Diverse microclimates, temperate weather, and warm ocean waters contribute to the rich abundance Santa Barbara county farmers, ranchers, and fisherfolk are able to harvest. Yet, very little of this quality food makes it onto local plates due to critical gaps in our food system. The Santa Barbara County Food Action Network is working to identify and address these gaps.
Published in 2016, the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan was conceived and co-founded by the Community Environmental Council, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the Santa Barbara Foundation, and the Orfalea Family Foundation (now 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.
In 2019, the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network grew out of the comprehensive Food Action Plan. SBCFAN 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. Today, the Network provides a hub for information, collaboration, and wrap-around support for food producers, consumers, and every key food system player in between.
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.
The Network primarily focuses on three areas of work: Working Groups, Policy, and Resources.
SBCFAN convenes, coordinates, and catalyzes the acceleration of Food Action Plan goal activation and change-making in our region.
SBCFAN navigates and advocates for policies and innovative solutions that support an equitable and resilient food system by advancing economic development, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Food Action Plan goals and community members across the county and state drive the priorities of the Network.
SBCFAN is a countywide hub for critical resources such as funding, financing, creative capital development and access, as well as employment, land, equipment, materials, and more.
Over the past three years, SBCFAN has supported a number of projects that expand and strengthen regenerative farming practices, regional infrastructure, food access, local food procurement and distribution, and farmland preservation. Read more about their countywide impact.
Your support is needed so that the Food Action Network can keep up with the pace of demand for their services – the seeding of the soil of our food system for years to come.
Learn more at sbcfoodaction.org/case-for-support.
“It was incredible to see the drive and passion that fueled the planning process throughout its duration,” shared Sharyn Main, former Senior Director of Community Investments for the Santa Barbara Foundation, who worked closely on developing the Network. “The depth of understanding and the sense of urgency resulted in a plan that is comprehensive and achievable.”
The Santa Barbara County Food Action Network facilitates a positive, cyclical effect that:
The Santa Barbara County Food Action Network shares strategies and systems successfully implemented in local businesses, as well as examples of practices to adopt at home. It also serves as a convener of stakeholders dedicated to strengthening our local food system for the current and future generations.
“What resilience is all about, more than anything else, is a community thinking about its future and having the audacity to actually want to write that future, to form that future, as opposed to always having to clean up the messes of the hand we’re dealt,” said Gallo.
Your support is needed to broadly promote the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network and continue to build the community capacity necessary to sustain and improve this important initiative.
To learn more about the Santa Barbara Foundations work within Food please contact our Community Engagement Department, at CE@SBFoundation.org.
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