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Nestled at the mid-point of California’s Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley enjoys a temperate climate that supports one of the state’s longest growing seasons. As a leading producer of strawberries, wine grapes, broccoli, head lettuce, avocados, cauliflower, and celery, it’s no surprise that agriculture is central to the Valley’s local economy, valued at more than $1.4 billion annually.

Roughly 30 percent of regional jobs are in agriculture, yet until recently, there were limited local pathways to careers in this sector. Fortunately, food producers, teachers, students, and other food system actorsFood System Actor: Active participants in the food system who eat, grow, gather, buy, sell, ship, process, raise, fish, and engage with food as it moves from farm to table. are laying the groundwork for the future of our food system by working together to activate end-to-end training for the next generation of farmers and entrepreneurs, building a more resilient Santa Barbara County – and beyond.

Santa Maria Valley Highlights

Allan Hancock College
Celebrating the local food system in the classroom through hands-on learning experiences and field-to-table culinary arts.
The Patch Santa Maria
Equipping and inspiring the next generation from seed to sale.
Blosser Urban Garden
Fourth generation farmers providing organic produce for the Central Coast.
Santa Maria Joint Union High School District
Educating and preparing students for the bounty of career opportunities in the Santa Barbara County food system – and beyond.
Future Farmers of America
Preparing members for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture.

Food System Stories and Solutions

Growing pumpkins and food system leaders at The Patch

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