CROP Strategy Set to Pave the Way for a Stronger, More Resilient Food System

Wednesday, Jul 3rd, 2024

Guest Written By Garett Ballard-Rosa
Senior Planner, Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) 

The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) is proud to announce the launch of the Coordinated Rural Opportunities Plan (CROP), a regional strategy aimed at strengthening rural economies and preserving the natural assets (such as water) vital to the six-county Sacramento region. CROP represents a continuation of SACOG’s Rural-Urban Connections Strategy (RUCS), including prior work featured by NCWA on groundwater recharge opportunities for specialty crop agriculture.

Funded through the California Strategic Growth Council’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC) in collaboration with the Department of Conservation, CROP is a collaborative effort between SACOG and non-profit civic leadership organization Valley Vision, with the aim of addressing infrastructure challenges and fostering collective solutions across the region’s shared agriculture food system. SALC is part of  California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

(Photo credit: Sacramento County Department of Agriculture)

In addition to land use, transportation, and broader food system governance, CROP takes a deep dive into the water infrastructure supporting the regional agricultural economy. The Sacramento region’s diverse water infrastructure systems and agricultural and working landscapes are interconnected, so that management of the region’s vital water resources is critical not only to the sustained growth of the agricultural sector, but all aspects of the region. CROP underscores resilient and adaptive approaches to water management, in tandem with sustainable agricultural practices, that together will position the region to be prepared both for periods of prolonged drought as well as major storm events. For example, CROP highlights Harvest Water, California’s largest agricultural water recycling project expected to provide 16.3 billion gallons of water per year for agricultural use. In addition to large infrastructure projects, CROP also focuses on nature-based solutions related to groundwater, soil health, and ecosystem services. As one example of many, the study points to ongoing work in the Consumnes River Basin to study how effective flooding agricultural fields would be in recharging aquifers.

(Photo credit: Sacramento County Department of Agriculture)

The scope of CROP expands beyond conventional infrastructure to consider both physical as well as nature-based approaches to address the wider array of challenges confronting the Sacramento region. From water management to agritourism, CROP tackles issues at every level of the food system, ensuring that our region remains adaptable and responsive to changing needs.

See: Coordinated Rural Opportunity Plan’s webpage for a report summary, interactive map, and individual county-level profiles.

(Photo credit: Sacramento County Department of Agriculture)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *