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The Future of Food Needs Us

Food Action Plan Released with Proactive, Actionable Goals & Strategies


Every one of us depends on a thriving, sustainable and healthy food system – from consumers and food entrepreneurs to growers and farmworkers. In Santa Barbara County, we are addressing the challenges that place our health, environment and community at risk. The Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan is the result of two years of collaboration and partnership, over a thousand hours of volunteer time, and the significant investment of local foundations and donors. In working to proactively address complex challenges such as food insecurity, climate change and population growth, the Food Action Plan includes actionable goals and strategies that will help build a more prosperous and resilient food system.

“The importance and complexity of our food system requires each one of us to be invested in a better future. The Santa Barbara Foundation is not shying away from the great ideas and big issues of our time,” emphasized Ron Gallo, President & CEO. “We choose to tackle them – standing side by side – with community leaders and partner organizations.”

The Community Environmental Council, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Orfalea Foundation and Santa Barbara Foundation facilitated an 18-month planning process that prioritized community engagement. The 16 goals and strategies of the Food Action Plan represent the oversight of a 25-member Advisory Board, results from 35 one-on-one stakeholder interviews, ideas and insights from over 150 community members participating in bi-lingual listening sessions, and the expertise of 75 leaders and professionals engaging in Working Groups. The result is a plan that spans investments in our food economy, health and wellness, community and food shed.

“It was incredible to see the drive and passion that fueled the planning process throughout its duration,” shared Sharyn Main, Santa Barbara Foundation Senior Director of Community Investments. “The depth of understanding and the sense of urgency to address the critical components of our food system resulted in a plan that is comprehensive and achievable.”

The vision of the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan facilitates a positive, cyclical effect that will:

  • Provide more access to good food and better information, enabling healthier people who make positive choices for themselves and their families.
  • This in turn develops well-nourished workers who are better able to support a vibrant food system, bringing more resources to the community.
  • And this in turn allows people to become better stewards of the natural resources that support our health.

The Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan shares strategies and systems successfully implemented in local businesses, as well as examples of practices to adopt at home. It also serves as a call to action for all community members to invest in our local food system in ways that will strengthen it now and for future generations.

Understandably, the work has just begun and to realize the vision of our food future will require a long-term commitment of support and collaboration. The LEAF Initiative at the Santa Barbara Foundation is providing the framework to help facilitate these community-driven solutions for conserving and strengthening landscapes, ecosystems, agriculture and food systems in Santa Barbara County.

“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 Plan and build the community capacity necessary for successful implementation. If you would like more information or are interested in donating, please contact Jan Campbell or donate here.


Explore the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan

Download the 12-page Executive Summary and/or the full plan.

Food Action Plan Executive Summary

Food Action Plan
North County Headquarters:  (805) 346-6123  |   2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101, Santa Maria, CA 93455
South County Headquarters:  (805) 963-1873  |  1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101