Beets(Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

High school students, get ready to dig in.

Sacramento State's College of Continuing Education (CCE) presents Farm-to-Fork, July 11-15 and July 18-22, a new series in its Summer Academies for High School Students. The students will gain exposure to farm-to-fork careers while learning about where the region’s food comes from and how to help create healthy communities. The series begins and ends on campus, with field trips across the region.

Nicole Rogers, head of the Farm-to-Fork initiative for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, instructs the course with hopes of telling the raw, real story behind the industry – celebrating farm managers, farmworkers, veterinarians, distributors, marketers, and other “rock stars,” as she calls them.

“One of our hopes is that each day with this curriculum, we’re able to connect the dots about the different kinds of jobs and careers, and how diverse they are when it comes to food and agriculture,” Rogers says.

Students will discover sweet tastes of summer through visiting local farms and retailers, and meeting Scott Ostrander, executive chef from the Inn at Park Winters. The experiences also will introduce them to cooking, nutrition, and issues impacting the region such as food waste and food security.

By the end of the course, students will be creating dishes of their own. For some, this may be just the beginning.

With Sacramento State and the visitors bureau teaming up for the academy, CCE program manager Anna Keck has high hopes for the region’s future generation when it comes to food.

“We hope it will light a spark for students,” Keck says. “That is the goal across the board with all of our academies – to help a student hone in on an interest, a career path, and an educational path so they feel like they have something they are working toward.”

Classes meet 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.


  • Food: The Big Picture, Napa Hall


  • The Farm: Fruits and Vegetables, Del Rio Botanical with special guest Scott Ostrander, executive chef for the Inn at Park Winters


  • The Ranch: Protein, Mitchell Turkey Ranch


  • The Fork: Retailing, Fiery Ginger Farm, followed by a tour of Raley’s facilities


  • Farm-to-Fork Conclusion, Napa Hall – Food waste partnership with Green Restaurants Alliance Sacramento

Sacramento proudly declared itself in 2012 as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, home to more than 1.5 million acres of regional farmland and 8,000 acres of boutique farms, according to the visitors bureau. The bureau’s Farm-to-Fork initiative serves as a year-round effort to increase awareness of the region’s food systems and agriculture, and Rogers’ course certainly fits the bill.

Coming up this fall, Sacramento State will continue to support the initiative, holding its first Farm-to-Fork Festival from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, with a “Farm to Every Fork” theme. The Farm-to-Fork Dinner at 7 p.m. on the Guy West Bridge is to follow, in collaboration with local farmers, the University’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS), students, campus dining services, Student Health Services, Sac State Sustainability, and the Associated Students Inc. Food Pantry.

Festivities will include cooking demonstrations and activities in the quad. Keynote speaker Raj Patel, an award-winning writer and food activist, joins at 6 p.m. The festival is free to attend, and the dinner is registration-only with proceeds going toward the Food Pantry.

For more information and registration for Farm-to-Fork, visit, contact Program Coordinator Liz Arellanes at, or call (916) 278-6249. For more information on the FACS festival and dinner, visit or call (916) 278-6393. – Jayla Lee