Northern California Food Movement Collection Development Policy

Academic College, Department or Program, Subject Area or Collection Areas

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Food Science and Nutrition, Food Processing and Manufacture, History, Plant Science, Viticulture & Enology, Business, Social Sciences, Marketing, Management, and Agricultural and Resource Economics

Collection Overview

Through its focus on the Northern California food movement (1970s to 1990s), the UC Davis Library supports research, teaching, and learning about a rich and complex chapter in California’s social, cultural and agricultural history. Northern California and the Central Valley were the birthplace of a national conversation about the food we eat, how it is produced, and the lives of the people who grow and sell it. The voices of immigrants and farm workers, scientists and researchers, community activists and chefs, have all risen up from this land to cultivate a movement toward sustainable, ethical, organic and locally-sourced food and agricultural practices. This movement continues to reshape the systems through which we grow, process, distribute, buy, sell, and cook the food we eat.

Founded over a century ago as the Farm School for the University of California, UC Davis has been a geographic, intellectual, and cultural hub for this movement. Today, UC Davis is a global leader in agricultural science, food systems, and sustainability. The UC Davis Library supports the university’s excellence in these interconnected fields by preserving, curating, and improving the discoverability of content created by UC Davis researchers, as well as complementary materials acquired by the Library to enhance its Northern California food movement collections.

Capturing this legacy requires a multidisciplinary approach to interconnected subjects and a diverse array of sources ranging from family farms to famous chefs. The emphasis on the Northern California food movement draws on existing strengths in the library’s archival and manuscript collections, and builds on two flagship collections in particular.

The Richard E. Rominger Papers (D-087) contain nearly 150 linear feet of correspondence, clippings, budget papers, agendas, and meeting notes related to Mr. Rominger’s work as the head of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (1977-1982) and deputy secretary for the USDA (1993-2000). A fourth generation Yolo County farmer, Mr. Rominger was particularly active in agricultural land use and preservation issues.

The Isao Fujimoto Papers (D—601) includes 85 linear feet of materials from Dr. Fujimoto, a Senior Lecturer Emeritus of Asian American Studies and the UC Davis Graduate Program in Community Development. He joined UC Davis in 1967 as a founding member of the community development program and later was a founding member of the Asian-American Studies program. His papers include correspondence, personal journals, and publications related to farm worker and immigrant rights, development of the sustainable food movement, green technology, and community and rural development.

A non-exhaustive list of collections related to the Northern California food movement already held by Archives and Special Collections includes:

  • Food Science & Technology Department Records (techniques for canning, drying, and otherwise utilizing fruits for consumption)
  • California Food and Fiber Futures Records (partnerships and community based projects that addressed critical food systems issues)
  • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (research on sustainable agricultural practices and systems)
  • Century Experiment/LTRAS Project Records (UC Davis research on agricultural sustainability)
  • Wolfskill Family Collection & Pierce Family Papers (growth and development of the University Farm)
  • George Hecke and the Everett Family papers (local agriculture)
  • Hub Segur Papers on the United Farm Workers (agricultural labor)
  • Farmers’ Trade Union Collection (agricultural cooperatives)
  • Davis Food Co-op Records (co-operative grocery stores)
  • Papers from the Ferry-Morse Seed Company, based in Modesto, and the Nursery and Seed Catalog Collection (Northern California business collections that provide information on farming technology and practices, climate, natural environment, and crop productivity and business records, including images used in advertising and to document the introduction of new varieties)
  • Menu collections, including those from Fred Herrington, Maynard Amerine, Roy Brady, and Corti Brothers

Goals of the collection

  • Provide research materials in this premier collecting area for UC Davis faculty, research staff, graduate students, undergraduates, external researchers, and the public, including industries related to food production and consumption.
  • Connect Northern California food movement collections with relevant curricula in instruction across multiple subjects
  • Expand the reach of these collections through exhibits and digital initiatives, and broaden their impact through the facilitation/creation of new digital research products based on the content.
  • Preserve and make accessible these historical materials for future research and reuse.
  • Document and increase UC Davis’s research impact on students, the region, the nation, and the world.

Communities or clientele supported

Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, Agricultural Sustainability Institute (including the UC Sustainable Agriculture and Education Project and the Student Farm), UC Davis Center for Regional Change, World Food Center, Global Tea Initiative, Cooperative Extension, Foundation Plant Services, UC Davis Health, other units, faculty, students, outside researchers, the public. 

Collection content

For purposes of collection development, the Northern California food movement encompasses several innovations and developments in food production, distribution, marketing, and consumption, including:

  • Sustainable agricultural practices designed “to meet society’s food and textile needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” involving practitioners that “seek to integrate three main objectives into their work: a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity”[1]
  • Organic, pesticide-free, and non-GMO food production, marketing, and consumption
  • “Farm to table” approaches to food production, promoting accessibility to fresh, healthy food, locally produced or sourced food, food choices, and new retail markets
  • Equitable treatment of workers at all stages of food production, distribution, and consumption, including the development of cooperative enterprises

 Peripheral areas or areas of potential future growth

  • The development of “California cuisine,” culinary tourism, and West Coast food writing
  • Vegetarian and Vegan food industries, including “humane” farming and industry practices, as well as plant-based meat alternatives
  • The use of “green” technologies in the food industry
  • Introduction of varieties including heirloom and international seeds, particularly those widely adopted or having a significant impact on the larger Movement

Materials acquired for the Northern California food movement collection relate to every stage in the food production lifecycle—as outlined below—but the defining attributes listed above inform and narrow collecting decisions. For example, cookbooks may be acquired as a part of the “consumer, cookery” stage, but limited to those that address the collection’s themes: sustainable agriculture, organic foods, locally grown, ethically sourced, farm-to-table, etc., or are produced by individuals, organizations, or restaurants that promote the same.

Food production life cycle:

  • Planting, growing, raising
  • Harvest, slaughter
  • Processing, packaging, manufacturing
  • Distribution, transportation
  • Retail, restaurants, marketing, promotion
  • Consumer, cookery

Emphasis is on acquiring rare, unique, and valuable materials not held in the UC System. Decisions to acquire faculty papers related to the Northern California food movement are guided by UC Faculty Papers: Identification and Appraisal; however, additional weight is given to the consideration: “intellectual content – comprehensive collecting in subject already established/being established on campus.”


Primarily English; however, materials in other languages, such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, etc., collected as relevant.

Chronological and geographical focus

Bulk of material collected originates from or relates to the period from the 1970s to the 1990s, although outliers and exceptions permitted. Geographic focus is northern California and the Central Valley, roughly defined as the 48 counties north of San Luis Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino, but other geographically-based sources permitted as relevant.  

Collection formats

In any format, print or digital: Monographs, serials, pamphlets, manuscript collections, business records or company archives, correspondence, grant proposals and reports, lab notebooks, field notes, research notes, datasets, drafts of significant publications, speeches and lectures, images (photographs, slides, negatives, digital files), moving image or audio recordings, websites,  menus, trade publications and publicity (manuals, advertisements, flyers, etc.), posters (e.g., food festivals and agricultural events), and brochures.

Related collections

Agriculture, Agricultural Technology, Animal Science, Apiculture, California History, Ethnic Studies, Food Processing and Manufacture, Natural Resources, Plant Sciences, and Viticulture and Enology.

Methods of acquisition

Materials are acquired as Gifts-in-Kind from individual donors, organizations, or companies, or as transfers from University of California units. Monographs, pamphlets, or ephemera may be purchased using an appropriate library account.

Collection management and evaluation

Review with Collection Strategies team, Food and Wine Subject librarian, the Library Development team, and, when appropriate, academic departments or constituents listed above under “Communities and clientele supported.”

Emerging areas of research, instruction and interdisciplinary collaborations

Climate change, climate-smart food practices, food entrepreneurship and innovation, resource scarcity, sustainability, community and rural development, genetic engineering, environment, and world hunger.

Funding Sources

Primarily built through donations, but may draw from the Northern California Food Movement Fund or the Archives and Special Collections rare book and endowment funds.


[1] UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute, “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” Accessed January 2019: