skip to Main Content
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.
Rethink Food


  1. Choose wisely.  Whether you are considering eating less factory-produced meat or making other strides toward planet-friendly foods, collectively our daily meal choices add up. Learn more.
  2. Purchase regionally-produced food. Create a lower carbon footprint with independently sold, responsibly sourced, fresh and seasonal food.
  3. Grow your own food. Learn how to grow your own food with Environmental Horticulture Classes at SBCC, including the Permaculture Design Certificate. Regenerative Landscape Alliance is a local landscape design company that helps homeowners incorporate edible, food producing plants that build soil carbon and are climate-appropriate. Find other resources at UC Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Programs. 
  4. Reduce food waste. Smarter meal planning and waste-free cooking practices will lower your carbon footprint. Find tips at,,,, and Dana Gunders Waste Free Kitchen Handbook.
  5. Compost at home!  Even applying compost to your garden plot helps pull carbon out of the air on a small-scale and diverts your food waste from the landfill, keeping methane (one of the most potent greenhouse gases) out of the atmosphere.  Each ton of food waste diverted from the landfill results in 17.5 metric tons of avoided Co2 emissions—equivalent to taking 45 cars off the road. See these resources for regional composting programs and subsidized worm bins for your home:


Food System

We are learning that a verticalized, globalized food system is vulnerable to both climate and public health disasters. In turn, our community is vulnerable to hunger – particularly students, unsheltered populations, farmworkers, and seniors. Our current global food system is highly fossil fuel intensive and extremely wasteful, both of which often manifest in inequitable ways, causing adverse effects in marginalized communities. Working towards a sustainable, fair, and healthy food system requires that we address the systemic layers of class, race, geography, and language that inform individual access to food, and each person’s ability to survive and thrive. If we care about food, then we must care about people.

Land Use

When it comes to land use, plants and soils typically act as a carbon sink, storing carbon dioxide that is absorbed through photosynthesis. When the land is disturbed or mismanaged over a long period of time, the stored carbon dioxide—along with methane and nitrous oxide—is emitted, re-entering the atmosphere.

We reverse this trend. If restored and regenerated, farms can use practices that turn land into a “carbon sink” to help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil, helping our communities adapt to and mitigate climate change. This natural process can empower communities to reclaim their food cycle and their carbon cycle, creating food sovereignty and localized food production.


CEC is taking steps to pursue a sustainable food system that balances the carbon equation to mitigate climate change. We invite you to learn more and get involved in these efforts.

Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan

CEC partnered with Santa Barbara County Foodbank and the Santa Barbara Foundation to create a community-driven blueprint for a resilient local food system. It is now being implemented by 43 agencies and partners county-wide. Learn more.

Carbon Farming and Regenerative Agriculture

Carbon farming is a way to transfer excess carbon out of the atmosphere – where it is causing a lot of harm – and store it in the soil – where it does a lot of good. CEC is actively working on two pilot projects that demonstrate how transferring carbon back to the soil through mulch and compost, where it has significant benefits for climate, water and crop production. Learn more.

Food Waste Reduction

As one outcome of a series of Food Waste Roundtables we held, CEC established SBC Food Rescue, a program that seeks to redistribute high-quality food that would otherwise go to waste to those facing hunger. This addresses two urgent needs – ensuring food makes it to the plates of those in need, and keeping high-quality food from going to a landfill, where it breaks down and emits the potent greenhouse gas methane. Learn more. 

Back To Top