Designing for a Future of Food
An exploration of the Sacramento, California region
July 17-19, 2018
The Innovation Institute for Food & Health (IIFH) recently hosted an enlightening tour of farmland, ag processing and design space in the Sacramento and Central Valley regions of California with the new Climate Council from the Van Alen Institute. National members from the New York-based group were joined by UC Davis and regional experts in food, design, human ecology and landscape architecture. A panel session and workshop concluded collaborative reflections on how design, architecture and engineering could better prepare us for a changing climate. We look forward to further interdisciplinary cooperation!
IIFH encourages such uncommon connections between sectors, and the Van Alen Institute builds on more than a century of inventive designs that have transformed cities, landscapes and regions to improve people’s lives. In hosting the inaugural Climate Council trip, IIFH got to explore what might be the most viable designs for a future of feeding the nation in uncertain times.
The trip surveyed three major components of food production: water, labor and land, to consider the impact of design on each. Tour stops included research sites at UC Davis, distribution operations in West Sacramento, processing in Williams and Zamora north of Sacramento, and large-scale farm and conservation operations in the San Joaquin Valley, Watsonville and Alameda Creek areas to the south. By visiting with local experts and operators, the Climate Council could examine the capacity of food production and transportation systems to meet the demands of an ever-increasing global population.
The tour culminated in a half-day workshop addressing how design could expand and enhance these systems to provide more direct access to nutrition across the region, and decrease environmental impacts nationally.
Collaborations among communities, scholars, policymakers and professionals can develop transformative solutions for a more sustainable future that addresses the pressing social, cultural and ecological challenges of tomorrow.