|Wednesday, December 4, 2019
6 PM – 8 PM
Santa Barbara Public Library Faulkner Gallery
Using the Food Action Plan to Create a County-Wide Network, a free community activation session SANTA BARBARA, CA–The Community Environmental Council (CEC), Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, and Santa Barbara Foundation will hold the 3rd Annual Building Our Resilient Food System. The free community activation session gathers a diverse cross-section of people and organizations to share impactful food system solutions that are underway, while fostering new opportunities for connection and collaboration. The open discussion will take place on Wednesday, December 4 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Public Library Faulkner Gallery.“Since launching the Food Action Plan in May 2016, we have directly engaged over 1,300 community members and organizations in outreach efforts, resulting in an array of powerful new programs, partnerships and networks,” stated Erik Talkin, CEO of Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “Now we are looking to strengthen connections and deepen impact even further by developing a robust, county-wide network.”Attended by close to 100 community members in both 2017 and 2018, this year’s gathering marks the launch of the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network. The event will showcase community partnerships that are already working toward the end goals of the Food Action Plan.
One example is the Isla Vista and UCSB Garden Community, which weaves 14 diverse gardens together into a single neighborhood. Katie Maynard, Sustainability Coordinator for UCSB, who is overseeing the year-long project, commented, “We’re building a whole community around growing and eating fresh, local food. In just one year, we have hosted 23 workshops on low-cost, introductory gardening skills, engaged a broad spectrum of our community through a weekly Saturday Morning Live garden volunteer program, and hosted block parties where neighborhoods came together to tour gardens, eat vegetables grown there, and engage in conversations around access to healthy produce.”
In North County, the Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization (LVCHO) has also leveraged multiple partnerships to develop a weekly Route One Farmers Market. Emily Casarez, Director of Community Health for the LVCHO shared, “Route One Farmers Market was founded to lead and serve the entire Lompoc Valley by providing increased access to fresh local produce, creating networks for local producers, and acting as a platform for community outreach and education around healthy food access and consumption.” Designed to model best practices from the Food Action Plan, they accept government-assisted payment and provide educational programs for children. LVCHO is now looking to expand market access through a Lompoc Valley Mobile Farmers Market.
Other projects that will be shared include:
- Veggie Prescription Program: Sansum Diabetes Research Institute is expanding their program, Farming for Life, to include new pick up sites and more patients.
- Shared Kitchens Map: A committee of Food Action Plan participants, including members of CEC, completed an assessment to map kitchens available for shared use throughout Santa Barbara County.
- Regenerative Agriculture Demonstration Site: White Buffalo Land Trust runs a 12-acre avocado orchard in Summerland, California, that is open for the public to see spaces transitioning into integrated agricultural systems.
- Community Kitchen & Education: Blue Sky Center’s Cuyama Kitchen holds programming for culinary arts and nutritional education while offering space for new food ventures and community fundraisers.
- College Student Food Security: Allan Hancock College, Santa Barbara City College, and Community Environmental Council received a CalRecycle grant to support food insecure students on campus with increased access to food pantries and excess high-quality prepared food that would otherwise go to waste.
- Fishing Entrepreneurship: The Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara organization is looking to secure permanent space for boat and fishing gear storage to see how local zoning ordinances can better support food entrepreneurship.
The Community Environmental Council and Foodbank of Santa Barbara County spearheaded the creation of the Santa Barbara Food Action Plan in 2015-16, which involved over 1,200 hours of volunteer work from over 200 community members. The Santa Barbara Foundation served as a major partner in the launch and continued their support through a series of grants.
“Wildfires, power outages, and other threats driven by the climate crisis have made us more aware than ever that we need to build resilience in all aspects of our community, including our food system,” stated Sigrid Wright, CEO of Community Environmental Council. “In many instances, solutions for resilience – like boosting soil health through carbon farming, or ensuring high-quality food goes to hungry mouths versus the landfill – also help mitigate, or even reverse, the impacts of climate change. The Food Action Plan’s shift to a network leans into the power of community-based solutions, providing unique opportunities for collaborations and partnerships that benefit people and the land.”
In 2020, the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network plans to host quarterly learning events, expand working groups, and hone in on priorities that most closely reflect community issues.
The event is being co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Food Alliance and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network. RSVP on the Facebook event, Building Our Resilient Food System: Using the Food Action Plan to Create a County-Wide Network. For more information about the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan and how to get involved in the network, visit www.sbcfoodaction.org.