President Robert S. Nelsen, standing, chats with other guests at the 2018 farm-to-fork dinner on Guy West Bridge. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Sacramento State’s farm-to-fork celebration gets a change of season – springtime rather than fall – and is recast as a casual party with tall tables and a small-plates menu. The setting remains the same: the Guy West Bridge, spanning the American River. 

This year's event, “Bites on the Bridge,” is set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3. Seating is limited to 250 guests, and the event is sold out. 

“We are excited to bring a new look to the event that will allow Sac State students and staff to mingle more with the general public, who’ll get to meet the students who helped plan and prepare the food,” says Jennifer Campbell, a registered dietician with Student Health & Counseling Services and an event coordinator. “They’ll also learn about great sustainability projects our students are doing.”

With a theme of “Sustainability,” the event will benefit the BAC Yard, a small corner of campus that is at the heart of Sac State’s ambitious sustainability and recycling programs.

In anticipation of “Bites on the Bridge,” students in Professor Kelly Thompson’s Food Production & Sustainability class, within the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, are planting herbs and vegetables in the BAC Yard garden.

They will use those and other locally sourced ingredients to prepare an assortment of handcrafted, seasonal appetizers in the Mariposa Hall food lab. The menu, which is still in the works, has the theme “Tastes of the World.”

Guests will be able to sample regional wines, along with Sac State's Hornet Hazy IPA and Hornet Honey Blonde Ale, which students – supervised by a professional brewer – will create in the food lab. The brews will be made with hops and honey harvested from the BAC Yard.

Additionally, a group of Sac State students will display their sustainability projects on the bridge. 

“We are excited to be growing the interdisciplinary partnerships and are looking forward to showcasing student projects from the departments of art, humanities and religious studies, history, and family and consumer sciences," says Lynn Hanna, professor and chair of the Family and Consumer Sciences department.

Student involvement makes Sac State’s bridge dinner unique in the city that bills itself as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” and hosts many related events, including the annual Tower Bridge Dinner.

Sacramento State’s inaugural farm-to-fork dinner on the bridge, in 2016, raised nearly $3,000 for the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Food Pantry. The 2017 dinner raised more than $4,000 for Sac State’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), a federally funded program that supports underserved students as they make the transition from high school to Sac State – Dixie Reid