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Will the World Food Center and a farmer's market come to Sacramento's railyard?

How would you like to see a World Food Center focusing on food safety set up in downtown Sacramento? The University of California, Davis is considering Sacramento’s downtown railyard to be turned into a satellite campus devoted to the study of nutrition, food, and agriculture programs, a center that also could attract food-processing companies and similar businesses to set up shop nearby. Everything, as usual, depends upon funding.

Will the World Food Center and a farmer's market come to Sacramento's railyard?
Anne Hart, photography.

Early media reports have speculated that the campus might be built in the abandoned railyard in downtown Sacramento and that the new World Food Center at UC Davis would be an anchor tenant, but UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi emphasized that no location or exact makeup of the campus have been chosen.

The project would become part of UC Davis’ World Food Center, a year-old program focused on food safety, agricultural policy, nutrition and related matters, according to the May 20, 2014 Sacramento Bee article by Dale Kasler, Ryan Lillis and Tony Bizjak, "UC Davis eyes downtown Sacramento railyard for new food center."

Additionally, such as center also would include a medical clinic for treating diabetes, obesity and other food-related disorders, and for providing nutrition counseling. A banking conglomerate, Rabobank has discussed taking some financial role in the project, says the Sacramento Bee article.

Nutrition counseling center in downtown Sacramento

At the present time, such a project remains in the discussion stage. Those in charge would have to discuss cost, size, and development. There would have to be a physical plant and plans for how many square feet the buildings would occupy. The purpose of such a nutrition/food center would be to bring people and businesses together. Such a center could be an economic catalyst, a magnet, and a center where agricultural businesses could put their buildings such as offices and various types of buildings. The Sacramento railyard, in the meantime, is being bought by developer Larry Kelly, according to the Sacramento Bee article.

The eventual steps are to come up with the blueprints and other plans. The city councilman who represents the district that also includes the railyard is Steve Cohn. What the general consumer interested in nutrition and healthier foods might look forward to is a year-round farmers market, part of the UC Davis proposal, located in any of the historic buildings in or around the railyard. At the present time there's a proposal to bring the University of California, Davis center to the railyard.

Two years ago, the southern end of the railyard was selected as the home of the new Sacramento Kings arena, but the team’s former owners abandoned the project. The planned arena has since moved to Downtown Plaza. As for the railyard, preliminary site work continues; Inland is building streets and bridges to connect the railyard to the rest of the city.

The big picture for the railyard would be the World Food Center, which would bring people there for world-class agricultural research or to buy food at the farmer's market that could be built.

Basically, you'd have a World Food Center in the railyard area in downtown Sacramento where the media, researchers, scholars, policy experts, government officials and anyone else can do research or find direction or various types of information on food-related topics. That's why it's called a World Food Center.

There would be the World Food Center's headquarters on the UC Davis campus, but hopefully a research and education facility in downtown Sacramento where it would be closer to the Capitol because agricultural policy is made in Sacramento at a central location. Also downtown, you have the California Department of Food and Agriculture, commodity industry groups and the California Farm Bureau Federation, according to the Sacramento Bee article. It's all in the discussion state at present. For further information on local agriculture, you also may wish to check out the UC Davis news release, "Scientists forecast economic impacts of the drought on Central Valley agriculture."

Creating an advisory group to help explore the new campus in Sacramento

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi announced on May 20, 2014 plans to create an advisory group of deans, faculty, staff and students to help UC Davis explore the academic program for a possible new campus in Sacramento, according to the news release, "Chancellor to form advisory group for third campus idea."

Katehi first mentioned the idea of a third campus in her annual State of the Campus presentation to the Academic Senate in February. At that time, she said the campus would emphasize UC Davis’ commitment to education, research, clinical and policy aspirations with a focus on food, health and the environment.

“Because of our location, history and expertise, UC Davis is in a unique position to be an even greater positive source for California state government and policy than we have been in the past,” Katehi said in a letter announcing her plans to create the advisory group to help crystallize the vision for a third campus.

“To take full advantage of that opportunity and raise the profile and reputation of the entire university, we have been thinking for some time about developing a third campus somewhere in Sacramento,” she wrote. “The time is now right to begin moving forward with this process.”

Sacramento offers a plethora of opportunities — a perfect nexus for UC Davis’ strengths and outreach capacities in health and food. With proximity to the state Capitol, important state government partners and industry leaders, the city provides access to further engage communities that interact with both the UC Davis Health System and Davis campus.

Katehi said, according to the May 20, 2014 UC Davis news release, "Chancellor to form advisory group for third campus idea," that she would like the advisory group to share its ideas and visions for a third campus based on three activities and ideas that best fit UC Davis’ strengths and priorities:

  • A policy orientation to help enhance the university’s role in influencing state policy that serves the long-term environmental, economic, scientific and social imperatives for the state of California.
  • An emphasis on food and health, as these are areas the university specializes in and are of greater importance than ever before.
  • A clinical activities and outreach focus that promotes healthy living and wellness as prevention becomes a greater imperative for our nation’s health care system.

Early media reports have speculated that the campus might be built in the abandoned railyard in downtown Sacramento and that the new World Food Center at UC Davis would be an anchor tenant, but Katehi emphasized that no location or exact makeup of the campus have been chosen.

In fact, the concept of a third campus for UC Davis that will bring together policy, education and outreach at the nexus of food and health will be part of a long-range strategy that will require the acquisition of dedicated resources and development of partnerships. In addition to this effort and as part of our other plans the university continues our conversations with city officials about opportunities for further growth in Davis.

“We are just getting started on what will be a comprehensive and deliberative process,” Katehi said, in the UC Davis news release. “We want to hear what vision members of the advisory committee have, and then we want to engage the broader UC Davis community in a very substantive and detailed conversation about how best to proceed.”

Katehi said, according to the news release, that she will name members of the advisory committee in the coming days, and that she wants it to also recommend a plan on “an appropriate consultative process with the broader UC Davis community, both in Davis and Sacramento.”

The advisory group will be asked to report back to her with its ideas for the campus by Sept. 30, 2014 so the communitywide discussion can begin at the start of the next academic year. For more information see, "Chancellor to form advisory group for third campus idea."

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