiking the Skyline wilderness trails. Contact Sandie Hewitt for more information on these volunteer opportunities.
Local Food Security
Local Food Security
The USDA has a range of definitions for food security. High food security is described as having no food-access problems or limitations, while very low levels of food security (or food insecurity) include disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake. According to a 2013 Community Health Assessment (CHA) performed by Live Healthy Napa County, 52.2% of households in Napa County with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level reported being food insecure. Read more of the CHA here.
An article in the Napa Valley Register in 2013 reported that more than a third of local adults experience some level of food insecurity. In a community so often associated with an abundance of good, healthy food, food insecurity can often be a hidden or forgotten issue. Many local agencies and non-profit organizations in Napa County are trying to change this and raise awareness about food insecurity and ways to help. The Local Food Day activities help to support the ongoing work these important community partners do all year long.
CalFresh Designed to provide “Better Food for Better Living” the CalFresh Program offers assistance for food, as well as seeds and plants for home gardens, to those who meet their income guidelines. To find out more or request an application, call Napa County Health & Human Services at (707) 253-4511.
Food Bank/CANV Low-income Napa County residents may receive an allotment of food from one of 6 locations every thirty days. Based on household size, these allotments consist of meat, dairy, produce, and dry and canned food items. Food pantries are located in Napa, Calistoga, St. Helena, Lake Berryessa, Angwin, and American Canyon, and together serve an average of more than 1,000 households each month. Learn more here.
Meals on Wheels For those seniors who can’t get out, but still want to live independently, Meals on Wheels drivers will bring them a nutritious meal and some lively conversation. Learn more.
Slow Food Napa Valley has many great resources on best practices in heritage food recovery and successes in restoring agricultural biodiversity over the last quarter century. To learn more, visit www.slowfoodnapavalley.com.
The Table The Table serves a mid-afternoon meal Monday through Friday to persons in need of food and sustenance. This community meal program is held at the First Presbyterian Church and food is prepared in their commercial kitchen by over 20 community organizations. Learn more.
Women, Infants & Children Economic hardship means families often have to make tough choices among basic needs. WIC is a supplemental nutrition and education program that promotes healthy eating and active living, and provides support and help with breastfeeding, and referrals to other community programs. WIC Participants receive checks to purchase healthy foods that are accepted at most local retailers. If you’re pregnant or a new mom and need help feeding yourself or your new baby, WIC is here to help your family with convenient hours and locations in the cities of Napa, American Canyon, Calistoga, and St. Helena. To learn more about WIC’s local education classes, you can email WIC@countyofnapa.org or call Napa County’s Public Health Division at (707) 253-4853.
Here are a few easy ways to support our sustainable local food system, have fun and learn something new at the same time (you can tell your friends you’re multi-tasking)!
2nd Annual Spa Water Contest at the Napa Farmers Market: Live Healthy Napa County (LHNC – pronounced “link”), First 5 Napa and the Napa County Children and Families Commission sponsored the on July 15th. Contestants were asked to bring 2 gallons of their favorite homemade “Spa Water” in a disposable container, along with a recipe card listing all the ingredients, for display next to their water. Only fruits, vegetables, herbs or spices could be used to create the no-sugar-added spa water recipes. To learn more about the contest or about LHNC’s Obesity Prevention Program, contact Emily at Emily@first5napa.org. The Children and Weight Coalition of Community Resources for Children is the primary coordinator of this campaign.
CanDo CanGrow is a project of Napa Valley CanDo. Our goal is to provide more fresh produce to local Food Banks. Help us harvest at our Food Bank garden on Sunday evenings (6:00-7:30) or Wednesday mornings (8:30-10:00). It’s located at the Napa Community Garden, SW corner of Trower and Jefferson. During the growing season, the food bank picks up extra produce from the garden early on Monday mornings. To learn more, or to volunteer, contact Karen Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Napa Plastic Bag Ban: The Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance that was recently approved by the Napa City Council, banning the use of all plastic bags at retail locations in the City of Napa, will be phased in over six months and go into full effect on January 1, 2015. To get all the latest details, visit www.cityofnapa.org/plasticbag
Eat|Shop|Drink|Local: The Napa Valley Vintners and local Chambers of Commerce encourage you to join them in supporting local wineries, shops, restaurants and other businesses. The campaign helps promote environmental sustainability and community wellbeing. To learn more contact Cate Conniff at email@example.com
Rethink Your Drink: A statewide educational campaign coordinated through California WIC that focuses on how sweetened beverages contribute to increasing rates of obesity and provides information to help people drink fewer sweetened drinks and increase their water consumption. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, (707) 253-0376 x 155 or visit www.cdph.ca.gov The Children and Weight Coalition of Community Resources for Children is the primary coordinator of this campaign.
Local Sustainability Issues
Local Sustainability Issues
Sustainability is a core value for most Napa County residents, who take great pride in working together, keeping things green and honoring the natural cycle of life, in the fields and on the table. A sustainable local food system is a healthy mix of ecology, economy, politics and culture and requires community participation, vision and support on many different levels. Sustainability is always a work in progress and there are lots of ways you can help do your part.
Ag Respect: Whether you bike, hike, run or drive, Ag Respect is your guide to enjoying Napa Valley roads and trails responsibly. Respect the farmers, love the land, and protect our heritage and our future. Contact Tony Norris at ncrposd.org or Peter Nissen at email@example.com or visit the website at agrespect.org.
Napa Community Garden has Garden Plots Available and they’re on a mission to give everyone in our community a chance to grow organic plants and vegetables. Beginning August 15, the rental fee for a garden plot is only $25 for half a year. You can rent up to two 10’ x 10’ plots per household and payment qualifies you as a member of the Napa Community Garden Association. The garden is located at the corner of Trower and Jefferson. To sign up for a garden plot or join their next Garden Work Day on Saturday, September 27th, visit their website at napacommunitygarden.com
Napa County Resource Conservation District brings together students, teachers, community volunteers, land managers and natural resource professionals to create classroom and field experiences that teach participants how to manage natural resources in a way that benefits agriculture and the environment. To learn more about how you can participate, contact Steph Turnipseed at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 252-4188.
Napa Recycles offers a composting workshop that teaches resident how to turn yardwaste and kitchen scraps into compost to use as a soil amendment or mulch. Sign up online for a workshop to learn more at compost.naparecycles.org.
Healthy, functioning watersheds are vital for a healthy environment and healthy economy. Everything we do on the land has potential to impact our watersheds for better or for the worse. Small changes occurring in one part of the system can result in large changes in the overall system. Individuals, citizen groups, and government all have a role in maintaining healthy watersheds. The Napa County Watershed Information Center and Conservancy (WICC) provides public outreach and education, serves as a conduit for public input and promotes, guides and supports the community’s efforts to maintain and improve the health of Napa County’s watershed lands. Coordinating the monitoring, assessment and data management of Napa County’s water and watershed resources, WICC serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Supervisors, and assists in the decision-making process. WICC reviews matters relating to watershed restoration and resource protection, including development of long-term watershed resource management plans and program and recommends options for watershed resource management. To learn more about WICC and get involved, send an email to email@example.com or call them at (707) 259-5936.
City of Napa provides the new Emergency Drought Regulations, and offers water conservation and water-saving landscaping tips, as well as a Virtual Water Saver Home Tour where to learn easy ways you and your family can use less water. Check it out at www.cityofnapa.org
Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County (EECNC), in partnership with the City of Napa Water Division, is committed to providing local schools and youth groups with the best possible water education opportunities, through cool programs like Project Wet (Water Education for Teachers) for the Napa Valley. To take advantage of these free water education programs, call the Water Resources Analyst at 707-257-9309 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Napa County Farm Bureau offers the Napa Green Certified Land and Fish Friendly Farming Program, a voluntary program for grape growers and vintners to improve the local watershed and restore natural habitat with sustainable agriculture practices. Most of the Napa River watershed (90%) is privately owned and public/private partnerships and programs like Napa Green are vital to our community. Find out how you can improve water quality and aquatic habitat by calling the NCFB at (707) 224-5403 or sending an email to email@example.com.
Napa County Public Works Flood Control and Water Resources Department has lots of great resources to help you conserve water, including information on water-saving devices, rebates, incentives for harvesting rain water and installing a rain garden. For more information, visit the Napa Watersheds website, call (707) 259-5969 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Napa County Resource Conservation District shares success stories about projects working to restore vital watersheds in Napa County. Visit www.napawatersheds.org, to learn about the successful removal of the Dry Creek Fish Barrier and the Carneros Dam, or the restoration of the Saintsbury Scotts Creek Channel. The “Acorns to Oaks” program is one of RCD’s most popular watershed restoration projects; in partnership with the Friends of the Napa River, the program gives Napa County school groups from grades 5-12, an opportunity to plant Valley Oak trees in suitable locations.
The Watershed Information Center and Conservancy (WICC) of Napa County guides and supports the community in its efforts to maintain and improve the health of Napa County’s watershed lands. Some of the biggest challenges facing Napa’s watershed stem from climate change and the current drought. However, one of the most persistent problems in the Napa watershed is one that local officials have been working on for more than a decade. In 1990, the State Water Resources Control Board listed the Napa River as impaired by high levels of sedimentation and expressed concerns about adverse impacts to fish. Sources of sedimentation were identified as erosion from vineyard, grazing and rural lands, storm and urban wastewater, and a Total Maximum Daily Load (TDML) was established to measure and control the levels of sedimentation. Learn more.
Food-Related Economic Issues
Food-Related Economic Issues
By supporting sustainable agriculture and buying foods locally, we can affect a vast range of environmental issues. Because the food chain intersects with both energy and water, engaging with local food systems can help to build clean energy systems and reduce reliance on environmentally unhealthy practices associated with misuse of natural resources. The green business advocates below can help to provide more information about how to save money by going green as well as how to support local farmers.
The American Farmland Trust (AFT) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on preservation of agricultural farmland and provides advocacy for farmworkers through support of environmentally sustainable farming practices. Good food comes from healthy soil and clean water. Many family farms are struggling and you can help save them. AFT is committed to advancing the economic viability of agriculture by protecting farmland and works on behalf of local farmers to advance legislation geared toward farmer as well as environmental well-being. Recently, the American Farm Trust has joined the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment in calling for urgent measures to halt widespread loss of farmland and threat to local food production capacity. Learn more.
The California Business Alliance for a Green Economy is a community of businesses working to promote a healthy and prosperous future for California, by building a clean, green and efficient economy. The California Business Alliance for a Green Economy promotes sustainable business practices and encourages all businesses to embrace policies geared toward advancing clean energy initiatives. CBAGE seeks to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and support diverse energy sources. To learn more about this organization and its key environmental investments visit this page on www.ca-greenbusinessalliance.com
Sustainable Napa County can help all businesses get a little greener with a few easy steps that are sure to increase your economic vitality. Sustainable Napa County brings together folks from Napa County businesses, agriculture, nonprofits, and government, to collaborate on long term environmental, economic, and social sustainability issues and serves as a distributer of “green” news. SNC recently highlighted the city of Napa’s adoption of a stipend program, designed to give local businesses more reasons to embrace green practices. Click here for more information on how you can become green certified today. Among their many resources, Sustainable Napa County also provides information on how to host a green meeting serving sustainable foods. Click here for more information: www.sustainablenapacounty.org