New Slogan on Sacramento Water Tower Highlights Shift for the Region


Sacramento is developing a reputation for its agriculture and healthy lifestyle, earning the title “America’s Farm to Fork Capital”.

Vanessa Newsome-Slade, News Writer

The water tower on Interstate 5 that once welcomed visitors to Sacramento, the “City of Trees,” now reads “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital,” a change that marks the next step in the evolution of the region’s identity.

From a trading center during the California Gold Rush to a starting point of the first transcontinental railroad to an agricultural town, Sacramento’s identity has changed constantly throughout its history.

“I think Sacramento’s primary identity is the combination of…three things: the Gold Rush, government…and agriculture,” said Dylan McDonald, a historian and archivist at the Center for Sacramento History. With the addition of the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento last year, growth and change continues to be a major part of Sacramento.

In 2012, Kevin Johnson, former mayor of Sacramento, declared the city “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.” Since then, the city has continued to incorporate the new identity into events in and around Sacramento, such as Living Smart Farmers’ Markets with locations around the region, Sacramento Food Film Festival in April and the Farm-to-Fork Festival in September.

The purpose of the Farm-to-Fork Program is to raise awareness about Sacramento’s role as a dominant player in national agriculture by sharing stories related to farm-to-fork and holding events to inform residents of Sacramento’s food and agriculture. “Today, the Sacramento region’s Farm-to-Fork Program serves as a year-round platform to highlight the farms, restaurants, organizations and individuals that contribute to the local culinary and agricultural landscapes,” according to the Farm-to-Fork website.

In addition to supporting and highlighting agriculture, farm-to-fork implies healthier eating. In this way, the farm-to-fork identity also plays on the strengths of Folsom, a city known for promoting health and fitness.

“We have farmers’ markets every week down in Sutter Street…Folsom aligns with it [the farm-to-fork identity] just because we’re a wealthier city, but we still have a lot of middle- to-low-class families that live here so most of them aren’t going to go for that organic option because of the price,” said Vista del Lago senior Paige Andersen.

Although the growing cost of farm-to-fork, providing organic and locally-grown food items to restaurants and businesses, is a concern, the change on the water tower remains controversial among those who cling to Sacramento’s reputation as the city of trees and believe that farm-to-fork will be a short-lived trend made permanent on the water tower. Others believe that it captures the true identity of California’s capital city.

“I feel that it is mainly a marketing slogan…for Sacramento to gain an identity that is different from surrounding areas…but it’s definitely playing on the strengths of Sacramento,” said McDonald.