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The Santa Barbara County Food Action Network connects, aligns, and activates food system changemakers to develop a robust local food economy, a healthy and just community, and a well-stewarded, resilient foodshed.

What does that mean, and how do we do our work?

We focus on four key areas of our Food System.

Our Food Economy, Our Community, Our Foodshed, and Our Health and Wellness. Within those areas our network works to address 16 specific goals.

We assemble teams that make change happen.

We gather individuals from different areas of the food system to collaborate as teams and affect change directly in their communities.

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.

We facilitate Funding and Crisis Support

Through Resource Sharing, Grant Distribution and Financing Partnerships we get funding and resources to the people who need it most. We activate our network as a Crisis Response solution, bringing people, resources, and funding to bear on immediate challenges.

We model positive adaptation at a local level.

The successes of the network are a prototype for positive food system change — in practice and in policy — across the country. Through listening and collaboration we equitably amplify voices to create that systemic change.

The Food Action Network responds to crisis situations, to help farms like Ebby’s Farm in Goleta. Watch a video about it. Photograph: Andrew Hill | PHAROS Creative



As represented by our favorite foods and food related items. (click to learn more)


Composed of staff and contractors, we are a tight-knit team that expands and adapts as needed.

Shakira Miracle

Executive Director (she/her/ella)
Shakira Miracle

Shakira Miracle is a system solution designer, stakeholder collaboration facilitator, and social justice and planet advocate who loves engaging with people, listening to their stories, finding common ground, and building trust. When she’s not spending quality time exploring nature with her husband and two boys, you can find Shakira taste testing her favorite fruits at a local farm stand, farmers market, or straight out of the field when not falling in a ditch of said berry field. Learn more about Shakira’s expertise.

Why I love blackberries: When I lived in British Columbia, Canada, blackberries grew wild everywhere. Every summer while walking the dog or pushing my little ones in the stroller, I would pick them along the path and eat them. As the kids got a little older, they’d pick their own blackberries. They’d have constant blackberry stains on their faces, hands, and shoes. I loved it. They’re also low on the glycemic index and have fiber.

Mirella Esparza

Operations Assistant (she/her/ella)
Mirella Esparza

A proud first-generation Mexican-American who was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, Mirella is currently pursuing higher education in Psychology. She and her husband are Marine Corps Veterans,  who met while serving, and together they have two wonderful children. Having lived in several different states, they have first-hand experience with the food insecurities that exist in a one-income household. She is so proud to be working with SBCFAN; the welcoming yet mission-oriented force has motivated her to strive toward a well-structured food network within Santa Barbara.

Why I love beans: my first memory of food is a bowl of beans. They have always been so filling, and brought a sense of “home” wherever life takes me. I ultimately wish I could’ve been more prepared in life by knowing;  I would compare ALL beans to my mom’s Frijoles de Oya.

Lisa Javellana Hill

PHAROS Creative | Communications Strategist (she/her/ella)
Lisa Javellana Hill

Lisa is a systems-minded creative professional with more than 25 years experience in developing marketing and communication strategies for small businesses and nonprofits. When she’s not puzzling on every available surface in the house she shares with her husband and two grown kids, you can find her at the farmers market trying not to spend all of her allowance. Learn more about Lisa’s expertise.

Why I love blueberries: I fell in love with blueberries (and blackberries, raspberries, huckleberries, basically EVERYberries…) when we lived in the Pacific Northwest, where berries can grow to the size of small houses. That was 20 years ago, and I can still eat them until I have a stomach ache from eating too many. Aren’t they a superfood? I can get behind that.

Andrew Hill

PHAROS Creative | Web Design and Photography (he/him/el)
Andrew Hill

With a formal background in graphic design, Andrew has 20 years experience in brand development, user experience, and communications design, focusing on usability and beauty. Toting his camera everywhere since age 13, he enjoys editorial photography of people and places, usually with an eye toward a larger story. His portraits aim to capture sincere moments, highlighting the ways we are alike as humans, even if our passions differ. When he’s not taste testing cultural foods while globetrotting with his better half, you can find Andrew chatting up and taking photos of whomever he runs into on the street. Learn more about Andrew’s expertise and find him on Instagram.

Why I love rainbow chard: It’s yummy, colorful, and I’m all about LGBTQ+ Pride.

Core Team demographics: 75% female; 25% Latina, 25% Asian.


100% of our Board of Directors is directly involved in our regional food system1.

Amy Derryberry

Board Treasurer
Amy Derryberry
Food is the through line in Amy’s life, from wanting to be a farmer when she grew up, interning at an apricot orchard in Chico, working in restaurants and catering, to a stint with the SBC Vintners’ Association and transitioning to work in a natural food market.
Most recently she was Veggie Rescue’s founding ED and then the Director of the SYV Community Kitchen at St. Mark’s in Los Olivos, where she gained knowledge and support as a member of SBCFAN’s Community Kitchen Working Group. Some of her favorite activities are reading about food and cooking for and eating with family and friends.

1producers, distributors, education, workforce development, policy and regulation, marketing, food waste reduction, food security and retail
Board demographics: 75% female; 25% Latina, 13% bi-racial.


Specialists who extend our core capabilities and provide invaluable insights and services.

Katie Hershfelt

Local Food System Consultant (she/her)
Katie Hershfelt

Katie is a passionate local food and farming advocate, business owner, consultant and community builder with 15 years experience as a trusted resource and strategic partner in building food resilience. Her deep ties to the food system stem from her tendency to spend two too many hours at the farmers market, pull over for anything that resembles a farm stand, and be on a need-to-know basis with everything local food. Learn more about Katie’s expertise.

Why I love garlic: I’m part Italian so I like to think I was born to love garlic. My favorite variety is Purple Stripe. In spring I stock up on fresh garlic and scapes. When a recipe calls for one clove, I add four. My mantra: a head of garlic a day keeps the doctor away – and the vampires at bay.

Bridging Voices-Uniendo Voces, LLC

Bridging Voices-Uniendo Voces, LLC

Bridging Voices-Uniendo Voces, LLC provides consulting services, training and professional interpretation, and translation services focused on equity, diversity, inclusion, and language justice. With more 10 years of experience, owner Lena Moran Acereto uses an educational, research based approach with a lens of equity to create inclusive, multilingual spaces where all voices are valued. Through her work with the Community Environmental Council, Bridging Voices cultivated a partnership with SBCFAN, providing interpretation for webinars and supporting the development of a language justice plan for the Network. 

“The Network really understands the value of bringing all voices in – the commitment to diversity and inclusion drew me to SBCFAN. As an eater, I am becoming more curious about local food system options and what we can do to ensure that the Santa Barbara community has access to a just, equitable food system.”

What does a successful Food Action Network look like?
Embedding language justice into the culture of the work so that everyone can join the conversation and have a voice at the table.

Mercury Press International

Mercury Press International

Mercury Press International has been creating award-winning content for magazines, newspapers, books, television, and streaming since 1991. Today, owners Nancy Black and Isaac Hernandez focus on crafting moving and inspiring films for their many nonprofit clients, including Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Community Environmental Council, and SBCFAN.  

An early partner of the Network, Nancy and Isaac love that the work we accomplish together is directly fulfilling a promise to create a better world and has local impact – extending to their own neighborhood. 

Their skills and talents have helped the Network craft stories that foster conversation around strengthening the local food system. “Every single story is an opportunity to learn about communities doing something awesome. Film gets to your soul… it is a way to empower and uplift people into action. Our hope is that the films we produce for SBCFAN not only inspire our local audience to begin the process of creating this system but become ideas that can be replicated by a wider audience in their own communities.”

What does a successful Food Action Network look like?
The possibility that together we create a closed-looped economically vibrant food system that provides healthy food to all of our community. 

“The Network provides resilience for the community we live in and we all eat so securing our food system just seems smart.” 

– Nancy Black


“Every single story is an opportunity to learn about communities doing something awesome,” says Nancy Black.

PHAROS Creative

Strategy | Marketing | Communications
PHAROS Creative

Andrew and Lisa Hill co-founded Pharos Creative, a branding firm that helps clients with marketing and communications strategy, design, and photography. First launched in 1996 as a multimedia firm, their focus was on helping organizations and small businesses share their stories. Over the last few decades, they have worked with clients across the globe to clearly identify their audience and create targeted marketing strategies.

Through their work with the Community Environmental Council, Andrew and Lisa learned about the Food Action Plan, a project that immediately appealed to their love of food as it relates to place and passion for helping to expand food access in our region. Together, they designed marketing collateral and a website for the Plan, eventually becoming involved with the early stages of the Network. They continue to play an important role in the strategic direction and development of SBCFAN.

What does a successful Food Action Network look like?
Increased food access, expanded funding for farms, and the Network serving as a model that other communities can emulate to achieve greater food resiliency.

“Santa Barbara County – we love the place and the people. Food is a level playing field in the sense that everyone needs it, but it’s NOT in the sense that everybody doesn’t have equal access to it. This is an opportunity to do really impactful work and use our skills.”



Published in 2016, the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan was conceived of and co-founded by the Community Environmental Council, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the Santa Barbara Foundation, and the Orfalea Family Foundation (sunsetted).

More than 200 community members committed over 1,200 volunteer hours to help develop this strategy-based community “blueprint” for an accessible, thriving, sustainable, and healthy food system.

Download a PDF of the plan here.


Addressing the 16 Food Action Plan Goals in 4 key Areas

The Food Action Network works with local stakeholders, like Alan Hancock College. Volunteers at the college bag  groceries for food insecure families and individuals to pick up every Saturday. Photograph: Andrew Hill | PHAROS Creative



We envision a future for Santa Barbara County where locally grown food is accessible to ALL community members and culturally reflective; where sustainable and regenerative agriculture improves our soil, reduces water consumption and helps reverse the threat of climate change; where both food businesses and workers thrive; and where we have a plan to maintain food production and distribution in the event of an emergency, ensuring our community remains resilient and nourished.

Across the Food Action Plan Areas (1.0 and 2.0), we are making change by:


We are growing our website as a food system hub for critical resources such as:


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


Through our work with Federal, State, and Local Grants, as well as Financing Partnerships, we are able to help get funding directly to those who need it most. Often these are marginalized members of our community, and the Food Action Network is committed to helping all voices be heard.

raised for Network Members


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.


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.

Developing a
Resource Sharing

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

SBCFAN and the Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) created the Food System Resilience Loan Pilot to provide food businesses 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 Santa Barbara and Ventura County region.




Advocating for Local Food Procurement Policies

Locally grown vegetables for sale at Summerland’s Sweet Wheel Farms farm stand.

SBCFAN is partnering with individuals and organizations across sectors to develop policies that ensure organizations and agencies procure a percentage of food from local sources.




Food System

Las Cumbres Ranch in Los Alamos is pioneering sustainable and regenerative practices with their livestock.

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.





Part of the work we do is documentation: what works, what does not, who is finding innovative methods to improve our food system, and what those methods are.


Through conversations, questionnaires, interviews, photo shoots, and other data gathering, The Food Action Network aggregates and publishes Success Stories related to the work we are all doing in the county.


Why take our word for it, when you can hear it directly? The Food Action Network partners with Mercury Press International to produce videos that tell Food System stories first hand.

The Endangered Farmer: Why land, water, and labor are critical to preserving regional food systems

Stewarding Indigenous Plants at the Chumash Tribal Nursery

Empowering community at El Centro Santa Barbara

Building food resilience with Sweet Wheel Farm

Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel

The Food Action Network supports the Santa Ynez Band of the Chumash Tribe in re-prioritizing food sovereignty, self-driven community solutions, and traditional foodsheds. Here Diego Cordero harvests from traditional food sources at the Santa Ynez Tribal Nursery.
Photograph: Andrew Hill | PHAROS Creative


Currently, we are in need of operational funding.
Your support will directly enable:

  • 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 an impact investment fund for food system projects
  • Regional innovation that can be iterated nationally
Santa Barbara County Food Action Network / Red de Acción Alimentaria del Condado de Santa Bárbara

133 E De La Guerra St, #268
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 203-6234
[email protected]

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