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The Covid19 pandemic has dramatically impacted our local foodshed, prompting our community – and communities around the world – to shift our daily patterns, including how we shop and eat. The disruption has been particularly visible in the empty grocery store shelves and shuttered restaurant windows. Here’s what we know: a local, diversified and equitable food system can be one of our best defenses in moments of community crisis.

COVID-19 Response

Housing for the Harvest: Free Hotel Room for Farm and Food Processing Workers

    Housing for Harvest is a new program that offers temporary hotel housing for farm and food processing workers who need to isolate due to COVID-19. Self isolation in…

The Best Way To Grow Food In A City Like Ours Is Through Food Forest Landscaping; Here, A Nectarine Flowers Next To Citrus. | Credit: Brad Smith

Food Forest Landscaping

An article from Santa Barbara Independent, written by Brad Smith, considers how healthy lives can be achieved through food security, social justice, and climate adaptation. The article sheds light on…

How Black Communities Are Bridging the Food Access Gap

Addressing systemic racism in U.S. agriculture has to begin with the USDA.

Black Lives Matter in the Food System

During the first half of 2020, the disproportionate spread of COVID-19 in communities of color and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police have drawn into…

Battered Food-Service Industry in Santa Barbara in Battle to Survive COVID-19 Pandemic

Brooke Holland of Noozhawk writes about the difficulties the local Food-Service industry has had to face due to the pandemic. Local business owners of bars, restaurants, and breweries share details…

The pandemic has hit restaurants hard, but experts say the ‘ghost food hall’ concept might save them

An article written by Marisa Iati explores how the 'ghost hall' concept might be the answer. The concept allows for multiple restaurants/chefs to operate in one huge kitchen to deliver…

An Open Letter from BIPOC Leaders in Food & Agriculture to Food Systems Funders

An open letter was written to Food System Funders to move towards regenerative practices and to meet the moment for change. This letter was written by amazing BIPOC leaders in…

Direct Assistance to Farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) offers direct assistance to farmers and ranchers in support for losses related to the pandemic. The USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will…

Supporting Farmers and Food Systems during Covid19

Based on our long trajectory supporting the organic farming community with valuable information and skills, we will be identifying new ways to provide support at this time. This will include sharing relevant information with you on an on-going basis through our website, newsletter, and social media; supporting our partners; and holding webinars throughout the spring. To keep you updated, we have created this webpage to keep you updated regularly as new information about COVID-19 and possible impacts to farming and food systems becomes available.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need

USDA Announces Details of Direct Assistance to Farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Farmers and Ranchers to Receive Direct Support for Losses Related to COVID-19

Are you a farmer or rancher whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will provide direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance program on April 17, 2020. CFAP will use funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and other USDA existing authorities. This $19 billion immediate relief program includes direct support to agricultural producers as well as the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. CFAP will provide vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. Eligible commodities include:

Farms that are delivering to your door during Covid-19

A list of local farms who will deliver produce to your home during Covid29
ACME Hospitality Has Prepared More Than 500 Meals For The Unsheltered Populations Through City Net And New Beginnings Counseling Center. Photo Courtesty ACME Hospitality

Making a Match

Santa Barbara County Food Rescue, a program of the Community Environmental Council, includes multiple collaborations to support countywide efforts to feed those in need during the COVID-19 crisis.The program matches…

Food Waste Resources During The COVID-19 Pandemic

While our number one concern is for the health of those affected by COVID-19, ReFED also recognizes that our collective response to this crisis - such as buying food in bulk to guard against potential disruptions in supply chains; the forced closures of schools, restaurants, and other organizations that serve food; and more - is increasing the amount of food waste. And in many cases, the food being wasted could have gone to the most vulnerable among us through recovery and distribution programs.

‘If All the Stores Close, We Need Food’: Community Gardens Adapt to the Pandemic

Around the United States, local growing operations are offering fresh produce and socially distanced outdoor time.

Other News

Op-ed: How Patents Threaten Small Seed Companies

From Civil Eats, By Kristina "Kiki" Hubbard and Cathleen McCluskey. Seed is now one of the most privatized resources on the planet: Four transnational firms control more than 60 percent of the global seed marketplace.

Cuyama Lamb – Reservations available now

From grazing fire breaks in the Santa Ynez Mountains to protecting the endangered native grasslands of San Marcos Foothills, our lamb is 100% range-raised. You can feel good and eat…

Want to Fight Rising Food Insecurity? Listen to People Who’ve Been Hungry.

As families face sudden, chronic food shortages, three researchers share lessons from hundreds of interviews with the food insecure.

Interview: Kids Around the World Photographed Surrounded by Their Weekly Diet

The article, written by Jessica Stewart, shares the work of photographer Gregg Segal as he set out to discover the diets of children around the world. Stewart writes "Segal's photographs…

Want to See Food and Land Justice for Black Americans? Support These Groups.

Food justice is racial justice. As the nation rises up to protest atrocities against Black people, here are some organizations working to advance Black food sovereignty.

Reckoning with Racial Justice in Farm Country

Rural communities and agriculture groups are divided over George Floyd's death and the resulting protests. As some stay silent, others express solidarity or hold rallies in support.

Op-ed: We Can Build a Better Food System Through Mutual Aid

Imagine if food producers and movements worked together to secure the basic needs of those fighting for a better world for everyone.

Op-ed: How Urban Agriculture Can Fight Racism in the Food System

Growing food in cities offers a powerful way to reclaim communities and change the dynamics so that people of color have wealth and power.

Julián Castro on the Goya Boycott and How to Support Communities of Color

The former presidential candidate links COVID-19’s devastation in Black and brown communities with the need for a $15 minimum wage, free school meals, and universal healthcare.

Civil Eats: Food Companies Step Up Funding for Organic Farming Research

Article written by Meg Wilcox explores the ways food companies are stepping up to fund organic farming research. Companies including Clif Bar, King Arthur Flour, and others are funding universities…

A Butcher Slices Cuts Of Pork At The Currywurst Sausage Production Line In The Volkswagen AG (VW) Manufacturing Plant In Wolfsburg, Germany. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Meat Giants May Face Billions in Long-Term Carbon Taxes

Interesting Read! The article, written Agnieszka de Sousa , shares how meat giants may face carbon taxes and what the pandemic has revealed for the meat industry.   Click Link…

California Awarded More Than $3.8 Million To Support The Specialty Crop Industry Through Multi-State Initiatives

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is pleased to announce that four projects submitted by California were selected for funding for the 2019 Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP). The SCMP is a federal grant program offered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

The Rebirth of the Food Sovereignty Movement

As a veteran urban farmer, I often get questions from friends and family about best practices for backyard gardening. It wasn’t a surprise when my buddy Martin texted some questions for how to get a vegetable scene started. “Is it OK to start tomatoes outside now? Or better to start indoors?”

Review: Nels Fredrickson’s ‘Itza’s Garden’

For the protagonist of Nels Fredrickson’s clever illustrated story, Itza’s Garden, freedom means space to move and breathe, and time for nature to take its course. Itza is a hen trapped in a cage on a factory farm, required to produce three eggs a day or be carted off and rendered into chicken parts. Itza’s world, like our own, is a go-go, never slow down place.

DDT’s toxic legacy could span three generations

More than 50 years ago, scientists at the Permanente Foundation Hospital in Oakland started a simple experiment: When a pregnant woman would come in for routine maternal care, they were asked to give a sample of blood, to be frozen for future research. They didn’t know it at the time, but those samples would later be key in understanding the long-term health impacts of the then widely-used pesticide DDT.
Shakira Miracle

Increasing Support For Our Local Food System with the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network

SBCFAN Executive Director Shakira Miracle shares about building resilience for now and the future.

Did sea farm debacle sink California aquaculture?

Farming shellfish in deep ocean waters is a potentially lucrative industry in California. But environmental concerns, federal and state requirements and a recent failed project could be hard to overcome.
Shakira Miracle, Executive Director - Santa Barbara Food Action Network

Santa Barbara County Food Action Network Announces Shakira Miracle as First Executive Director

May 5, 2020, SANTA BARBARA, CA – The Santa Barbara County Food Action Network (SBCFAN) is proud to announce the selection of its first Executive Director, Shakira Miracle. Her hiring…

California Healthy Soils Program Helping Farmers

Though humans thrived here for millennia without planting seeds or herding animals, the phenomenal success of California's short-lived agricultural experiment is staggering on a planetary scale, and represents barely over a century of building the highly productive food systems that benefit us all today. The farmers who manage the fields, orchards and vineyards of our Golden State contribute greatly to the common good by providing abundant food from an astonishing variety of crops.

Central Coast farmers’ markets provide affordable produce for Cal Fresh participants

Local farmers' markets are helping low-income community members buy fresh fruits and vegetables during this pandemic. Select farmers' markets in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties have been accepting CalFresh benefits, formerly known as "Food Stamps" 2015. Now, those farmers' markets are also participating in the "Market Match Program" where CalFresh participants can earn more money for groceries whenever they shop at farmers' markets.

Lane Farms in Goleta offers customers open-air shopping environment

GOLETA, Calif. - Some shoppers that are trying to avoid crowded grocery lines have been turning to Lane Farms for their fresh produce needs. The Lane family has been farming in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area since 1868 and their produce stand at 308 S. Walnut Lane has been operating since 1939.

Foodbank Preparing for Possible Local Impacts of COVID-19 Outbreak: Focus on Nutrition for Families and Seniors

Foodbank Preparing for Possible Local Impacts of COVID-19 Outbreak: Focus on Nutrition for Families and Seniors Countywide Disaster Feeding Plan will guide emergency food distribution planning and implementation March 12,…

Cuyama Valley Carrot Growers Get the Stick

The Cuyama Valley is the driest agricultural region in the county; the valley floor gets just a little more rain than the Sahara. Yet for the past 75 years, this high desert region has been a mecca for water-intensive farming on an industrial scale — first alfalfa, and now carrots, a $69 million annual crop.

Now more than ever, we should be supporting SLO county’s small organic farms

The American disconnect between food and farmer is nothing short of catastrophic. Farming is complicated and grossly underestimated, especially small, organic farming in a state that doesn't seem to support it very well—ask any small farmer about getting their California Certified Organic Foundation Certification.

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Pilots High School “Food Creativity Lab” as Part of Expanding Education Programs

Integral to ending hunger, the Foodbank’s children’s nutrition education aims to improve health habits for kids experiencing food insecurity (Santa Barbara, CA) – The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is…

EconAlliance Forum Puts Spotlight on ‘Growing Possibilities’ of Agriculture in Santa Barbara County

County, state and federal officials gathered Thursday to showcase Santa Barbara County’s reputation as an agricultural leader and to address issues facing the industry. The program, “Growing Possibilities,” was organized and sponsored by the EconAlliance, a nonprofit alliance that targets industry, innovation and the workforce in northern Santa Barbara County. The event was held at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

Food as Medicine: The Digestion Connection

The Digestion Connection: How Digestion Impacts States of Health and Disease Wednesday, February 19 6-8pm Santa Barbara Public Library Faulkner Gallery 40 E Anapamu Street Join nutrition advocates Vibeke Welland…

The SBCC Promise’s Culinary Class

The SBCC Promise Program provides the region’s high school graduates with the opportunity to attend for two years, free of charge.

Third Annual Session – Building Our Resilient Food System: Using the Food Action Plan to Create a County-Wide Network

#rethinkfood #foodaction #foodjustice #foodsystem #leaf Help us continue to shape a sustainable food future for Santa Barbara County! Join us for the third annual free community listening and activation session…

Edible Campus Program’s Student Farm Opening

On October 8th, UCSB’s Edible Campus Program celebrated the opening of the ECP Student Farm. Students, supporters, and community members came together to celebrate the success of this new farm.…

Community Environmental Council Receives Food Rescue Grant and Partners with SBCC and Allan Hancock College to Feed Hungry Students

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) received $116,000 from Cal Recycle to feed hungry students at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) and Allan Hancock College as part of an innovative food rescue program that will also help our region reduce waste and fight climate change.

Film Screening: The Biggest Little Farm

A testament to the immense complexity of nature, The Biggest Little Farm follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the…

Good Food For Good

Good Food for Good

Bruce Cleveland and Jefferson Woeste invite you to a fun Sunday dinner benefitting the launch of the new SYV Community Kitchen at St. Mark's-in-the-Valley. Local legend Chef Frank Ostini will be cooking at historic Rancho San Antonio on Sunday, May 19 at 6 pm.

Food Insecurity in Higher Education Public Forum

Join the Santa Barbara County community in addressing the food insecurity crisis happening at our own local colleges. Many students face some degree of food insecurity, leading us to question…

Power to the soil!

CEC's Food Program, in partnership with the King & King Ranch, the Ventura Resource Conservation District and the UC Cooperative Extension, are putting together a Healthy Soils demonstration project in…

Providing Another Option For Students Facing Food Insecurity, UC Santa Barbara Has Opened A Food Pantry At Sierra Madre Villages.

A Full Plate

Providing another option for students facing food insecurity, UC Santa Barbara has opened a food pantry at Sierra Madre Villages.

Dr Sara Goldrick-Rab: Addressing Students’ Basic Needs

Join us for an evening with scholar-activist Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab while she discusses the new economics of colleges and how they have created a crisis of basic needs insecurity on…

Thank you for helping us build the Food Action Plan Network!

Last week nearly 75 people attended the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan (SBCFAP) listening session, where businesses, schools, neighborhoods, and organizations of all types shared and connected with others engaged in making a secure food system for our county.
© Sarita Relis

Carbon Farming Initiative Takes Tentative First Steps in Santa Ynez Valley

Article first appeared on Noozhawk On a recent morning in the Santa Ynez Valley, a crowd of people gathered at the Ted Chamberlin Ranch to discuss soil health and so-called…

Environmental and Agricultural Leaders Partner to Host Healthy Soils Field Day & Compost Demonstration

Second Annual Event – Building Our Resilient Food System: Cultivating Connections

#rethinkfood #foodaction #foodjustice #foodsystem #leaf Help us continue to shape a sustainable food future for Santa Barbara County! Join us on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 from 6 p.m. to 8…

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Annual Report 2018

Thanks for taking the time to read this report! This has been an incredible year of progress for the Foodbank. We had no idea that we would be tested so…

Food First – Fall 2018 Newsletter

Full Hearts and Bellies: An SBC Food Rescue Story #rethinkfood

CEC’s SBC Food Rescue program has been hard at work since the launch in April 2018, and to date has saved approximately 3,625 pounds of restaurant-quality food from going to the landfill. Instead, this food has gone to feed local community members at charitable nonprofits.

Santa Barbara School District First In US To Axe Processed Meat

The Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) is the first known school district in the US to remove processed meats from its lunch menus. The change - which became official…

Farming for Life to use veggies as low-cost diabetes treatment

Santa Barbara County doctors are testing out a new prescription medication to treat residents struggling with type 2 diabetes: veggies. Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, a Santa Barbara-based diabetes research and…

Photo By © Getty Images From The Hill

Rising carbon emissions make crops less nutritious, threaten global health

Read the full text on The Hill. Around the world, food security is being threatened by man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Some of the threats to our food system are…

Excess Food, Which Normally Gets Thrown Out, Helps To Feed Hungry In Santa Barbara County

Food that would normally be thrown out is now feeding the hungry in Santa Barbara County. Restaurants, supermarkets and caterers routinely dump their excess prepared food. But instead of filling…

Food Rescue Network Links Those With Excess Food to Those in Need

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) has launched Santa Barbara County Food Rescue, a collaborative food recovery network that builds relationships in the county between donors who have excess food and…

Lompoc residents, Foodbank reps celebrate 1-year anniversary of food access center

With a festive atmosphere that was befitting a birthday party, Lompoc community members and civic leaders joined with officials from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County on Wednesday to celebrate…

Scaling Up Carbon Farming on Central Coast Rangelands

The Community Environmental Council (CEC), Cachuma Resource Conservation District, and Ted Chamberlin Ranch have been awarded a major statewide grant to scale-up and expand a regenerative agriculture research pilot underway…

The Chickens For Cover Crops Committee. David Silverman/Getty Images

California is turning farms into carbon-sucking factories

In a grand experiment, California switched on a fleet of high-tech greenhouse gas removal machines last month. Funded by the state’s cap-and-trade program, they’re designed to reverse climate change by sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. These wonderfully complex machines are more high-tech than anything humans have designed. They’re called plants.

Santa Barbara County Food Rescue

Community Environmental Council is coordinating SBC Food Rescue, a collaborative food recovery network for Santa Barbara County with support from private, public, and nonprofit sectors. SBC Food Rescue builds relationships…

The Amazing Ability of Pasture Grass to Sequester Carbon

"What really got people excited about this simple layer of compost is that it sequesters carbon now. We don’t have to wait for Elon Musk to geo-engineer something from space.”…

Soup’s On at Empty Bowls Fundraiser

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will host the 14th Annual Lompoc Empty Bowls fundraiser, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at Dick DeWees Senior & Community Center, 1120 W.…

© Sarita Relis Photography

Veggie Rescue Teams Up with Chumash Casino to Redirect Excess Food to People in Need

As national and global agencies spotlight food waste, a Santa Barbara County nonprofit organization has been working behind the scenes since November to relocate leftover food from buffet lines to…

Young Farmers to Help Diabetes Patients

Fairview Gardens and William Sansum Diabetes Center Merge Budding Programs If young farmers and diabetes don’t seem like a natural pairing, just ask Lacey Baldiviez and Ben York. Baldiviez, the…

Thinking Big

Yellow cloth streamers blowing sideways in the breeze signal that you've arrived at the Blue Sky Center in New Cuyama. But just in case there's any doubt, the name is…

Placemaking in Cuyama Valley

Cuyama. In Chumash it means to rest, to wait. The two-lane highway of Route 166 is a hidden gem, often traveled during wildflower season in late March. The gorgeous route…

Free Screening of Wasted! The Story of Food Waste

Join us to #rethinkfood with a FREE screening of WASTED: The Story of Food Waste by Anthony Bourdain. Hear how you can plug into efforts to reduce and redistribute food waste with CEC and…

Sky’s the limit: The Blue Sky Center works to empower the residents of rural Cuyama Valley with creativity and community

Things don’t move too fast in rural communities like New Cuyama, and they especially slow down when the midday sun bears down and the heat hits the high 90s. That…

Foodbank opens new Lompoc community center

Representatives from the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County joined with Lompoc community members Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the opening of the Foodbank’s first Community Food Access Center. The new center,…

Students Research West Side Food Quality

Three Westmont students have presented their research about the availability and quality of food in the West Side of Santa Barbara to more than two dozen community members of the…

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