Code for America Fellowship Launches in West Sacramento to Tackle Food Issues

Code for America Fellowship Begins in West Sacramento. The City welcomed the three members of the Code for America Fellows to City Hall, Feb. 6. Pictured,  left to right, Fellow Imanol Aranzadi, Fellow Natasha Fountain, and Fellow Grant Smith.

Code for America Fellowship Begins in West Sacramento. The City welcomed the three members of the Code for America Fellows to City Hall, Feb. 6. Pictured, left to right, Fellow Imanol Aranzadi, Fellow Natasha Fountain, and Fellow Grant Smith.

The Code for America Fellowship officially launched in West Sacramento in February. The Fellowship pairs local governments with teams of mid-career, civic-minded technologists for one year. The governments and Fellows explore answers to local challenges by engaging with the community, building applications, and testing the results. Over the past four years, the Fellowship program has produced more than 55 web apps with 30 municipal governments and 103 Fellows.

The applications are tangible results of a process that builds much more than a piece of technology. By working in an iterative, user-centered, data-driven way, the program strengthens key capabilities within local government and communities that ultimately shift how cities think about, and use, technology to deliver public services. West Sacramento’s Fellowship is being managed in partnership with the City of West Sacramento and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). Under this unique joint application, the Fellowship will explore issues related to the local food system, including food supply chain issues, dietary health, and food accessibility both in West Sacramento and the region.

“West Sacramento is excited to lead the nation in partnership with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments as a Code for America city, working not only to spur civic innovation in our own town, but to design that innovation for widespread adoption region wide. . .spreading Code for America’s transformative impact to small cities and rural towns,” said Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

Eight partners, from a diverse pool of more than 40, were selected for the 2015 Fellowship. In addition to West Sacramento, they include: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Indianapolis, Indiana; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Somerville, Massachusetts; Vallejo, California; and RVA Community Partners in Richmond, Virginia.

The City and SACOG welcome three talented technologists for the year:

  • Grant Smith, a software developer from Madison, Wisconsin. Grant holds a degree in biomedical engineering, and recently worked on an online ordering platform for restaurants.
  • Natasha Fountain, a designer from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Natasha holds a BFA in Art and Technology from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been featured in publications and marketing campaigns worldwide.
  • Imanol Aranzadi, a designer and developer from Caguas, Puerto Rico. A former practicing psychologist, Imanol has been active in organizing civic tech volunteer efforts, and has experimented with projects that combine art and code.

Grant, Natasha and Imanol are part of a cohort of 24 Fellows taking leave from jobs at large and small tech companies, their own businesses, and government, to use their skills for good during a year of public service.

During February, the Fellows are diving into research on food issues in the Sacramento region, meeting with stakeholders from every segment of the food economy, including farmers, wholesalers, processors, distributors and restaurateurs. The Fellows are also interviewing local residents who are experiencing food insecurity, as well as public and private sector leaders who are endeavoring to provide service to them. This broad exposure will allow the Fellows to develop a holistic understanding of the many interrelated issues associated with the local food system.

The Fellows will use their technical skills and the insights gleaned from their research to produce a technological tool to help address a challenge in a selected area of the local food system, with the goal of creating a product that will create meaningful social impact and can be scaled for use in other jurisdictions.

This entry was posted in General Information. | Bookmark the permalink.