Providing community garden space for place-based learning, public health, nutrition education, and community empowerment.
Located in downtown Summerland, Sweet Wheel Farm and Sweet Wheel Farm Cart provide organic produce, farm products, and homemade breads, tortillas, and baked goods to residents seven days a week. Following the 2018 Thomas fire and resulting 2019 debris flow that cut off the small seaside community from basic outside resources like food for more than a week, farmer, chef, and business owner Leslie Person-Ryan decided to take action. What started as an emergency roadside cart selling produce from other farms bloomed into a full scale closed loop food systemclosed loop food system: As opposed to a linear food system that follows consumption of food from field to plate to waste, a closed loop food system is a more sustainable model that follows food from field to plate to field with little or no waste. that serves the entire community.
Sweet Wheel Farm grows vegetables, corn, grains, beans, chiles, and even pineapple on a few acres plot in Summerland and shared land in Orcutt. Most of what is grown is sold fresh, but some is prepared into handmade treats like heirloomHeirloom: A cultivar of a vegetable or fruit that is open-pollinated and is not grown widely for commercial purposes. An heirloom often exhibits a distinctive characteristic such as superior flavor or unusual coloration.
corn tortillas and chips, jams, syrups, and sourdough bread. After the harvest, seeds are saved and propagated to preserve heirloom varieties for the following season. Over the past few years, Sweet Wheel Farm has established itself as a critical community resource, delivering farm-fresh care packages to food insecureFood Security / Food Insecurity: Food security refers to the economic and social condition of reliable access to an adequate amount of food for an active, healthy life for all household members. A household is food insecure when food security does not exist. seniors and veterans through their foodshare program, teaching farm education to Summerland’s youth, offering a living wage to their staff who all live in town, and providing food accessFood Access: a person’s ability to access food while considering many barriers such as geography, transportation, availability of healthy foods, and affordability.
in what was previously a food desertFood Desert: An urban area where residents have restricted access to affordable, healthy food due to low income or limited to no grocery stores within convenient traveling distance. Learn more about Sweet Wheel Farm by watching SBCFAN’s storytelling video below.