An account of Thanksgiving in Sacramento in 1850, the year California became a state, describes a scene where New Englanders in residence gathered to celebrate a holiday unfamiliar in the west but already traditional for them, and put on a feast for all, whether or not they were from New England.
That spirit of celebration and generosity, of expressing thanks and giving to others, continues to build to this day in California and around the country. In present day Sacramento, state employees mark the holidays with an annual food drive that CDFA is proud to coordinate, along with our partners at California Emergency Foodlink. Foodlink is Sacramento County’s official food bank and feeds approximately 102,000 individuals per month in the county. Of these individuals, approximately 35,000 are children and 8,000 are seniors. In 2011, Foodlink distributed over 12 million pounds of food in Sacramento County. Efforts like this are ongoing at food banks everywhere.
To help Foodlink achieve its mission, the 2012 Food Drive goal is to surpass last year’s generous donation level of 618,000 pounds. I call upon all state agencies and departments to help us achieve this goal. We’re off to a good start. Last week, in preparation for Thursday’s holiday tables, state employees donated nearly 1,400 frozen turkeys–almost 10 tons–bringing them to a truck at CDFA headquarters. The Food Drive continues throughout the holiday season, and I know our employees will continue to look for ways to reach out to those who need a little help.
I am thankful for our innovative farmers and ranchers and the great bounty we enjoy in this very special state, and I am proud of the efforts of our employees and many others to share that bounty with those in need. Food access statewide is a key priority of Ag Vision, a collaborative effort to plan for the future of agriculture. The California State Board of Food and Agriculture, a founding partner in Ag Vision, has committed to doubling California farm contributions to food banks by 2015. California’s farmers produce an abundant variety of fresh, nutritious food and are in a unique position to help the hungry. This is the perfect time of year for them and all of us to do just that.
I would like to wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and a joyous 2012 holiday season!