When most people think of downtown Modesto, they think of their favorite restaurant or watering hole, or they think of the Gallo Center. But there’s a great deal more happening in downtown Modesto than most people realize. Take the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, for instance. Unless you’re part of the ag community, you’ve probably never heard of it. But the Farm Bureau is doing something remarkable, and it’s getting attention from all over the State.
The Farm Bureau acts as a nonprofit advocacy group for food producers in the California Central Valley. Working to promote the interests of California agriculture both through shaping public policies that affect growers and through outreach programs that educate local citizens. The Farm Bureau is dedicated to making it easier for Central Valley farmers to keep farming.
So, why is that important?
Most of us already know that California is the nation’s top agricultural producer, but here in the Central Valley we take it to another level. Using less than 1% of the nation’s farmland, we churn out a quarter of all national food production.
A shining example of the work the Farm Bureau is doing to raise food awareness in the Valley is the new Farm Bureau Foodies show on Facebook, which recently racked up an Innovator Award. Anna Genasci, News Editor for the Bureau, is the rising star and creative force behind Foodies.
For those who haven’t yet experienced the Foodies series, Anna is using our national fascination with delicious food to promote greater awareness of the ag community. In the program, she finds a favorite local dish, reveals how the chef prepares it, and then sources the ingredients to local farms. In a recent episode, Anna went behind the scenes at the Redwood Café in Oakdale as Chef John revealed the preparation secrets of his popular shrimp and grits medley using Fiscalini old world bandaged cheddar. After sharing a mouth-watering closeup of the dish and enjoying a taste, Anna whisks us away to the Fiscalini Farmstead in Modesto where we see how the cheese is made.
Presenting delicious edibles and then tracking the ingredients back to local farms encourages viewers to appreciate the work of local food producers in a tangible way. While we can all agree farming is important, seeing how your favorite foods are only possible because of the efforts of growers working right down the street is mesmerizing. The series is fun, informative, and a perfect example of how the Farm Bureau, and Anna herself, are working to ensure California growers can continue producing the food we all love.