South Santa Barbara County is known for its thriving local food culture. From Carpinteria to Goleta, the region hosts vibrant farmer’s markets five days a week offering year-round seasonal produce, grains, meat, seafood, and artisan food products, dozens of farm-forward restaurants, specialty food shops, and grocers, and a community that values environmentally sustainable practices for agriculture, fishing, and aquacultureAquaculture: Also known as aquafarming, the farming of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms..
Still, there are places in South County where among this vibrancy, the food system is fragile, unsustainable, and/or inaccessible. Fortunately, there are many food system actorsFood System Actor: Individuals who are growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, distributing, disposing of, or eating food. – farmers, nonprofits, businesses, cooperativesCooperative: A farm, business, or other organization which is owned and jointly run by its members who share in the profits or benefits., and consumers – who are connecting and aligning to activate closed loop systemsClosed 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. and projects that build resilience, access, justice, and sovereignty into the food system.