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Help Build a Resilient Food System

Planting seeds for El Centro Santa Barbara’s Somos Semillas (We Are Seeds) program at Parque de Los Niños (The Children’s Park) in Santa Barbara.
PHOTO J ANDREW HILL / PHAROS CREATIVE

Building a Resilient Food System

Boasting a year-round growing calendar, Santa Barbara County is known as a food destination, ranking in the top one percent of counties nationwide with respect to agricultural value. Diverse microclimates, temperate weather, and warm ocean waters contribute to the rich abundance our farmers, ranchers, and fisherfolk are able to harvest. Yet, very little of this quality food makes it onto local plates due to critical gaps in our food system.

We invite you to grab a seat at our table so that together, we can invest in and build a more vibrant, equitable, and resilient food system that:

Supports a robust regional food economy

where local farmers, ranchers, fisherfolk, and food businesses thrive

Promotes health and wellness

by ensuring that local, nutritious, and culturally sensitive food is accessible to all community members

Equips our community

by establishing a place-based food system that supports affordable access to locally grown food and fairly compensates and affordably houses the food workforce

Strengthens our foodshed

by protecting farm and ranch land, reducing food waste, and building resilience in the face of disruptions stemming from disasters like extreme weather and pandemics

According to a 2011 peer reviewed article by UC Santa Barbara research professor Dr. David Cleveland, 99 percent of the fruit and vegetables grown in Santa Barbara County are exported – and 95 percent of the fruit and vegetables consumed in Santa Barbara County are imported.

SOURCE Cleveland, David, et al. “Effect of Localizing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Nutrition, Santa Barbara County.” Environmental Science & Technology 45, 10 (2011): 4555-4562.

Localizing the Food System

A localized food system encompasses the closed-loop path of food as it moves from farm to table within the same region, including where it is grown, processed, distributed, consumed, and disposed of.

Local food has an important role to play in responding to the immense challenges our food systems face – climate change, racism and social injustice, a pandemic of diet-related diseases, and COVID-19. However, we need to work together to design and measure better indicators of success to make sure it’s moving us in the right direction.

DR. DAVID CLEVELAND, PH.D., M.S.
RESEARCH PROFESSOR
UC SANTA BARBARA

Agriculture in Santa Barbara County is valued at

0
billion dollars

5% of the county’s GDP, compared with the state of California, where agriculture is 2% of the GDP.

From Plan to Network

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The Role of the Network

The Santa Barbara County Food Action Network (SBCFAN) accelerates the activation of Food Action Plan goals by connecting, aligning, and activating a network of food system changemakers – from producer to consumer and everything in between – to develop a robust local food economy, a healthy and just community, and a well-stewarded, resilient foodshed.

© Sarita Relis

Veggie Rescue delivering food to the Buellton Senior Center.
PHOTO SARITA RELIS

By learning from each other and working together, Veggie Rescue and other Santa Barbara County charitable feeding nonprofits are able to contribute to the long-term health of our community by increasing access to fresh, local produce. I’m grateful for the role SBCFAN plays in facilitating these conversations and partnerships that are changing how we approach our work, bringing us together to envision a greater and lasting impact, and providing the framework to move us forward in achieving that vision.

DIANA O’CONNELL
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VEGGIE RESCUE

Let's Get to Work

SBCFAN’s current priorities: Working Groups, Advocacy, Resource Sharing

WORKING GROUPS

By convening and coordinating working groups, SBCFAN brings together individuals from across the food system to collaborate on projects that result in the activation of one or more Food Action Plan goals across four areas of investment. Active and developing working groups are building regional capacity to strengthen our food system.

ADVOCACY

Identifying, informing, and advocating for policies that more effectively support an equitable and resilient food system ensures that our Network can help advance economic development, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Current priorities at the federal, state, and county levels include:

Informed legislation

Farm and ranch land preservation

Affordable housing

Access to resources

Regulatory barriers

Regional infrastructure

RESOURCE SHARING

SBCFAN’s website and membership portal are a countywide hub for critical resources such as:

Food Action Plan 2.0

Since 2016, numerous external shocks and political and social movements have illuminated gaps in our regional food system – and the Food Action Plan. In response, SBCFAN is developing Food Action Plan 2.0 to incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice into the activation of Plan goals. Our current and emerging work to address these gaps is BIPOC-informed and stewarded and includes: launching working groups in the areas of food sovereignty, nutrition, health, and education; sharing resources equitably; and providing accessible pathways for advocacy.

The Plan In Action

Building
Regional
Food System
Infrastructure

Jeff Olsson, owner of Industrial Eats in Buellton, holding a house-aged leg of locally raised heritage pig.
PHOTO: J ANDREW HILL / PHAROS CREATIVE

Through cross-sector collaboration, SBCFAN Working Group members are identifying and accelerating solutions to establish regional grain, seed, and meat processing hubs and direct-to-consumer access. These areas of infrastructure represent a critical gap that must be addressed in order to establish a thriving localized food system.

KEY AREAS OF INVESTMENT

FOOD ACTION PLAN GOALS ACTIVATED

FOOD ECONOMY
COMMUNITY
FOODSHED

Advocating for Local Food Procurement Policies

Locally grown vegetables for sale at Summerland’s Sweet Wheel Farms farm stand.
PHOTO: J ANDREW HILL / PHAROS CREATIVE

SBCFAN is working with the federal government to develop policies that ensure organizations and agencies procure a percentage of food from local sources – and incentivize the federal government to negotiate community-based land leases for localized agricultural use.

KEY AREAS OF INVESTMENT

FOOD ACTION PLAN GOALS ACTIVATED

FOOD ECONOMY
HEALTH & WELLNESS
COMMUNITY
FOODSHED

Developing a
Resource Sharing
Ecosystem

Piedrassasi Wine & Bread owner, miller, and baker Melissa Sorongon milling locally grown grain in Lompoc.
PHOTO: MELISSA SORONGON

SBCFAN and the Economic Development Collaborative created the Food System Resilience Loan Program to provide food producers an equitable opportunity to access financing, address gaps in our food system, and ensure their businesses thrive. By offering low-risk, high impact financing, this program provides a pathway to invest in and build a more vibrant, just, and resilient food system for everyone in the Central Coast region.

KEY AREAS OF INVESTMENT

FOOD ACTION PLAN GOALS ACTIVATED

FOOD ECONOMY
FOODSHED

Storytelling

According to collective impact research data, storytelling is the most effective form of measuring a network’s impact. SBCFAN equitably elevates food system stories for those who would not have the means or time to capture them on their own. These stories initiate new working groups, identify policy gaps and barriers, and are used by the storytellers as education and marketing tools.

To learn more, please contact [email protected] or call (805) 203-6234.

DONATE NOW.

Your gift is critical to our success.

“Connecting residents to food grown in our region is common sense. SBF invests in the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network (SBCFAN) to improve food systems and provide better access to food, especially for Santa Barbara County’s low- and middle-income residents. The work SBCFAN does today will secure a healthier, sustainable, and more food-secure Santa Barbara County (and beyond) for generations to come.”
Jackie Carrera
President AND CEO
Santa Barbara Foundation

PHOTO: J ANDREW HILL / PHAROS CREATIVE

Your gift is critical to our success.

The inequities and gaps in our food system may be complex, interconnected, and deeply-rooted, but the Food Action Plan provides a comprehensive road map for how together, we have the power to make it more vibrant, equitable, and resilient for all.

Your investment would directly support:

  • Staff to implement strategy, operations, finance, working group coordination, communications, website management, marketing, and events
  • Grant writing funds to share countywide to support food system projects
  • Seed funds to launch a revolving loan program for food system projects
  • Regional innovation that can be iterated nationally

Thank you for investing in the realization of a truly just, equitable, and sustainable food system for Santa Barbara County. Because everyone deserves access to affordable, healthy food.

Santa Barbara County Food Action Network / Red de Acción Alimentaria del Condado de Santa Bárbara

1224 Coast Village Circle, Suite 11
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
(805) 203-6234
[email protected]

Cuyama Homegrown owners Meg Brown and Jean Gaillard at their Juniper Hills Ranch in New Cuyama. PHOTO J ANDREW HILL / PHAROS CREATIVE

Cuyama Homegrown owners Meg Brown and Jean Gaillard at their Juniper Hills Ranch in New Cuyama.
PHOTO: J ANDREW HILL / PHAROS CREATIVE

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