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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.

SBCFAN connectsaligns, and activates food system changemakers to develop a robust local food economy, a healthy and just community, and a well-stewarded, resilient foodshed. Learn more about the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

Become a member – SBCFAN Members are active participants in the Santa Barbara County food system. They eat, grow, gather, buy, sell, ship, process, raise, fish, and engage with food as it moves from farm to table. The Network provides members with an online “hub” to further connectalign, and activate with other food system “actors” so that together, we can build a more resilient food system.

WHY SBCFAN MATTERS

Food is such a basic human need, and yet we take for granted that it will always be in abundance. We have no guarantee of this, even with our region’s year-round growing seasons and deep agricultural history. The past is becoming a less and less reliable map for the future, particularly when it comes to a stable climate and other natural resources. Over the next 25 years, population growth in the county is expected to increase by 100,000 people, which means more pressure on water supply, agricultural lands, open spaces, transportation corridors and waste processing facilities. Our region is also faced with a multi-year drought, pressure to develop agricultural lands, significant amounts of food waste, and other threats to the long-term sustainability of our foodshed.

HISTORY

In recognition of both these challenges and opportunities, CEC launched a strategy-based community process in 2014 that ultimately created a blueprint for an accessible, thriving, sustainable, and healthy food system. Over the course of 14 months, we listened to concerns from the community, facilitated dialogue among key stakeholders and organizations, identified opportunities for collaboration, and designated opportunities for shared investment and community impact. In addition to developing the plan itself, this effort has created a network, and encouraged investment in implementing the strategies that emerged, as seen in other communities.

The Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan was released in 2016 and addresses every aspect of the food system – production, processing, distribution, access, and waste management – in a way that supports healthy people, a healthy economy, and a healthy environment. It is a culmination of 1,200 volunteer hours by over 200 community members guided by working groups and the Advisory Committee. The Community Environmental Council and Foodbank of Santa Barbara County spearheaded the project, in partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation’s LEAF Initiative (Landscape, Ecosystems, Agriculture, Food Systems) and the Orfalea Foundation. This 100-page plan includes 16 goals and 55 strategies for meeting them. To make our food system more resilient for future generations, the plan calls upon us to: invest in our food economy, invest in our health and wellness, invest in our community, and invest in our foodshed. Several of these strategies are of particular interest to CEC’s efforts on climate, and we are already lining up projects on carbon farming and food waste reduction.

Formed in 2019, SBCFAN supports efforts to advance goals of the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan by facilitating and empowering cross-sector collaborations, supporting food system projects, providing access to resources, and hosting public workshops and events. Learn more.

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