The City of West Sacramento, in partnership with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) today launched two software applications designed to promote the development of urban agriculture in the Sacramento region. The apps were designed and built as part of a year-long fellowship between Code for America, an organization that promotes the development of technology-based solutions in government, SACOG and the City of West Sacramento. Both apps were unveiled at the annual Code for America Summit in Oakland.
Named Acres and Farm Stand, the two apps will help facilitate the growth of urban farming by increasing access to land that can be used for farming and aggregating demand for products grown at urban farms.
Acres allows landowners to upload information about available urban farm sites into an online database which can then be accessed by aspiring farmers. They can select sites for follow-up based on criteria such as soil quality, size, and availability of water, or by land-owners who want to list their property on the database. By facilitating connections between landowners and farmers, Acres will help West Sacramento accelerate the benefits from the establishment of urban farms.
Farm Stand is a demand aggregator for products grown at urban farms to help residents and institutional buyers have greater access to fruits and vegetables. Farm Stand allows farmers to upload information including hours, available produce, and prices. That information is then disseminated to interested persons or institutional buyers online, via text, voice mail, or e-mail. Residents and larger buyers such as school districts would sign up for these notices after receiving flyers or reading signs posted in the vicinity of the farms. Farm Stand helps close the loop between the establishment of a farm and the consumption of healthy, local food by area residents, especially those who reside in food deserts where fresh produce is more difficult to acquire.
The apps will continue to be tested in West Sacramento as part of the development process with the intention of having them made regionally available to interested governments through SACOG by the end of 2015.
West Sacramento is a leader in the urban farm movement, with five urban farms in operation through a partnership with the Center for Land-based Learning.