Member Newsletter

Summer 2021
ABOVE/CREDIT: Dare 2 Dream Farms.

Dear Friend,

Summer is in full swing across our food system – stone fruit, tomatoes, summer squash, fresh beans, and corn are abundantly available at farmers markets and farm stands across the County. As you'll read in our Mid-County Community Profile, many local ranchers, fishermen, chefs, home cooks, and gardeners are preserving the harvest to cultivate food sovereignty, curb food waste, promote food access and food security, and ultimately build resilience into the food system.

With all of this abundance, it's sometimes easy to forget that our region – and much of the West – is dealing with the ongoing threats of drought, wildfires, and other climate impacts that threaten our food supply and the sustainability of our food system. If your farm or business has been impacted and/or you have a plan for building resilience to these threats into your current operations, there are federal dollars being released by the Biden Administration through a series of grant opportunities. See below for this and other upcoming grant deadlines – and become a member today to stay updated on future opportunities. As we build our Network, SBCFAN strives to be the countywide resource for connecting and aligning food system actors like you, providing a pathway to activation so that together, we can build a stronger, more resilient food system.

Eat well,
Shakira Miracle, Executive Director
Santa Barbara County Food Action Network

P.S. As we assess our priorities for 2022, SBCFAN wants to know what needs are most critical for you. Please take a moment to fill out the survey at the bottom of this newsletter.

Become an SBCFAN member today.

Community Profile

Mid-Santa Barbara County

Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office Tribal Nursery. Photo by Andrew Hill
Encompassing Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Solvang, Buellton, Los Alamos, and Lompoc, Mid-Santa Barbara County is steeped in food history. The Chumash people – the original stewards of this land – were hunters, gatherers, and fishermen. Their land extends well beyond this region, but the federal government of what is now known as the United States separated their people into reservations. The Chumash Band of Mission Indians are the tribe that live in this region today. They tended plants that were native to the area for traditional food, medicine, and fiber – and many of these natives are still being cultivated to ensure their preservation. When European settlers arrived in the late 1700s, ranches and farms were established and agriculture took hold. Dry bean and seed farming were especially popular and helped establish Lompoc Valley as the Flower Seed Capital of the World. The first commercial vineyard was established in the 1960s – since then, the landscape has become a mix of farmland, rolling vineyards, and ranches.

Because Mid-Santa Barbara County is so rich in agricultural products, it is no surprise that food preservation has become a popular way to conserve and hold onto the harvest all year long. There are many food system actors in this region – farmers, ranchers, fishermen, chefs, home cooks, and gardeners – who are connecting and aligning around the theme of preservation to cultivate food sovereignty, curb food waste and close the food system loop, promote food access and food security, and ultimately build resilience into the food system.

Read more >

SBCFAN Storytelling Video

By cultivating culturally relevant native plants for traditional food, medicine, and fiber, the Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office is expanding food access and food security – and securing food sovereignty for future generations of Chumash Indians. Click above to watch this SBCFAN storytelling video and visit our website to learn more about the Tribal Nursery.

SBCFAN storytelling videos are produced by Mercury Press International.

Funding opportunities

Action for Healthy Kids (AHFK) Grants
Open until August 15, 2021
Who should apply: school district
AFHK’s 21-22 District Partnership Grants provide financial and in-kind support to school districts to support post-COVID social-emotional health, nutrition and physical activity needs by bringing districts, schools and families together to address critical student needs. Learn more and apply.

Santa Barbara Foundation Food Program Area Grant
Open until August 16, 2021
Who should apply: organizations serving Santa Barbara County
Grants will be available to nonprofit organizations directly providing programs that are addressing food insecurity. Funding can be used for operating expenses and/or costs related to sustaining or expanding service delivery programs to meet demonstrated demand. Learn more and apply.

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) Research Grants
Open until August 20, 2021
Who should apply: farmers, ranchers, and early career researchers
OFRF offers funding for research on organic production systems and the dissemination of these research results to organic farmers and agricultural and research communities. BIPOC applicants encouraged. Learn more and apply.

SNAP Online Purchasing for Farmers and Farmers' Markets
Open until August 23, 2021
Who should apply: nonprofit entities
The USDA Food and Nutrition Science Program is making available $4 million to be used over a maximum of four (4) years for award as cooperative agreement(s) with up to five non-profit organizations (eligible entities) to build out functionality, and provide assistance to Direct Marketing Farmers and Farmers' Markets (DMFs/FMs) to accept SNAP benefits through online transactions. This solicitation is contingent upon the availability of funds. Learn more and apply.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2501 Program
Open until August 25, 2021
Who should apply: nonprofit organizations, higher ed institutions, tribal entities
The USDA is making available $16.6 million to help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is available through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). Learn more and apply.

SBCFAN members can review all food system opportunities in the Member Portal on the Classified Advertisements page. If you're not yet a member, become one today.

USDA seeks public comment

Deadline extended to August 14, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on identifying barriers in USDA programs and services to advance racial justice and equity for underserved communities as part of President Biden’s Executive Order implementation.

Submit comments by August 14, 2021 through the Request for Information (RFI). Note that the revised due date is published in the Federal Register.
The County of Santa Barbara is developing the 2030 Climate Action Plan (CAP) to reduce community carbon emissions 50% by 2030. Agriculture leadership and solutions are necessary to meet this ambitious goal. Please consider participating in the roundtable to learn about the CAP and represent agriculture industry solutions, interests, and needs. Learn more and register.

Land preservation resources

According to American Farmland Trust (AFT), "Without farmland and ranchland, we can't win the global fight against climate change. Our food, our water, our environment, our survival – it all depends on American agricultural land." That's why SBCFAN is looking for every opportunity to protect existing and potential farm and ranch land (Food Action Plan goal 14). Check out these land preservation resources:

  • AFT is empowering women farmers and landowners to protect their land and embrace conservation. Learn more.
  • AFT's Farmland Information Center is the largest online collection of information on farm and ranch land protection and stewardship. Learn more.
  • The National Agricultural Land Network is an online community platform designed to grow the capacity and momentum needed to elevate the cause of agricultural land protection across America. Learn more.

What are your critical needs?

As we assess our priorities for 2022, SBCFAN wants to know what needs are most critical for you, your farm, your business, and/or your community. Examples may include: funding, advocacy, coordination, land, water, equipment.

Provide feedback.
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