The Santa Barbara County Food Action Network is the result of more than two years of collaboration and partnership, over a thousand hours of volunteer time, and the significant investment of local foundations and donors. Addressing complex challenges such as food insecurity, climate change and population growth, the Network grew out of a comprehensive Food Action Plan, which includes actionable goals and strategies to help build and sustain a more prosperous and resilient food system.
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. Out of this plan, the Food Action Network was born.
“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 Grants Program Manager, Jenny Bruell, at JBruell@SBFoundation.org.
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