San Francisco-based The SF Market, a wholesale produce market home to 26 merchant businesses, hosted California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross May 20 for a store tour, highlighting the grocer’s food recovery program.
Ross was joined by Natalie Krout-Greenberg, CDFA’s director for the division of inspection services; Joshua W. Bingham, CDFA’s public information officer II; Sen. Scott Wiener and his staff; Eli Zigas, president of The SF Market Board of Directors; and David Lea, a member of The SF Market board. Michael Janis, general manager of the market, led the tour, which showcased the food infrastructure that The SF Market has provided for San Francisco, the Bay Area and California businesses since 1963.
The attendees visited with several of The SF Market’s merchant businesses, some of which have been family-run for more than three generations. Ross saw the market’s food recovery program in operation and gained an understanding of some of The SF Market’s needs in order to continue serving the city and region.
The market’s food recovery program has been in operation since 2016. Program staff worked with The SF Market’s merchants to recover an average of 4,000 pounds of surplus food per day and distribute it to community organizations. To date, the program is approaching 7 million pounds of produce distributed.
“The SF Market is an incredible resource for the state of California and a critical part of our fresh food supply chain,” Ross said. “It is amazing to see The SF Market and all the merchant businesses in their work to improve access to the agricultural bounty of our state for all California citizens.”
Ross has advocated on several agriculture issues, such as climate change adaptation and domestic and international trade. She has also led programs to provide opportunities for farmers and ranchers to engage in sustainable environmental stewardship as well as provide access to farm-fresh foods in school cafeterias through CDFA’s Farm to Fork program.
Prior to her current appointment, Ross served as the chief of staff to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“We are honored to welcome these outstanding leaders from the CDFA,” Zigas said. “Our organization represents so much more than just produce. It provides the connection between rural farmers and urban consumers in California and provides the infrastructure, programs and relationships that help hundreds of farmers grow their businesses within the Bay Area. Continuing the dialogue with Secretary Ross brings much promise and an opportunity to expand what we’ve already accomplished.”
For more information, visit thesfmarket.org.