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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.

South County Highlights

Farm Cart Organics and Better Bucket
Combating food inequality and closing the food system loop with Community Supported Agriculture.
Somos Semillas (We Are Seeds) Program – El Centro Santa Barbara
Providing community garden space for place-based learning, public health, nutrition education, and community empowerment.
Isla Vista Compost Collective
Providing an opportunity for youth to push back against food insecurity and food waste.
Organic Soup Kitchen
Providing optimal nutrition and food security to thousands of Santa Barbara residents each year.
Sweet Wheel Farm and Sweet Wheel Farm Cart
Building food resilience by providing organic produce, farm products, and homemade artisan foods to Summerland residents seven days a week.
Isla Vista Food Cooperative
Advocating for food access and food justice through education and outreach.
duo and duoMORE
Developing deep relationships with farmers to build sustainability, expand food access, and reduce waste.
Greenspot Farming
Partnering with landowners to make Santa Barbara County more productive, food secure, and beautiful.
Get Hooked Seafood
Closing the loop between food access, food waste, and a vibrant local food economy.

Food System Stories and Solutions

Building food resilience with Sweet Wheel Farm

Empowering community at El Centro Santa Barbara

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