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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

To celebrate Eat Local Month this October, we asked CEC’s Staff, Board, and Partnership Council about what local foods they’re indulging in, where they make their purchases, and what the local food scene means to them.

Today we’re hearing from Sigrid, Jules, Jordan, and Dennis.

For Sigrid Wright, CEC’s Assistant Director, summer and fall are synonymous with fresh fruits and vegetables.  In fact, she admits that this time of year, she spends part of her weekends, and even her vacation time, preserving and drying food for later in the year.  She lives just three blocks from the bountiful Ellwood Canyon Farms, whose farm stand — in conjunction with Plow to Porch organics and her own large backyard garden — make it possible for her to source nearly 100% of her produce locally throughout the year.  Sigrid’s hope is that in the future, local food items will make up a greater percentage of what Santa Barbarans eat.  “Santa Barbara has amazing potential for supporting locally-grown food.  We have a year-round growing climate, incredible soil, and an environmentally-aware community that loves good food.  And yet – despite being one of the top agricultural counties in the U.S., 95% of the food we eat in Santa Barbara is imported.”

CEC Partnership Council member, Jules Zimmer prefers his locally-sourced meals to be homemade.  He frequents Shepherd farms, one of the original salad mix producers in California, for his produce.  While he eats mostly vegetarian, Jules considers Santa Barbara’s locally-caught fresh fish a delicacy. (He buys his at Santa Barbara Fish Market.)  During the heat of late summer and early fall, he likes to make cold soups in his Vegamix.  Jules likes the idea of a Santa Barbara’s local food scene in the future including “more collaborative backyard gardens.”

Jordan benShea, CEC Board Secretary, is a self-described locavore, a beekeeper, and a gardener.  When asked for her favorite local delicacy, she says the honey from her hives and the fruits and vegetables from her garden.  “It is so completely rewarding to grow or enrich your own crops and to reap the rewards of your labors.”  She considers Genuine Bread Company a hidden gem, as it is one of the few local bread companies using local wheat, which comes from Shepherd Farms.  She sees Santa Barbara as becoming “a region that is more dependent on our own crops locally instead of importing from afar. We have the opportunity to be a real mecca for all things local.”

Dennis Allen, CEC’s past Board President, also prefers to prepare his food at home.  “We mostly cook and eat at home so we know more about the ingredients.”  The types of foods his family prepares this time of year include pasta made with fresh Roma tomatoes, ratatouille, and succotash with fresh lima beans, corn, and Sun Gold tomatoes from the farmers market. Like Jordan, Dennis is a beekeeper.  His hive, which produces about 75 pounds of honey each year, is made from a variety of pollens and is different each season.  He is also a proponent of reducing food imports to the region.  Dennis would like to see more food processed locally and the “development of a comprehensive program, backed up by regional policy, to get us to nearly 100% local food.”


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