Building Local Food Networks
Creating change at the community level needs to be a collaborative effort.
Working with Legacy Works Group and Santa Barbara Food Action Plan team, together we found ways to form the Cuyama Valley Food Action Task Force. The aim of this task force is to identify food-related projects that advance community goals and build collaborative capacity and trust. This work utilized the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan as a blueprint, and in September 2017, we held meetings with this diverse taskforce to discuss our community food action strategy.
From that process, we identified the following top two priorities that we aim to address through our work:
The need to invest in the youth of the community, especially through education.
The need for families to have better access to healthy food.
Small Farmers and Ranchers Gatherings
We’re committed to finding ways to strengthen what exists in the Cuyama Valley.
With the Small Farmers and Ranchers Gatherings, we facilitate producer network-building and knowledge sharing to problem-solve and celebrate together. Having a space to invite folks to speak to their collective years of knowledge is a valuable way to mitigate the conditions of a food desert in a localized way. After our first gathering in 2018, some farmers made initial connections with Valley restaurant owners to take a step into being more locally sourced. At our 2019 event, we had a larger outcome of 40 participants and scaled this event to host resource providers like Tehachapi Heritage Grain Project, National Resource Conservation District, Community Environmental Council, Small Business Association, and White Buffalo Land Trust to present on case studies, assistance programs, and best practices.