Major Community-led Effort Aims to Make Our Food System More Resilient For Future Generations
Santa Barbara County, CA, May 24, 2016 – Today, Supervisors Salud Carbajal and Steve Lavagnino will join community leaders throughout the county for the unveiling of the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan. The Food Action Plan is the result of a two-year, broad and diverse community effort to examine the opportunities and challenges of the region’s food system – which includes the growing, harvesting, processing, packing, transporting, selling and eating of food as well as the disposing of food waste. To make our food system more resilient for future generations, the plan calls upon our community to: invest in our food economy, invest in our health and wellness, invest in our community and invest in our foodshed.
“Our food system is essential to the public health, economic vitality and environmental resilience of Santa Barbara County. However, many challenges need to be addressed including the assurance that everyone has access to sufficient nutritious food that will keep local families healthy and food secure. Fortunately, there are opportunities to strengthen our food system so that it is more accessible and sustainable,” said Supervisors Carbajal and Lavagnino as co-chairs of the Advisory Committee of the Food Action Plan.
The Food Action Plan is a culmination of 1200 volunteer hours by over 200 community members guided by working groups and the advisory committee. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and the Community Environmental Council spearheaded the project, in partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Orfalea Foundation.
“The importance and complexity of our food system require each of us to be invested in a better future — a future that no longer divides us by north and south, red and blue, or farmer and consumer. But one where we are all conscious of what we eat, where it comes from, and the impact that our choices have on our health and the environment. The Food Action Plan is the common ground from which we can continue to learn from each other and work together to build a more prosperous and resilient community,” said Ron Gallo, President & CEO, Santa Barbara Foundation.
The Food Action Plan will be released today at two public events; the first at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria and the second at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Those speaking to the merits of the plan include Santa Barbara Foundation President/CEO Ron Gallo, Community Environmental Council CEO/Executive Director Sigrid Wright, Foodbank of SB County CEO Erik Talkin, President and Superintendent of Allan Hancock College Dr. Kevin Walthers, Allan Hancock student Nelly Guerra, and Santa Barbara City College Dean of Health and Human Services, Dr. Alan Price.
“This process is all about three of my favorite things: good food, decisive action to increase nutritional health and a plan to make it all happen. It is an opportunity for our county to maximize the sustainable use of its incredible food resources to build the health, economic and environmental wellbeing of everyone who lives here. The plan is not designed to sit on a shelf but to serve as a living, growing, rallying point for us all to make it happen,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
“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,” said Sigrid Wright, Executive Director and CEO of the Community Environmental Council.
Press release written by Kerry Allen of Santa Barbara Studios.