A Farm at the Center of Things


It’s best known for its salad mix. But Feeding Crane Farms does a lot more than proffer pretty produce. Since breaking ground a little over a year ago, the North Natomas organic farm busily extended its tentacles into a multitude of community ventures, from starting a CSA program to partnering with local restaurants for “farm to fork” dinners. You also can find Feeding Crane’s produce— tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, beans, squash, chard, kale, broccoli and more—at farmers markets and local grocery stores, including Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and Corti Brothers. Owner Brian Shaad and his small but determined crew aren’t stopping there. If things go right, you’ll soon see food products boasting the Feeding Crane label, too.

An important piece of the farm’s mission, says general manager Shannin Stein, is to sustain a viable for-profit food system. This may not sound unusual, but it is: According to Stein, many other local organic farms are nonprofit. “We thought it was important to show Sacramento that farming can be a viable income stream for the city and county,” she says. “But more importantly, it’s a way to rejuvenate our community.”

In addition to its many community-based ventures, Feeding Crane is expanding rapidly beyond its original main ranch. Crops were being planted at two additional properties at the time of this writing, with several other ranches under development. Local support for the farm has been amazing, Stein says. “The community has been very supportive— beyond our wildest dreams,” she says.