Preserving the harvest to build food system resilience and combat food waste.
Lompoc’s Dare 2 Dream Farms serves residents in Northern Santa Barbara County with local produce, farm products, and Cottage FoodsCottage Foods: Products that are non-potentially hazardous foods that are unlikely to grow harmful bacteria or other toxic microorganisms at room temperature. Non-potentially hazardous foods are foods with a low water activity and high acid level that inhibits the growth of dangerous microorganisms. Essentially, it refers to non-perishable food products.. Owners Megan and Jeremy Raff launched their farm in response to the 2008 global financial crisis – a time when building food resilienceFood Resilience / Resilient Food System: A food system that can withstand and recover from unforeseen disturbances and changes over time to supply sufficient, appropriate, and accessible food for all. was critical. What began as a small family egg farm was soon raising and delivering chickens and poultry supplies, installing handcrafted humane coops, and teaching backyard chickens classes across the Central Coast to hundreds of families looking to secure and economize their food supply. The Raffs continued to grow the farm, adding a farm stand and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): A system that more directly connects producers and consumers in a food system by allowing consumers to subscribe to receive the harvest of a certain farm or group of farms. program. The CSA started as a traditional shared risk model and evolved into a flexible pay-as-you-go model, which was critical to increasing food accessFood Access: A person’s ability to access food while considering many barriers such as geography, transportation, availability of healthy foods, and affordability. to residents of Lompoc during the COVID-19 pandemic. They pursued relationships with other local farmers who were impacted by the closures of restaurants and formed a multi-farm CSA, serving nearly 500% of the CSA’s previous capacity.
To nurture their community and advocate for food access and food system resilience, they offer farm tours, farm stays, dinners and luncheons, community events, and classes on raising chickens, cooking, and preserving food. Farm stand guests are encouraged to interact with the farm animals, see food growing in the garden, and enjoy the wildlife and nature that has been cultivated through environmental regenerationEnvironmental Regeneration: systems of growing food that reclaim carbon and nutrients on the land by increasing biodiversity, building soil health, and improving watersheds to produce healthier food and lessen the impacts of climate change.. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms-USA (WWOOF) and ATTRA guests enjoy hands-on learning experiences that encourage healthier, sustainable choices within the food system, and nurture prospective young farmers. Excess food from the Dare 2 Dream garden and partner farms is preserved by canningCanning: A method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a shelf life that typically ranges from one to five years, although under specific circumstances, it can be much longer., dryingDrying: Drying is the simple process of dehydrating foods until there is not enough moisture to support microbial activity. Drying removes the water needed by bacteria, yeasts, and molds need to grow., or making Cottage Foods when possible. The remainder is donated to Veggie Rescue.
Shop local at Dare 2 Dream’s Honor System Farm Stand seven days a week, visit their booth at the Route One Farmer’s Market, attend an on-farm event, or subscribe to a Farm Box.