Joanne Neft

SACOG Salutes! Award Winner Citizen of the Year

Joanne Neft is a passionate advocate on behalf of local foods and the people who grow them. Over the past 20 years, Joanne has utilized a variety of strategies in her activism, including nutrition research, owning a gourmet café, and land preservation.

As the first director of the Placer County Agriculture Marketing Program, Joanne established the PlacerGrown campaign for marketing the county’s agricultural products. She’s known as the motivating force in commissioning the USDA study that identified the high levels of the chemical synephrine, a natural anti-histamine, in Placer County Satsuma Mandarins. In 1990, she opened the Foothill Farmers’ Market and in 1995 founded the Mountain Mandarin Festival.

Most recently, Joanne collaborated with chef Laura Kenney to conduct a year of eating locally. Their meals culminated into a self-published cookbook, which has sold thousands of copies. Joanne has “retired,” but continues to be an advocate locally and regionally