Cuyama Valley Food Action Plan

Blue Sky Center’s pilot community food programming is generously made possible through the Santa Barbara Foundation’s LEAF grant funding. Beginning in April and running through July, Blue Sky will host a series of culinary workshops at Cuyama Kitchen, Blue Sky’s mobile community catering trailer, to engage community members around a shared table. Using food as a vehicle to build local capacity, these programs will provide a space for storytelling, celebrate cultural heritage, support local businesses and entrepreneurs, promote healthy eating, and help to understand dryland environments. These exciting opportunities range from a sourdough bread making workshop for women in the Cuyama Valley, to an intergenerational cactus planting workshop and grilled cactus community dinner, to an heirloom corn workshop centered around storytelling at the Cuyama 4th of July celebration.

To support food programming, Blue Sky Center has hired consultant Jensen Lorenzen to create a business plan for Cuyama Kitchen, assist in building local culinary partnerships, and develop a model for potential impact investments around food and agriculture initiatives in the Cuyama Valley.


Meet Our Collaborators!


Jensen Lorenzen was raised on the Central Coast of California. An avid outdoorsman, he grew up hunting, fishing, backpacking, and traveling. An intimate respect for nature has always been a driving force in Jensen’s life. As a chef, Jensen has become close friends with farmers, ranchers, foragers, cheese makers, vintners and brewers. Working as a part of the local food community has given him a close connection with locally harvested and seasonal foods. He believes that cuisine should be a refection of a region, as such, sustainably harvested ingredients and thoughtfully sourced products are the heartbeat of all of his menus.


Julia Georgallis is a Londoner with a weakness for baked goods who worked as an industrial designer for four years. A few years ago, she swapped her design job for an apron and learnt how to make bread. She has run a great many workshops all over the place, from Sweden to Stroud, from council estates to glampsites. She has been involved with Better Health Bakery, which offers training for adults recovering from mental illness since 2014 and is also head chef for the Designers on Holiday project when she is not running The Bread Companion.


Leyna Lightman pursues independent projects in Los Angeles and partners with entities like The Getty Museum, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Big City Forum, Community Arts Resources, Palm Springs Art Museum, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, non-pro t organizations, brilliant local artists and more. Sustainable food systems are an area of great passion and concern for Leyna and she has deep, meaningful ties to a wide swath of farmers and food producers in California. Most of Leyna’s programs are co-created with communities and stakeholders and include themes like transit, the human senses, the natural world, food, and social justice.


desert ArtLAB established in 2010, is an interdisciplinary artist collaborative dedicated to an experimental public art practice exploring connections between ecology, art and community. Their work gives voice and identi es complex political and social dilemmas that reveal themselves in our constructed environments through projects that activate public space, promote ecological restoration, indigenous foodways, and a new understanding of living in dryland environments.

April Bojorquez is an independent curator and artist based in the Bay Area and southern Colorado. Working within the intersection of art and anthropology, Bojorquez employs diverse strategies to produce immersive and interactive environments exploring place, identity and museum practices. She is fellow of the Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Museum Studies Program.

Matt Garcia’s artistic practice investigates ecology, its relationship to knowledge systems and how media can connect communities to a reclaiming or re-imagining of lost epistemology. Garcia is currently an assistant professor of Art and Design at Dominican University of California.