Racism and Capitalism: Systems of Exploitation in a “Broken” Food System

Report on discussions at Project New Village's recent event, “Seeking and Securing Food Justice: Uprooting Racism and Rebuilding Community” 

Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor in the Department of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach  (Image borrowed from the LA County African American Employees Association)

Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor in the Department of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach  (Image borrowed from the LA County African American Employees Association)

We hear about it all the time-- “the U.S. food system is broken.” Government-subsidized industrially grown and processed foods are wreaking havoc on our health as a nation. Low-income people of color are disproportionately affected by diet-related illnesses and food insecurity. These disconcerting facts beg the question: why are racial inequities and power disparities endemic to our food system? And what can we do to change this?

As part of its Food Justice Legacy Lecture Series, Project New Village recently hosted a talk titled “Seeking and Securing Food Justice: Uprooting Racism and Rebuilding Community.” Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair, Department of Africana Studies at Cal State Long Beach, delivered the keynote address. An activist scholar and key contributor in the Black Power Movement, Dr. Karenga is the creator of the Nguzo Saba and Kwanzaa. “Kwanzaa is as old as agriculture,” he says. “It is intimately concerned with the production, harvesting, and especially the sharing of food. It is about giving thanks for the harvest and recommitting to protecting and caring for the Earth.”

A Kwanzaa table arrangement includes fruits and vegetables, ears of corn, a mat, the unity cup, gifts, candles, and a kinara (Image borrowed from the Official Kwanzaa Website)

A Kwanzaa table arrangement includes fruits and vegetables, ears of corn, a mat, the unity cup, gifts, candles, and a kinara (Image borrowed from the Official Kwanzaa Website)

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa has seven core principles, the first of which is Umoja, the Swahili word for unity. The other six principles include Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).  The kinara, or candleholder, contains 7 candles to represent the Seven Principals.

Forms of Systemic Subjugation

These fundamental principles are in direct opposition to what Dr. Karenga recognizes as two overarching systems of domination in our society-- capitalism and racism. Capitalism is based on private ownership of the means of production and the pursuit of profit. Racism is the institutionalization of prejudice and hostility directed towards an ethnic group; according to Dr. Karenga, it is a form of “socially and legally sanctioned hatred.” Race was first conceived at the dawn of the colonial era, used as a social biological category to assign human worth and social status, with whiteness serving as a model.

Historically, racism has been used by people of European descent to justify their mistreatment of non-white skinned peoples. When Europeans arrived to the Americas, they decimated the Native Americans whom they considered to be primitives. Likewise, when the North Atlantic slave trade began in the 16th century, pseudo-scientific claims emerged that classified Africans as subhuman. In both circumstances, land and labor were central to the socially constructed concept of “race.” 

Racism and capitalism are both systems that rely on oppression, exploitation, and degradation to function. Exploited migrant workers are a primary example of this intersection. It is the nature of capitalism to prey on vulnerable labor in order to reduce costs. This issue is exacerbated by policies and practices that undervalue the lives of immigrants and people of color. 

Public Policy and Food Justice 

As food justice advocates, we need to be aware of the interlinkages between racism and capitalism and scrutinize policies that prioritize profits over people. Often those most negatively affected by U.S. food policy are dark skinned people abroad. For example, U.S. corn exports to the south of Mexico have created strife among peoples that have cultivated native varieties of maíz for thousands of years. Haiti, a long-standing food insecure nation, is one of the largest markets for United States-grown rice. Neoliberal policies have systematically reshaped cultural and economic landscapes, sacrificing traditional livelihoods for the economic gain of those in power.  

project new village's Good Food District inspires collective agency and promotes food security at a neighborhood level. Urban agriculture in the Southeast San Diego community of Mt. Hope is helping increase access to healthy food.

project new village's Good Food District inspires collective agency and promotes food security at a neighborhood level. Urban agriculture in the Southeast San Diego community of Mt. Hope is helping increase access to healthy food.

It is critical that we unveil the roles that capitalism and racism have played and continue to play in our food system, so that we can pursue solutions that depart from these paradigms. In his book A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism, author Eric Holt-Giménez puts it this way: “Calls to ‘fix a broken food system’ assume that the capitalist food system used to work well. This assumption ignores the food system’s long, racialized history of mistreatment of people of color. The food system is unjust and unsustainable, but it is not broken. It functions precisely as the capitalist food system has always worked, concentrating power in the hands of the privileged minority and passing off the social and environmental ‘externalities’ disproportionately to racially stigmatized groups” (160).
Poverty is intimately correlated with food insecurity. African Americans and latinos living in the United States are more than twice as likely as caucasians to be food insecure. Furthermore, of farmworkers and food workers in the U.S., an overwhelming majority are people of color receiving poverty wages. In order to remediate these glaring inequities, we must first address their root cause: embedded racism and a capitalist food system.

Dr. Karenga gives us some suggestions for how to confront this system. “There is no substitute for an aware, organized, and engaged people constantly involved in a multiplicity of activities to define, defend, and advance their interests,” he says. Social justice activists must identify a  framework for their resistance. Effective resistance movements share the following attributes: a clear ideology, a structure (flexible, democratic, and respectful), communication among participants, and access to resources. 

Ultimately, Dr. Karenga calls us to embody the first principal of Kwanzaa-- Umoja, or unity. There is power in numbers, and there is wisdom in perspectives. People of color, regardless of ethnic or national background, must stand united as agents for change. And together, people of color and caucasians must collaborate to combat systemic inequities and to establish non-exploitative and life-affirming foodways.

By Livvy Stanforth, Intern

Regenerative Earth Summit: Food + Climate + Culture


As an intern with the San Diego Food System Alliance, I recently had the opportunity to attend the Regenerative Earth Summit in Boulder, Colorado. The event was a convening of farmers, academics, business leaders, and food system advocates, all of whom share a common goal: to improve soil health and mitigate climate change through the widespread adoption of regenerative farming practices. 

The conference began on Monday morning with a powerful presentation by Hazel Henderson, a consultant on equitable ecologically sustainable human development and socially responsible business and investment. The premise of her talk was that stress is evolution’s tool, and systemic breakdowns drive breakthroughs. Thus, the degradation of the world’s soils provides us with a massive opportunity to shift towards a regenerative paradigm, an economic system that considers the health of natural resources (water, soil, ecosystems) and human beings.

Building the Path to Regenerative Farming

The fundamental question, which we grappled with throughout the conference, is: how do we build a marketplace that supports regenerative farming? Subsidized monoculture farms and the overuse of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers have resulted in an unprecedented low cost of food. Yet the consequences of producing food in this manner threaten our existence as a species. Current rates of soil degradation suggest that we have only 60 harvests left; in other words, conventional agriculture is stripping away the topsoil, and we have approximately six decades to reverse this trend.

A panel of business leaders in the organics industry discussed the best way to scale regenerative agriculture. They agreed that education and transparency are critical on all levels of the supply chain, and that we need better systems to aggregate data to demonstrate the viability of regenerative practices.

But what exactly is regenerative agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture requires a shift of thinking—from “doing less harm” to actively improving systems.

Image: Terra Genesis International

Image: Terra Genesis International

Currently a Regenerative Organic Certification is being developed which evaluates the three pillars: soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. To obtain the Regenerative Organic Certification Label, a product must meet up to 20 criteria, some of which include no/low tillage, use of cover crops and crop rotations, pasture-raised animals, and living wages for farm workers.

A reoccurring theme throughout the conference was the controversial nature of the label. Some claimed that a “beyond organic” label is necessary to prevent greenwashing and facilitate authentic socially and ecologically-conscious purchasing practices. Others held the viewpoint that another label would be confusing to consumers and subject to being watered down over time. They cited the Organic label as an example; organic farming was once a cutting-edge philosophy, but now “industrially grown” organics make up a huge share of the market.

These differences aside, everyone involved in the regenerative agriculture movement can agree on its enormous potential for combatting climate change and increasing global food security.

Crowd-sourcing ideas for a better food future.

Crowd-sourcing ideas for a better food future.

Regenerative Business

Gregory Landua of Terra Genesis International, an international regenerative design consultancy, helped us navigate the topic of regenerative supply webs. Making a large scale global shift for regenerative agriculture will require us to transition from monoculture farms and supply chains to what Gregory calls “biodiverse supply webs.” Businesses can add value to their products and generate eco-social benefits by purchasing ingredients from farmers that are enhancing local landscapes through carbon sequestration, soil building, and crop diversification.

Policy for Supporting Carbon Farming

Although it is essential for the business community to commit to ethical and ecological sourcing, the public is equally responsible for reaching out to their elected representatives.  Soil has large traction on each end of the political spectrum. While organic farming traditionally appeals to the left, republicans view agriculture as a potential vehicle for rural development.

Soil health is not yet a politicized issue. In order to engage a broad political audience, those of us involved in the regenerative movement must be conscious of how we frame it; though it is indeed about climate, water quality, and public health, it is also a rural farmer’s issue, endemic to who we are as Americans.

In terms of practical solutions, at the state level, we can work to ratify soil health as part of economic policy. Overturning Citizens’ United and reforming campaign finance policy will also be an essential step. As a grassroots movement, we must actively participate in the political process to demand structural change from politicians at local, state, and federal levels.

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Final Thoughts

The Regenerative Earth Summit was at once overwhelming and inspiring. Though the problems we face are massive, I believe the regenerative agriculture movement is unequivocally capable of tackling them head on. The passion, energy, willingness, and creativity present in the conference room was unparalleled, and it filled me with tremendous hope and gratitude. The soil under our feet is literally the common ground we all share. It has the profound capacity to transcend political polarization and guide us toward a better world. In our collective effort to revitalize the soil, we can simultaneously build a food system that prioritizes farmers and rural communities, nutrient-dense food, and a livable climate for all. 

By Livvy Stanforth, Intern

Chilling for Good---Cold Storage Mini-Grant Awards!

Chilling for Good --- Cold Storage Mini-Grant Awards!

San Diego Food System Alliance is pleased announce that five local food recovery agencies have been selected as Cold Storage Mini-Grant Awardees: Vista Community Clinic, Community Resource Center, Heaven’s Windows, Wesley Community Services Center, and Catholic Charities (College area).

This project is being implemented through a partnership with San Diego Food Bank, Feeding San Diego, and Superfood Drive, with generous funding by an anonymous donor of the San Diego Foundation.

Mini Grant support logos.png

Each of these five agency awardees will receive a two-door glass-front refrigeration unit (50 cubic foot capacity, 32”x50” footprint, such as the Everest Refrigeration Model No. EMGR48 or EBGR2) in order to increase recovery of fresh foods and produce, avoid landfilling of wholesome, edible foods, and increase food distribution programs for those in need.

Each agency will submit a short narrative with photographs within 6 months of receipt, demonstrating how this capacity building support helped with their food rescue and program efforts. We look forward to sharing these success stories and lessons learned.

Awardee Highlights:

Vista Community Clinic (VCC) currently serves a diverse population of low income families in North County San Diego, currently serving 180 people per month in three programs: The Dad’s Club, Youth Development, and the First 5 Steps program. With the addition of this refrigeration unit VCC will be able to become a fresh rescue partner, feed more families, and reduce food waste. This is in alignment with their efforts to promote healthy living and eating across all of their programming.  

Community Resource Center (CRC) is a current fresh rescue partner with the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego, serving 1400 people per month, including homeless and families. CRC sees a current unmet need for food in the north coastal community it serves and will be able to increase fresh food recovery from additional grocery stores with the new refrigeration unit, allowing them to serve the needs of additional people in their community.

Heaven’s Windows is a current fresh rescue partner with the San Diego Food Bank, and has recently moved into a new space in east San Diego County---into what is referred to as a food desert for fresh fruit and vegetables. They see increased demand in their new space and look to provide more fresh and wholesome foods to the community beyond the current 60-80 families per day, 300 families per month, and 60 prepared meals to seniors with the addition of this new refrigeration unit.

Wesley Community Services Center has a growing food rescue program with a stated aim to “aid the low and moderate-income people” within their community. They operate a Tuesday/Wednesday food pantry, serving 150 – 200 community members, and hot meals for seniors and families on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. They are a current fresh rescue partner, but will be able to expand recovery and distribution of fresh food with the addition of this cold storage refrigeration unit.

Catholic Charities (College area) is a designated emergency food provider by the San Diego Food Bank and 211, is open 5 days per week, and provides food to over 800 households monthly. With the addition of this commercial refrigeration unit, Catholic Charities will be better equipped to handle the 1000+ pounds of food donated to the center each week, and will be able to recover and serve more fresh and wholesome food as a fresh rescue partner with the San Diego Food Bank.

Post by Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives


Fall Grower Highlight: Solutions Farms of Solutions for Change

There is very little that is typical or standard about Solutions Farms. While every farm is different in its resources, methods, and products, Solutions Farms exists in a classification of its own by virtue of what it seeks to accomplish.


Solutions for Change is a nonprofit organization based in North San Diego County and created in 1999 with a single goal: solve family homelessness - one family one community at a time. Founded by Chris and Tammy Megison - creators of the successful North County Times Hawker program (the guys you see selling newspapers at traffic intersections) - Solutions for Change seeks a permanent end to homelessness for families through an intensive 1,000-day college like program.

The organization’s website, www.solutionsforchange.org, summarizes the Megison’s strategy to solve family homelessness. “The vision was different in that it did not include more shelter beds, feeding programs or traditional human services, but rather an audacious plan to create access to permanent solutions using a hybrid model that the couple developed. All the parents being helped would work, pay rent, attend onsite workshops and classes and be engaged in a dynamic coaching system. The model, now known as the Solutions University, blends affordable housing, educational opportunities, employment training and health related solutions all within one cohesive strategic partnership. There is but one goal: work with this community to solve family homelessness for kids and communities, permanently.” Solutions for Change reports solving homelessness for over 800 families and 2,000 children over the last 17 years.

Solutions for Change acquired two acres in Vista, the site of a former nursery, and in 2012 renovated the property and greenhouses. They built a 7,000 square foot greenhouse aquaponics farm that produces both tilapia fish and leafy greens and herbs in a closed loop system. Fish culture is used to provide nutrients to the plants which filter the water and culture solution and send clean water back to the fish. Tilapia fish are typically grown in aquaponics systems because they are hardy, fast growing, there is an established market for them, and they can tolerate water conditions that many other fish types cannot. The farm is certified organic and grows its plants in coconut coir fiber and worm castings.

Produce from the farm is sold to local schools, restaurants, and markets, and all revenue is reinvested into programs operated by Solutions for Change.


In 2015 Solutions for Change was awarded a grant from Alliance Healthcare Foundation which helped fund an expansion which tripled the farm’s production footprint from 7,000 to 25,000 square feet, and made Solutions Farms the largest operating aquaponics farm in California. The farm can produce up to 3,500 pounds of lettuce a week, and up to nine tons of fish a year.

Solutions Farms is a key component of Solutions University providing employment training to previously homeless parents in the program. “The farm acts as part of the employment related training portion of that 1,000 days. The residents can come and work and screw up and mess up and learn the job skills they need to be successful going forward in their future,” says Kevin Gorham, the farm’s production manager.

About the farm, Solutions founder Tammy Megison writes, “Solutions Farms’ most important output will be neither its produce nor its fish. This is, first and foremost, a social enterprise venture that combines job training, general education, and entrepreneurship for the benefit of Solutions’ families and the community. Solutions Farms will be an in-house platform that provides Solutions families an opportunity to acquire marketable, higher-wage skills running the gamut from technology to accounting, and marketing to sales.”


Solutions Farms celebrated the full completion of their greenhouse expansion project with a grand opening in March 2017, and is now offering tours of the farm early in the year. For more information about the farm and Solutions for Change visit www.SolutionsforChange.org.

San Diego’s Fishing Heritage: A Story of Innovation, Resilience, and Cultural Diversity

San Diego fishermen using the pole-and-line method to catch tuna. Image: San Diego History Center

San Diego fishermen using the pole-and-line method to catch tuna. Image: San Diego History Center

Before the arrival of Europeans

Fishing in the region now known as San Diego dates back thousands of years. The Kumeyaay Indians who inhabited San Diego County long before the arrival of Europeans were skilled at harvesting food from the bays and ocean. They employed arrows, spears, and nets to catch over 45 varieties of fish and 60 varieties of shellfish.

In 1778, the Kumeyaay offered fish (albeit less desirable species) to Spanish colonists at the Mission and Presidio. According to Richard Carrico, Professor in the American Indian Studies department at San Diego State University, for a given period of time, these acts of charity may have helped the Spanish settlers survive. Unfortunately, by the late 19th century, the Kumeyaay had been almost entirely displaced from the coasts as a result of pressure from the Spanish and an influx of Chinese immigrants.

The beginning of an industry

These pioneers from the East were met with racism and hostility and were largely excluded from economic opportunities. Fishing presented itself as one of the few industries where competition was not a barrier to entry. Because of their relatively low population and the absence of a strong fishing economy, San Diegans were not threatened by Chinese dominance of the industry and their benefit from San Diego’s rich coastal resources.

Chinese fishermen began to export dried fish and abalone, selling the remaining abalone shells to local jewelry-makers. However, the Chinese fishing fleet drastically reduced starting in 1885 and fishermen could not withstand newly implemented regulations on abalone and shrimp exports. Portuguese fishermen who had been fishing for tuna since 1880 subsequently moved into the abandoned settlements of the Chinese fishermen.

In the late 19th century, California received a wave of European immigrants, including Italians from maritime backgrounds. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, a number of Italian fishermen resettled in San Diego, bringing their boats and gear along with them. Within a short period of time, the San Diego fishing industry had exceeded market demand, and it was clear that expanding the infrastructure of the cannery would be the only way to efficiently access markets nationwide.


San Diego’s first cannery opened on San Diego Bay in 1909, designated specifically for sardines. During a lull in the sardine fishery,  Albert Halfhill began experimenting with canning albacore in San Pedro, California. He marketed his “white meat” albacore tuna as “chicken of the sea,” and it soon became widely popular throughout the United States. In 1911, San Diego opened up its first tuna cannery, and in the ensuing half-century, the city would earn its title as the “Tuna Capital of the World.” By the 1960s, San Diego’s third-largest industry would be tuna, preceded only by the Navy and aerospace. Catching, canning, and marketing of tuna would employ up to 40,000 San Diegans.

Van Camp Seafood Cannery employee holding a tuna, 1931. Image: San Diego History Center

Van Camp Seafood Cannery employee holding a tuna, 1931. Image: San Diego History Center

Throughout this development, a new immigrant population of fishermen had come on the scene: the Japanese. In 1913 a group of Japanese fishermen settled 300 miles south of San Diego in Magdalena Bay and Turtle Bay. They introduced long, flexible, and exceptionally durable bamboo poles which would soon revolutionize the American tuna industry. This pole-and-line technique was preferred by canneries because it could pierce the tuna without damaging the meat. Some of these fishermen migrated north, and by 1923 Japanese fishermen made up 50% of San Diego crews.

When the United States entered World War II, many Americans relied on tuna to supplement food rations. Tuna sandwiches became a staple in the American diet, as the fish was relatively cheap and a good source of protein. The Japanese (ironically, some of whom were tuna fishermen) faced racism and persecution during this time period. Japanese fishermen who crossed into international waters were not permitted to return to the United States. Like other Japanese-American citizens, Japanese-American fishermen and their families were rounded up and relocated to internment camps.

San Diego’s Italian community was also affected by wartime policies, though they fared far better than American citizens of Japanese descent. Kettner Boulevard, which runs through Little Italy and Downtown, became a line of demarcation during World War II. Italians who did not have citizenship status could not cross west of Kettner. This meant that Italian fishermen who were not American citizens had to find new livelihoods until the end of the war in 1945.

Changes to fishing in the mid-twentieth century

Post-World War II denotes the era of mechanization in fishing. The technological shift was a response to a changing biological, economic, and geopolitical landscape. Fishermen were witnessing the depletion of some fish stocks, and the industry was threatened by cheap imports. Furthermore, Latin American countries imposed new laws that restricted foreigners from fishing there. This was a hard blow to San Diego tuna fishermen who caught the majority of their baitfish off Latin American coastlines.

Starting in the 1950s, nets replaced poles for catching tuna. Image: San Diego History Center

Starting in the 1950s, nets replaced poles for catching tuna. Image: San Diego History Center

In the late 1950s, San Diego fishermen began to convert their boats to seiners with large nets that could effectively capture large schools of tuna. This reduced the pressure of international competition and eliminated the need for foreign-caught baitfish. However, fishermen were now faced with a new challenge: hostile environmental groups who detested the ecological impacts of seiners, namely the untimely deaths of porpoises and dolphins. These marine mammals were frequently caught as bycatch, an inevitable consequence of the new technology.

In 1975, “kill quotas” were introduced, requiring the tuna fleet to minimize bycatch. The industry was further crippled by the movement of canneries overseas, a result of labor costs and foreign competition. By the early 1980s, two of San Diego’s most historic canneries, Bumble Bee Seafoods and the Van Camp Seafood Cannery, had closed their doors.

The legacy continues

Although it reached its peak around the year 1920, the San Diego fishing industry is still very much alive. Today there are roughly 130 active vessels in the San Diego fleet. In 2015, California passed legislation, dubbed “Pacific to Plate,” which allows fishermen to sell their catch directly to the public and to collectively organize a market under a single permit. This policy is a direct result of the lobbying efforts of San Diego fishermen and local seafood advocates passionate about maintaining a thriving local seafood system which benefits both fishing families and consumers.

Today San Diego fishermen are the stewards of our precious marine ecosystem; they adhere to strict national regulations and practice science-based sustainable fisheries management to maintain fish stocks for future generations. A State Apprenticeship Program is currently being developed by the California Sea Grant Extension Program which will provide hands-on training to aspiring commercial fishermen.

San Diego may have once been known as the “Tuna Capital of the World,” but residents can enjoy nearly 60 other species of fish and shellfish that are caught off the county’s coastlines. The Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, selling some of the freshest, tastiest seafood available, serves as both a tribute to our past and a testament to our future. The story of San Diego’s fishing heritage is a story of adaptation, innovation, and resilience. The industry owes a great deal of its success to the rich cultural diversity that has propelled it forward since its inception.

Ultimately, consumer purchasing practices will determine the viability of fishing as a livelihood in San Diego. Those who choose to buy local seafood play an active role in preserving this unique facet of our city’s character. A promising sign for the future can be found in the crowds of people that line up each Saturday morning in front of the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. The local fishing industry may be on the brink of a new era, an era marked by sustainability, traceability, and responsibility. Working together, fishermen and consumers can ensure that San Diego remains a flourishing seafood destination for generations to come.

A Busy saturday morning at tuna harbor dockside market. image: California sea grant

A Busy saturday morning at tuna harbor dockside market. image: California sea grant

Written by Livvy Stanforth, Intern

Food Leaders of the Good Food District- Issue 2: Japanese American Farming Heritage in Southeast San Diego

The Good Food District and Food Heritage

encanto hill brand, label of ito family farming business

encanto hill brand, label of ito family farming business

The Good Food District is a place-making approach which builds upon the assets within the community of Southeast San Diego: vacant lots, food entrepreneurs, residents, and other partners. While building these assets, the goal of the Good Food District is to make healthy food more available in Mount Hope and surrounding neighborhoods in Southeast San Diego, commonly referred to as a “food desert”. The Good Food District takes Project New Village’s Food Justice work to the next level by inspiring collective agency and promoting food security at a neighborhood level (read more on Project New Village vision in Issue 1). Project New Village is partnering with many organizations to make this happen including the Diamond Business Association, housing developers, Kitchens for Good, SDSU Geography Dept, City’s Promise Zone, City Councilmembers, County of San Diego HHSA, County Board of Supervisors, Assemblymembers, UCSD Center for Community Health, San Diego Food System Alliance, and many other partners. For Project New Village and partners, “good food” is food that is sustainable, equitable, healthy, affordable, and accessible for all residents.  

To explore place-making for the Good Food District, Project New Village and partners believe in the importance of examining the history of the foodshed of Southeast San Diego. Southeast San Diego, now considered a “food desert”, was once a farming community operated by Japanese Americans. The property that is now Morse High School was once farmland owned and cultivated by the Ito family. The family grew acres of avocados, squash, string beans, and bell peppers. They were neighbors with four other Japanese families who also farmed. Development pressure and other factors led to the disappearance of Japanese American farmers south of Interstate 8. Furthermore, divestment in communities such as Southeast San Diego led to the emergence of “food deserts”.

We interviewed Robert Ito, the son of Martin Ito (of Encanto Hill Farms), who is now a housing developer with a background in social work and workforce development programs. Mr. Ito has included a space for a community garden in his most recent project, Ouchi Courtyards, an affordable housing complex with 44 units in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Southeast San Diego with a waitlist of over 1600 families.

robert ito of ouchi courtyards (photo: Colin Leibold)

robert ito of ouchi courtyards (photo: Colin Leibold)

Though the development was completed in March of 2017, Mr. Ito has been familiar with the site for decades. It turns out that this exact location, 5003 Imperial Avenue, used to be a nursery owned by his uncle. Ito has deep farming roots in Encanto; his grandfather, a Japanese immigrant, started farming here when he arrived in 1924.

Racism and our Food System: Japanese American Farmers    

According to Mr. Ito, “Most Japanese worked in agriculture because nobody else wanted to do it. There was very little competition.” Even before World War II, there were strained relations between Americans and Japanese immigrants, and racism towards “orientals” was pervasive. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Japanese Americans were forced to sell their businesses, their rights were revoked, and they were relocated to internment camps.

martin ito and family farm in southeast san diego

martin ito and family farm in southeast san diego

After Executive Order 9066 was issued by President Roosevelt on February 19th 1942, the Ito family was sent to Poston, Arizona, one of ten internment camps that uprooted over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. “A lot of it was economics,” says Mr. Ito. “You had a group that was acquiring land and after Pearl Harbor, there was an opportunity to buy their equipment, farms, houses, and to eliminate competition. There was no case of wrongdoing of any Japanese or Japanese American at that time, but that was the excuse used by the government.”

Martin Ito, 24 years old 

Martin Ito, 24 years old 

Despite these injustices, many Japanese Americans went off to war and risked their lives on behalf of the United States. Among them was Mr. Ito’s father, only 24 years old. He returned with a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award granted in the United States. Nonetheless, when he came home, the young man could not get a haircut because the barber didn’t like Japanese individuals.

After the war, Mr. Ito’s father got married and like many other Japanese Americans, he went right back to farming. He farmed the land for nearly 30 more years until he was ready to retire and sold it to a developer. There are no more Japanese American farmers in San Diego County south of Interstate 8. Mr. Ito says that farmland has simply become too valuable, especially land near suburban and urban areas. Farmers were encouraged to sell, and expanses of land that once grew fruits and vegetables became residential neighborhoods and commercial developments.

From a Farming Family to Developing Affordable Housing within the Good Food District

Robert Ito with Ouchi Courtyard community garden (Photo: Colin Leibold)

Robert Ito with Ouchi Courtyard community garden (Photo: Colin Leibold)

Growing up on a farm, there was always things to do. Mr. Ito recalls his father consistently reminding him, “Don’t stand there, do something!” This experience has shaped Mr. Ito’s work ethic, now an affordable housing developer, committed to finding deals to meet the needs of the community. As a developer, Mr. Ito understands that businesses such as grocery stores will not move into a neighborhood without enough "rooftops". For Mr. Ito, affordable housing projects are critical to addressing healthy food access.

In addition to an empty retail space ready to be filled, Ouchi Courtyards also includes a community garden space with grey water and composting systems. Mr. Ito is committed to providing an opportunity for members of the community to learn about gardening and make decisions that can benefit the health of families. He envisions the garden as an educational tool for children to help them learn where their food comes from and to allow them to participate in the whole process of growing food. Mr. Ito hopes that the residents will take ownership of the space provided. “Somebody has to take the lead,” he says, “and I see my role as trying to help facilitate that.”

Mr. Ito’s family history has made him well aware of institutionalized racism and the impacts it can have on both identity and well-being. For this reason, he is sincerely invested in eliminating barriers that may obstruct the vitality of individuals and the community as a whole. Mr. Ito is a critical partner in building a Good Food District in Southeast San Diego, with first-hand account of the decline of farming in the region and uniquely positioned to improve accessibility of healthy food for the community.

Robert Ito in front of Ouchi Courtyards (Photo: Colin Leibold)

Robert Ito in front of Ouchi Courtyards (Photo: Colin Leibold)

How can we support the Good Food District?

1. Volunteer opportunities using your skills and expertise
2. Charitable contributions for Project New Village’s work to build the Good Food District
3. Investment opportunities for food environment changes

Contact: Diane Moss, Managing Director, Project New Village   d.moss28@yahoo.com

Stay tuned for the next issue of Food Leaders of the Good Food District in our next newsletter!

To support the Social Equity Collaborative Fund project, the San Diego Food System Alliance will be documenting the growth and lessons learned from the Good Food District until mid 2019.

Save The Food San Diego Launch!

#SaveTheFood San Diego!

#SaveTheFood San Diego Launch Poster Wall @sdfoodsys  09-26-17

#SaveTheFood San Diego Launch Poster Wall @sdfoodsys 09-26-17

Save The Food San Diego was officially launched with some fanfare at the Food Waste Solution Summit 3 on September 26, 2017. Save The Food San Diego is a county-wide food waste awareness partnership that leverages the national “Save The Food” public service campaign, a partnership between NRDC and the Ad Council.

According to research from ReFed (2016, 21), consumer education campaigns offer the highest ROI for strategies to reduce food waste. So yes, part of Save The Food San Diego is this engaging consumer education campaign, to raise awareness about Food Waste and empower behavior change.

But it is more than that, Save The Food San Diego is also addressing the intersecting issue of hunger. In fact, it was knowledge of the intersecting issues of food waste and hunger, that prompted an anonymous donor of the San Diego Foundation to fund this work.

NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council) and the Ad Council have allowed us to co-brand our campaign as Save The Food San Diego, because although it does include their broad-based consumer education campaign, our initiative also includes developing peer learning networks, and sharing best practice within each industry sector, among both food waste generators and food recovery networks.

According to the latest research by the San Diego Hunger Coalition, 1 in 6 people (16%) and more than 1 in 5 children (22%) in San Diego County are food insecure. This means that they “don’t always have enough food for an active, healthy life” (Hunger Coalition 2017).

And yet, we waste so much food. According to CalRecycle (2016) we generate 6 million tons of food waste per year in CA. Food waste is 18% of what goes into the CA landfills. Food waste is a national issue that affects San Diego County in a distinct manner. Recent California legislation AB 1826 and SB 1383, require less food waste to landfill from businesses and from residents---as well as increased donation of edible food.

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Developing strong, regional peer learning networks is what will really help to build a robust and lasting food waste reduction and recovery network.

This year we’ve been talking with and convening local jurisdictions, food waste generators, and food recovery agencies from across the region. This is new territory for many, and it is important for us to look at the big picture. To understand the mix of food waste generators, regulators, and the food recovery and feeding agencies.

We’ve been casting a wide net this year, to engage an ever growing and diverse group of potential food donor organizations that want to participate in a county-wide consumer education campaign, as well as participate in best practice and case study development and sharing---addressing both food waste source reduction and donation of edible, wholesome food to people.

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Casting that net further, we are also engaging Food Banks (we are fortunate in San Diego County to have two food banks, both of which bring unique talents and resources), Research and Advocacy groups, Food Recovery Agencies (these are the food pantries, shelters and meal providers, churches and other community groups), Added Value processers (who take food that would otherwise go to waste, or is imperfect in some way, and turn it into prepared meals and shelf stable products), Gleaning organizations (who pick produce from home gardens and small orchards, farmers), as well as Community Education and Training organizations.

There are a lot of people coming together in San Diego County to Save The Food!

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With the launch of Save The Food San Diego we are encouraging you, and all of our participants, every one, to message to each our own stakeholders using the creative communication materials at SAVETHEFOOD.com. Using whatever normal channels we use, to communicate both internally and externally.

There are tv and radio ads, posters, food service display items, great community outreach materials, web banners, and lots of social media bits---all free and easy to use!

It’s all available at SaveTheFood.com on the “Share It” tab.

As we go forward into next year...  In addition to the consumer education campaign, we are also encouraging our participants, new and existing, to participate with us in network building and resource sharing, helping us to build out the local story and share best practice.

You can learn more about local efforts and resources at www.sdfsa.org/savethefoodsd/

And we’ll track outcomes:

  • How many organizations are participating?
  • How and where will these organizations share messaging? And how many people will they reach?
  • How many hits to the national SaveTheFood website are coming from San Diego County during our campaign? And what do those number indicate?
  • How many case studies will we collect and share?
  • How many dollars will be saved?
  • How many additional pounds or tons of food waste will be avoided?
  • How many additional pounds or tons of food will be rescued? And how many additional meals will we provided with this rescue?

We want to share the numbers, but we also want to share your stories. Share and check for updates at sdfsa.org/savethefoodsd

After a short Save The Food San Diego launch presentation and a screening of the Save The Food Strawberry Video, we surprised attendees at the Food Waste Solution Summit with---you guessed it---a Save The Food San Diego FlashMob! 

We know how important it is to get the young people involved in K-12 schools and in colleges and universities, demonstrating leadership, inspiring innovation and behavior change. We shared information about the issue of food waste with students from High Tech High Middle North County and Ballet Folklorica Linda Vista---and we taught them a dance routine that worked great with the food-waste themed Global Citizen remake of an Ed Sheeran music video.

#SaveTheFood San Diego Launch FlashMob   09-26-17 @sdfoodsys   #SaveTheFood

#SaveTheFood San Diego Launch FlashMob  09-26-17 @sdfoodsys   #SaveTheFood

#SaveTheFood San Diego FlashMob -  High Tech High Middle North County and Ballet Folklorica Linda Vista 09-26-17

#SaveTheFood San Diego FlashMob - High Tech High Middle North County and Ballet Folklorica Linda Vista 09-26-17

We want people all over San Diego County to think differently about food waste, at home and at work… Individual actions matter. Each of us can have an impact. And together, we can actually make a difference.

Thanks to the Waste Solution Summit 3 planning team and all of our Food Waste Solution Summit 3 attendees  09-26-17 @sdfoodsys

Thanks to the Waste Solution Summit 3 planning team and all of our Food Waste Solution Summit 3 attendees 09-26-17 @sdfoodsys

Post by Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives

2017 EMIES UnWasted Food Awards

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2017 EMIES UnWasted Food Awards

at the Food Waste Solution Summit 3

The 2017 EMIES Unwasted Food Awards honor businesses, organizations, and institutions with exemplary practices around food waste prevention and recovery. The EMIE Awards are designed to honor the legacy of Congressman Bill Emerson, sponsor of the 1996 Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which, in order to encourage food donation, protects donors from liability.

According to the latest research by the San Diego Hunger Coalition, 1 in 6 people (16%) and more than 1 in 5 children (22%) in San Diego County, are food insecure. This means that they “don’t always have enough food for an active, healthy life” (Hunger Coalition 2017).  And yet, we waste so much food. In San Diego, it is estimated that we dispose of 600,000 tons of food to landfill each year.

San Diego Food System Alliance is working collaboratively with state and local government agencies, food establishments, food banks, and food pantries to catalyze efforts to reduce food waste and increase donation. The 2017 EMIE UnWasted Food Awards are an opportunity to honor and share this great work in our region. Details of award winners’ efforts can be found at http://www.sdfsa.org/emies2017

2017 EMIES UnWasted Food Award Winners:

Feeding San Diego Point -- Loma Nazarene University -- Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub and Whet Noodle -- Bradford Airport Logistics

San Diego Unified School District -- San Diego Rescue Mission -- Ramona Unified School District -- City of Chula Vista

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2017 EMIES Distinguished Programs:  

Flagship Facility Services

UC San Diego Health

Heaven's Windows

Crowne Plaza San Diego

Cuyamaca College

San Diego Convention Center

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2017 EMIES Emerging Programs:

Vista Unified School District

BrightSide Produce


Heartfelt Helpings


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2017 EMIES Community Leader:

The 2017 SDFSA Community Leader Award goes to Vince Kasperick for his long commitment to community service, focusing primarily on issues of food and shelter. 

Vince has spent a 30-year professional career in banking and mortgage banking, capped with the founding of AimLoan.com, a national mortgage banking company in 1998.  Over the past 19 years, AimLoan has expanded throughout the country and is regularly ranked one of the top five direct-to-consumer independent mortgage companies in the nation.

For the past 25 years, he has brought a similar energy and vision to San Diego’s nonprofit sector, focusing primarily on issues of food and shelter for the most vulnerable members of the community.   He currently serves on the boards of San Diego Hunger Coalition and Catholic Community Foundation of San Diego, and is on the Advisory Board of the San Diego Food Bank.  He was chairman the board of directors of St. Vincent de Paul Village (Father Joe's Village) from 2007 to 2015, and has also served on the boards of the San Diego Food Bank, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the San Diego Home Loan Counseling Service. 

He is a strong believer in collaboration, a systems approach to problem solving, and collective impact.  Vince helped organize the USD Food Security Systems Collaborative, which from 2012 to 2015 worked with the region’s major food banks and hunger relief agencies to collaborate on improving the county’s food delivery systems. 

His company has conducted 52 community service campaigns, raising more than $1.5 million for worthy local nonprofits.  In 2010, AimLoan founded the San Diego Blues Festival, an annual hunger-awareness event benefiting the San Diego Food Bank.

Find out more information about the 2017 EMIES UnWasted Food Awards and honorees as well as the Food Waste Solution Summit 3 and Save The Food San Diego with the San Diego Food System Alliance. 

The San Diego Food System Alliance is a coalition of organizations and individuals organized to affect positive change in the San Diego County's local food system. Our mission is to develop and maintain an equitable, healthy and sustainable food system for the benefit of all people in San Diego County.

Post by Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives


Community Power: San Diego Restaurants Unite in Support of Local Farms

San Diego’s second Farm to Fork Week kicks off September 9 2017

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SAN DIEGO, CA, August 7 2017 – In the wake of the heartbreaking and shocking closure of Suzie’s Farm in June 2017, there has never been a better time to remind San Diegans of the importance of supporting our local farms. After a successful inaugural celebration in January, Farm to Fork Week returns September 9-17. This week brings together a community of restaurants, farms, wineries and breweries who are small, independent and loyal to local purveyors while also promoting wider awareness of local and sustainable food systems.

“It’s so important to keep providing context and perspective to San Diegans. These local, trusted and talented farmers need and deserve our support,” said Trish Watlington, founder of Farm to Fork Week and owner of The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar and BAR By Red Door. “We want people to know that every time they dine at one of our restaurants, they’re not only getting delicious food, highlighted by the freshest produce available, but also supporting local farmers, the local economy and local families.”

She added, “Suzie’s Farm’s closure is a real community tragedy. Many believed that, because Suzie’s was listed on menus across the county, they were doing fine — no need to focus support on a large, successful farm. Sadly, that wasn’t accurate. When communities come together like this, making noise through unique local dining experiences, we can make a real difference.”

The week commences on Saturday, September 9 at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market with a kick -off event in conjunction with San Diego Food System Alliance, Slow Food San Diego, Edible San Diego and San Diego Markets. From burgers to cupcakes to sushi, all participating restaurateurs will place the spotlight on their local produce suppliers and offer dining discounts, specials or temptingly affordable prix fixe menus throughout the week. For example Chef Miguel Valdez at The Red Door and Chef Coral Strong at Garden Kitchen are both offering three course prix fixe menus for $40. Up in Oceanside Chef Willy Eick at 608 is planning 3 hyper-local courses for $25 and Chef Davin Waite will tantalize your tastebuds with a $30 omakase meal with fish, local vegetables and dessert.

Each restaurant is free to determine its menus and specials for the week-long event. So far participants include:

608 Oceanside

BAR by Red Door


Cardamom Cafe and Bakery

Cupcakes Squared

Franco on Fifth

Garden Kitchen

Hello Betty Fish House

Juniper and Ivy

Little Red Cafe


Terra American Bistro

The Kettle Room by Ballast Point

The Red Door

The Rose Wine Bar

The Whet Noodle

Whisk and Ladle

Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub

This year’s events include:

September 9 – Kick Off Event at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Opening remarks by Farm to Fork Week founder Trish Watlington, local farmers and fishermen and other local officials (TBD). Cooking and Fish breakdown demonstrations with samples. With Slow Food Urban San Diego.

September 10 - Farm Tour and Cooking Class at Dickinson Farm
September 11 - “Shop Talk” – Farmer, Chef, Industry Mixer at BAR by Red Door
September 12 - Oceanside Farm and Happy Hour Tour, Epicurean San Diego
September 14 - North Park Thursday Market Farmer Chat and Chef Demo
September 15 - Good Food Showcase, Coastal Roots Farm, Encinitas
September 15 – Farm Tour, Wild Willow Farm
September 17 – Farm Tour, Sushi Lunch and Fish Breakdown at Cyclops Farms, Oceanside

                           Seven Course Chuparosa Vineyards Wine Dinner at Garden Kitchen, Rolando

It’s Watlington’s goal for San Diego’s Farm to Fork Week to be a semi-annual event. By continuing to partner with local sponsors, she plans to grow the event to include dinners, tours, events, lectures and panel discussions, always ensuring featured participants are truly committed to responsibly sourced cuisine.

For more information, including menus and forthcoming events, visit https://www.farmtoforksd.com/ and please continue to check back as the event draws closer.


For more information on Farm to Fork Week, please contact:
Trish Watlington at The Red Door
trish@thereddoorsd.com / 619 322 8457

About Farm to Fork Week

San Diego Farm to Fork Week is a semi-annual grassroots effort by a community of restaurants, farmers, wineries and breweries who are small, independent and loyal to local purveyors. Their purpose is to back each other in marketing efforts at a time when restaurant sales are generally slow. The key word is community. The purpose of San Diego Farm to Fork Week is to help this restaurant community support each other and local farmers in a way that allows them to magnify their presence and impact with little financial investment.


CDFA Healthy Soils Program 2017 DUE 9/19


Ecology Artisans at Montado Farms

Ecology Artisans at Montado Farms

Release #17-044

SACRAMENTO, August 8, 2017 - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the Healthy Soils Program (HSP). The program, authorized by the Budget Act of 2016, receives funding from California Climate Investments, with proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions targeted to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while providing a variety of additional benefits to California communities.

The HSP has two components: (i) the HSP Incentives Program, and (ii) the HSP Demonstration Projects.

For the HSP Incentives Program, an estimated $3.75 million in competitive grant funding will be awarded to provide financial assistance for implementation of agricultural management practices that sequester soil carbon and reduce GHG emissions. California farmers and ranchers, as well as Federal and California recognized Native American Indian Tribes, are eligible to apply for the HSP Incentives Program.

For the HSP Demonstration Projects, an estimated $3 million in competitive grant funding will be awarded to projects that demonstrate and monitor specific management practices in agriculture that sequester carbon, improve soil health and reduce atmospheric GHGs. Not-for-profit entities, University Cooperative Extensions, Federal and University Experiment Stations, Resource Conservation Districts, Federal and California recognized Native American Indian Tribes, and farmers and ranchers in collaboration with any of the aforementioned entities, are eligible to apply for the HSP Demonstration Projects.

Both the HSP Incentives Program and Demonstration Projects require that incentivized practices be implemented for a total of three years, with the third year of project costs required as matching funds.

For detailed information on eligibility and program requirements, prospective applicants should visit the CDFA Healthy Soils Program website at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/healthysoils/. To streamline and expedite the application process, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, which hosts an online application tool, Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST). All prospective applicants must register for a FAAST account athttps://faast.waterboards.ca.gov. Applications and all supporting information must be submitted electronically using FAAST by September 19, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. PT.

CDFA will hold four workshops and one webinar to provide information on program requirements and the application process (see below). CDFA staff will provide guidance on the application process, provide several examples and answer any questions. There is no cost to attend the workshops. Individuals planning to attend should email grants@cdfa.ca.gov with his or her contact information, number of seats required and the workshop location.

Sacramento – Tuesday, August 15, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: HSP Incentives Program
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: HSP Demonstration Projects
California Department of Food and Agriculture
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
This meeting will also be available as a webinar for remote attendees. To register for the webinar, please visit the program webpage at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/healthysoils/.
Orland – Wednesday, August 16, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: HSP Incentives Program
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: HSP Demonstration Projects
Glenn County Farm Bureau
Board Room
831 5th St, Orland, CA 95963

Fresno – Thursday, August 24, 2017
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: HSP Incentives Program
2.30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.: HSP Demonstration Projects
American Pistachio Growers
Conference Room, First Floor
9 River Park Place East, Suite 410
Fresno, CA 93720

Ventura – Friday, August 25, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: HSP Incentives Program
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: HSP Demonstration Projects
University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Ventura County
California Room
669 County Square Drive, Suite 100
Ventura CA 93003-9028

Prospective applicants may contact CDFA’s Grants Office at grants@cdfa.ca.gov with general program questions.

Prospective applicants should refer to the HSP webpage (https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/healthysoils/) for information regarding technical assistance workshops by non-profit organizations, Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) and California academic institutions. These workshops are intended to provide technical assistance with the application process and are also free of charge. Technical assistance is made available through a $25,000 partnership grant between CDFA and the Strategic Growth Council to achieve the mutual objective of providing technical assistance to HSP Incentives Program applicants.

The HSP is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investment projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments.


Food Leaders of the Good Food District- Issue 1: Vision and Addressing Racism

About the Good Food District

For Project New Village, “Food Justice” is their platform for change. It is their lever for combatting inequities and institutionalized racism. Diane Moss, Managing Director of Project New Village, explains that an alternative and equitable food system would “produce different outcomes by making healthy food available to all, providing good jobs, and fostering healthy neighborhoods”. Additionally, “It would strengthen the economy by bolstering incomes, spurring business development, and contributing to equitable economic development in segregated and long-distressed neighborhoods.”

Diane Moss and Kamaal Martin of Project New Village (Photo Credit: Colin Leibold)

Diane Moss and Kamaal Martin of Project New Village (Photo Credit: Colin Leibold)

Project New Village currently manages the Mt Hope Community Garden which rose in 2011 after City Council’s deregulation of policies. Project New Village also operates a farmer’s market, People’s Produce Certified Market, the only outdoor marketplace in Southeastern San Diego that accepts and promotes food stamp/EBT use as well as free health screenings and referrals. The Good Food District takes Project New Village’s Food Justice work to the next level by inspiring collective agency and promoting food security at a neighborhood level. Project New Village is partnering with many organizations to make this happen including the Diamond Business Association, developers, Kitchens for Good, SDSU Geography Dept, City’s Promise Zone, City Councilmembers, County of San Diego HHSA, County Board of Supervisors, Assemblymembers, UCSD Center for Community Health, San Diego Food System Alliance, and many other partners.

The Good Food District is a place-making approach which builds upon the assets within the community of Southeast San Diego: vacant lots, food entrepreneurs, residents, and other partners. The Good Food District will enhance urban agriculture’s connection to economic opportunity by changing the relationship between how people sell and source their food. Project New Village is engaging with restaurants and retail outlets in the Good Food District to shift their urban agriculture production based on demand. On the consumer end, Project New Village is working to mobilize neighborhood leaders in their community to engage the community around good food while pushing back against gentrification. For Project New Village, “good food” is food that is sustainable, equitable, healthy, affordable, and accessible for all residents.   

Engaging the Community: Time Banking and Canvassing  

Time banking is a reciprocity-based work trading system in which hours are the currency. With time banking, a person with one skill set can bank and trade hours of work for equal hours of work in another skill set instead of paying or being paid for services. Project New Village uses time banking to engage residents in the Good Food District. People donate time in one-hour increments which can be then used as credit for food. Anyone can contribute any skill. This exchange enables neighbors to save money on services and enhances quality of life.

Bowlegged BBQ (Photo Credit: Colin Leibold)

Bowlegged BBQ (Photo Credit: Colin Leibold)

Organizers go door to door, leaving pamphlets or engaging in conversation to increase understanding of and improve consumer demand for good food. Project New Village also hosts the Resident Leadership Academy, an empowerment tool for creating healthier spaces through community advocacy and changing people’s relationship with food.

Addressing Racism in the Food System: Organizing Principles of Fannie Lou Hamer

“We need to call racism for what it is. We need to get to a point where people talk about it,” said Project New Village board member, Tambuzi. “The good food system is a point of entry for discussions about institutional racism.” People of color have a history of being exploited as agricultural and food workers. They have also been denied access to healthy and quality foods along with the jobs and economic opportunities these businesses bring to neighborhoods. To address disparities, we need to understand the root causes.

Tambuzi of Project New Village ((Photo Credit: Colin Leibold)

Tambuzi of Project New Village ((Photo Credit: Colin Leibold)

Having producers and consumers of food present at meetings is key to ensuring that all interests are represented. Tambuzi and Ms. Moss look to Fannie Lou Hamer as a role model. She was a sharecropper and voting rights activist who organized the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party in the 1960s. “Fannie taught values and good character-- being conscious, capable, and committing,” says Tambuzi. “She embodies what we would want to do, Project New Village, as a catalyst for change in our neighborhoods.”  

Ms. Moss emphasizes the importance of members of underserved communities getting in contact with their decision-makers about food issues. “I go to meetings where people represent constituents. We never hear from the people that struggle. People of color need to have their voice heard.” Good Food District looks for solutions that come from people and their roles for doing it better.

Ultimately, Project New Village strives to create a sacred space in underserved communities where food insecurity is all too common. Community gardens provide high quality food and simultaneously serve as platforms for social change. While the increased vitality of any neighborhood makes it vulnerable to gentrification, The Good Food District has an embedded resilience. The initiative is founded on principals of cooperation, community engagement, and the shared values of food justice. Because its assets are found within, the power is in the people and the people are here to stay.

How can we support the Good Food District?

1. Volunteer opportunities using your skills and expertise
2. Charitable contributions for Project New Village’s work to build the Good Food District
3. Investment opportunities for food environment changes

Contact: Diane Moss, Managing Director, Project New Village   d.moss28@yahoo.com

Stay tuned for the next issue of Food Leaders of the Good Food District in our fall newsletter!

To support the Social Equity Collaborative Fund project, the San Diego Food System Alliance will be documenting the growth and lessons learned from the Good Food District for the next two years.

Healthy Development without Displacement?

Industrialized agriculture has made us increasingly disconnected from our food and the farmers that grow it. Consequently, many are turning to urban agriculture as way of bypassing the conventional paradigm that food is strictly a commodity. The notion that food should be produced as cheaply and efficiently as possible is in question, as awareness grows surrounding the social and environmental repercussions of industrial food.

This cultural shift in favor of “slow food” is reflected in the rise of community gardens, farmer’s markets, food trucks, ethnic eateries, and craft breweries. San Diego State University professor of geography, Dr. Pascale Joassart-Marcelli, studies the relationship between food and ­place. She notes that developers and real estate professionals are responding to increased demand for healthy and local food by designing neighborhoods with gardens and other food-centered amenities. Her recent research suggests that “Green space increases adjacent property values by 15 to 30%.”


Gentrification Map

On the surface, it appears that the proliferation of community gardens and mixed-use projects offers a win-win situation to developers and residents. However, urban revitalization can have unintended consequences; rising property values often results in the displacement of the original residents, typically lower-income households and people of color. This is already taking place in City Heights, where gentrification in North Park is expanding to the east. The map above by Dr. Pascale Joassart-Marcelli illustrates community gardens in green dots with host spots of gentrification. Community gardens tend to appear in lower-income communities where vacant lots are more readily accessible. 

This phenomenon requires those of us in the food justice movement to think critically about our goals and how we seek to achieve them. Historically, growing food in urban spaces has been used as a form of resistance and has allowed marginalized communities to work towards self-sufficiency. How can healthy food access be addressed if community gardens play a role in gentrification?

Project New Village and partners are exploring this issue in the development of the Good Food District. Find out more about the project in upcoming posts!

Written by Livvy Stanforth, Intern

We Got Us Some #SaveTheFood Billboards!

#SaveTheFood Billboard at Broadway and Sweetwater Way in Lemon Grove

We Got Us Some #SaveTheFood Billboards!

Save The Food San Diego is a county-wide food waste awareness partnership that leverages the national “Save The Food” public service campaign, a partnership with NRDC and the Ad Council. 

At the San Diego Food System Alliance, we have been busy preparing to launch our collaborative consumer education campaign in September 2017. And now we have our first set of billboards showing up around the county! Whoop, whoop! The Alliance is funding the printing for billboards this year and next, and our colleagues at the Ad Council are coordinating donated placement across the county. We are coordinating media coverage, branded resources with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and tracking participation. Our vision is that Save The Food messaging will be seen and heard all over the county, coming from many different sources, creating that buzz of recognition for consumers.

Over the course of the past few months we have held numerous group and one-to-one one partnership meetings, presentations, and brainstorming workshops with:

  • Jurisdictions: SANDAG Technical Advisory Council, Regional Solid Waste Association (RSWA) Board of Directors, County of San Diego, and cities of Encinitas, Poway, Santee, Escondido, Vista, San Marcos, Carlsbad, Coronado, El Cajon, Solana Beach, Del Mar, National City, Imperial Beach
  • Hospitals & Healthcare: Nutrition in Healthcare Leadership Team, Kaiser Permanente, UCSD Health LaJolla and Hillcrest, Plum Healthcare. Sharp Health Chula Vista
  • K-12 Schools: Farm to School Task Force, Cajon Valley Union School District, Vista Unified School District, Carlsbad Unified School District
  • Universities: Cal State San Marcos, Point Loma Nazarene University, UC San Diego
  • Regional non-profits: Alliance for Regional Solutions, Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, Feeding San Diego, San Diego Hunger Coalition, North County Food Policy Council, Community Health Improvement Partners, I Love A Clean San Diego, Solana Center for Environmental Innovation
  • State-wide California: CalRecycle SB 1383 Workshop
  • National: EPA Sustainable Materials Management webinar with NRDC

According to research from ReFed (2016, 21), consumer education campaigns offer the highest return-on-investment for strategies to reduce food waste. So we’re meeting with and convening local government and their businesses, schools, hospitals, universities, grocers and large venues, in groups and individually. We’re brainstorming opportunities and ideas together to creatively message #SaveTheFood, from multiple departments and organizations, using existing communication channels. We encourage them to all utilize Save The Food San Diego messaging assets during specific time periods in 2017 and 2018, so we can track our impact. We want to create a buzz, and a multi-layered platform, for discussion and education on food waste---and eventually behavior change.

The convenings have been really fun. And have generated some great ideas, too. Jen Winfrey, County of SD, shared that “the jurisdiction convening I attended was a good opportunity to have a collaborative, constructive brainstorming session and a little fun.  Starting with ice breakers was fun and informative, even for people who have known each other professionally for years.  I think the ice breakers got everyone talking and thinking, so when it came time to brainstorm opportunities for deploying the Save the Food San Diego campaign, the attendees contributed their thoughts in a positive way instead of focusing on some challenges in navigating jurisdiction procedures.”

#SaveTheFood San Diego - University and Hospital Brainstorming Session

Participants have helped identify opportunities to collaboratively and strategically share #SaveTheFood messaging via our local governments, businesses, and organizations. Participants are also helping us to identify and work with food waste generators and food donation agencies to facilitate and catalyze network, resource and capacity building.

We encourage all participants to use the assets to message to their stakeholders, driving traffic to www.SaveTheFood.com  for tips on shopping, cooking and storing food to reduce waste. We let them know that website analytics can track hits from each City, and what that data will tell us about our efforts. We are also preparing our local resource page on the Alliance website, which will include information about our campaign and access to shareable assets, as well as local, regional, and national food waste reduction and recovery resources, media and news.

Stay tuned for more to come all over the lovely San Diego region. We will kick off our collaborative Save The Food San Diego consumer education campaign at the Food Waste Solutions Summit III on September 26, 2017 at the Jacobs Center in San Diego! Hope to see you there!

#SaveTheFood Billboard at Garnet Ave and Mission Bay Dr in Pacific Beach

Post by Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives

MarketShare 2.0

MarketShare 2.0

These girls have got it goin’ on! No fresh and delicious produce from Farmer’s Markets in the San Diego region needs to go to waste any more, because ProduceGood is rolling out its MarketShare program across the county---using teams of volunteers to “recover unsold produce from weekly markets, delivering the bounty to local food pantries.”

Jeri, Alex, and Nita are the innovative women behind ProduceGood, and although they say, “sharing has never been sweeter!”, it just got a bit sweeter with the Market Share program. Not only are they able to “glean” fresh produce directly from growers, donating to people in need via partners, but now they actually get to meet the people who will prepare and eat this food they recover. The fulfillment to mission is keen and heartfelt, and the stories are incredible.

I spent a few hours with these three ladies, along with talented program lead, Felicia, board member Ron Eng, and intern Samantha at the Solana Beach Farmer’s Market. Such a lovely smaller market; we met under an umbrella in the food court area. They were easy to find with their bright orange aprons, graphic logos, and smiles. It was the second stop of the day for the Market Share leadership team. They started their day in Hillcrest at the largest farmer’s market in the county, where they needed to split into two teams of volunteers to gather unsold produce from up to 14 participating vendors at this busy market. The Hillcrest MarketShare currently provides enough fresh produce for three local agencies serving people who are food insecure or in need.

Philanthropy, and private investment, are both essential for innovation in food systems today. The MarketShare program specifically was funded by an anonymous donor of the San Diego Foundation, who was moved by the intersecting problems of food waste and hungry people

Solana Beach Farmer’s Market is the second of seven planned to roll out MarketShare, and benefits from the lessons learned at Hillcrest. The process is finely tuned and organized, but not stressful or harried at all. Think about a stroll through the market, greeting and chatting with farmers and vendors. Then back at the truck it’s time to gear up the trolley with perfectly-sized, collapsible produce crates, bright green labels for accurate tracking and inventory control, and grease pens---old school, but effective.

The Farmers now recognize those orange aprons, too, and send a smile and a word, start a conversation. Besides donating unsold produce from the market, some of the farmers are now bringing additional produce to donate i.e., the donut peaches or the brussel sprouts that are too small to sell and would otherwise go to waste. They are still nutritious and delicious, and it sure took a lot of time, energy, and resources to grow.

The crates of produce they shared were amazing---fresh and beautiful produce, along with crusty loaves of artisan bread, that most people who are food insecure rarely get to eat. Although this donation does qualify for a tax deduction, most donate simply because they want to share.

All of the MarketShare donations are tracked very carefully and efficiently, too. Felicia and Samantha set up the weighing area next to the truck and went to work. Each tagged crate was weighed, characterized, and attributed to the farmer, then stacked in the back of the truck, ready to be delivered to the designated agency. Looking at the “Producing Good By the Numbers” graphic, it is obvious that these programs are successful on a number of levels, including dollar-for-dollar value, community engagement, and reducing hunger with wholesome food.

While we were weighing and recording the 174.5 pounds of donated produce from the Solana Beach market, Ron Eng, talked about tracking “servings” of recovered produce rather than just pounds. To better understand the real people-impact of food recovery, we need to consider that this food is going to feed people, and people can benefit in numerous ways from preparing and eating healthful and delicious food.

According to a recent study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, and published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in the U.S. we currently waste “1,217 calories, 33 grams protein, and 5.9 grams dietary fiber per person, per day”.  That is nutrition that every body needs, but sometimes it is simply too expensive to provide to those in need.

Recipients of MarketShare produce are excited. A delivery is like a holiday! Fresh produce from the farmer’s market, and lots of it! Since receiving and eating more fresh produce, one person reports having lost weight and is feeling healthier. Another person who had been feeling isolated, uses the additional fresh produce to prepare and share favorite foods with others as a means of connecting. Some recipients have reported better medication adherence, and they look forward to meals more with this fresh produce, and are excited about them now.

We delivered seven crates to an agency in Oceanside after the Solana Beach market. They were helpful and appreciative. We unloaded crates filled with lettuces, spinach, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, brussel sprouts, beans, purslane, mushrooms, corn, radishes, onions, kale, and more. There were people in the kitchen preparing food for dinner, so they added some spinach and lettuce to the meal right away. Some items were set aside to share with a sister agency, and a few other items were put directly into the freezer to save for later.

All in all, a good day for MarketShare---full circle from farmer to the dinner table. Two markets, one bustling and one low-key. Happy farmers, happy volunteers & leaders, and happier, healthier people.

ProduceGood is a nonprofit corporation (EIN: 47-2289712) with the mission of building an active and engaged community committed to finding sustainable solutions to alleviate hunger, reclaim and repurpose waste and promote the health and well-being of all.


We could all use tips and recipes for shopping, preserving, and storing food, especially during peak growing seasons---and a great place to start is at www.SaveTheFood.com.

Post by Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives


Summer Grower Highlight: FlavoredLayers Farms

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For the Summer issue of San Diego Food System Spotlights: Local Grower, the San Diego Food System Alliance partnered with the San Diego County Farm Bureau to interview David Gutierrez of FlavoredLayers Farms. We asked David about the history of his business, vision, and the biggest challenges. 

1) Please share the history of your farming business. How did the business get started? Why are you committed to it?

Historically, I have farmed small-scale operations in soil with the hope of one day launching a larger scale, sustainable farm operation of my own. In the past, I have collaborated with other farmers and organizations to help them launch their own farms, community farms and farmers markets.  The goal was to educate myself on what it would take to launch and operate my own farm while contributing to some important projects at the same time.  When I thought I was ready, I began to look for land in San Diego County.

Being new to San Diego, I immediately began to research different farm alliances and organizations that could direct me towards local farming information, resources, and potential collaborations.  Unexpectedly, I came across a Veteran based, hydroponics farm training program offered at Archi’s Acres Farm in Valley Center called Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (now called AISA).  I was very curious to understand the value of farming organically with hydroponics; especially as it related to reduced water usage.

After graduating, I was introduced to a Veteran who had recently launched a hydroponics farm in Valley Center growing 2.5 tons of Basil monthly. He left the company after one year and I re-launched the farm under a new entity called FlavoredLayers Farms ™. I learned a lot from my ex-partner and give him loads of credit for what he was able to accomplish on his own.

The reason we created FlavoredLayers Farms is because we believe that wherever there is need there is responsibility. FlavoredLayers Farms ™ is committed to growing quality, organic herbs and produce while elevating our farm with art, music, and other like-minded individuals. We believe that local farms are an important part of the fabric and food security of any community. We also believe that farms bring together all types of people and creativity. So we are working hard to harvest and optimize that creativity as part of our farm business model. Our farm will always be the sum of its people parts. 

2)  What is your vision for your business?

Our ongoing operational vision is simple – Consistent quality and quantity aligned with a healthy and reasonable expansion strategy (operational size and sku).  Additionally, we are constantly remixing our processes to conserve resources and to minimize/recycle waste.  We have found other farms that want our used nutrient and soil for their compost systems.  We are aggressively investigating solar and wind strategies and currently working on a goat strategy as a means to keep our field mowed.  It is amazing how much waste is generated on a farm. 

We are also putting time and energy into delivering on the second part of our mission statement.  Having worked with artists and having produced live art events around the country for over a decade, we are determined to showcase and optimize musicians, artists and other farmers.  One thing I have learned over the years is that two things always seem to find each other – Art & Agriculture. In its elemental form, is there really a big difference between Artists and Farmers?  Just the other day, the farm crew was discussing how cool it would be to turn one of our greenhouse tunnels into an event space.

We will start by launching a small music event on Friday/Saturday with our beautiful sunset as the backdrop. We are working on a sponsor so that all Artists will be paid and will go home with a ton of high quality video/picture content of their gig for purposes of self-promotion. We will be engaging the San Diego Media Arts Center who will provide their students a live event to hone their skills under the tutorage of a professional cameraperson. We will eventually employ these new digital media artists as a means of launching an online content channel on YouTube that will showcase the County’s creative agricultural scene. Our goal would be to eventually dispatch and interview other farms and agricultural entities in the County. 

3) What are the biggest challenges for your business? What do growers need to succeed?

Right now, the biggest challenges we face in our business are expensive labor costs and competing with Mexico. Which is why we believe it is important for every farm to convey its story onto its product. A good story will get you the right customer. Find a customer who loves and relates to your story, which must have your product as a result, and is willing to pay you what you need to make to stay alive. This way you can ignore all of the other noise of competition and price fixing in the market.  Finally, love what you do and put your employees first.

4) What would you like San Diegans to know?

San Diegans need to understand that local food production is diminishing. We are so lucky to have local food production on a level that many other counties and states in the country do not have. Do not let it get away. Building new and large communities in areas of the county that are traditionally set up to grow food is not only pushing out farms, but making availability to water much more difficult. I was talking to a well service company in Valley Center who said that an accelerating amount of farm wells are drying up.  Did you know that over 40 large avocado farms shut their doors last year?

5) Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

 Thank you for the opportunity to share our farm with you and for what your organization is doing for farming in the County.

What a collaboration! @ CSUSM

Collaboration @ CSUSM

What a collaboration! @ CSUSM

Universities and Colleges are places of learning. But it can be difficult to learn when one is faced with a consistent and persistent problem seen at Universities across the US today: hunger.

At California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), it is estimated that one in two (1:2) students have experienced hunger (food insecurity) during the past year. At Cal State campuses across the state, the average is one in four (1:4), demonstrating the poignant need in Southern CA.

Fortunately for students at CSUSM, the Cougar Care Network (CCN) is setting the stage for new and effective ways to address hunger on and off campus in a caring and compassionate manner. CCN is “CSUSM’s early support initiative to improve student success, retention, and persistence”. In fact, the Cougar Care Network as a centralized resource is considered a best practice in the Cal State system. CCN currently serves about 1000 students with the three highest needs being: food, housing, and mental health.

CSUSM is behind a 2-year effort to establish a food pantry on campus to support students who find themselves faced with choices to pay fees or rent or eat. CSUSM student advocacy and student voices via the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors­ were integral in the creation of the on-campus food pantry. Students from the ASI Board of Directors became aware of issues related to food insecurity on campus (based on the CSU and CSUSM surveys) and realized to properly represent the student voice, students’ basic needs first needed to be addressed. 

Over the course of the past few years the ASI Board of Directors members have gone from creating a resolution in support of an on-campus food pantry, to securing the funds for an on-campus space, to now finalizing the plans for the space to be open this Fall 2017. The food pantry will be stocked with dry goods, run by the Associated Students Inc., and available for students to access one day per week. But there is so much more---thanks to collaborative partnerships.

So, what all is happening? Who is collaborating?

CSUSM has been working with Summit Church directly off campus, who provides food distribution on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. Attendees can access up to 15 pounds of food at each distribution. Summit Church has agreed to modify the hours of food distribution specifically to accommodate student schedules. Summit Church also receives food from Feeding San Diego.

CSUSM is working with the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank in North San Diego County to establish Pop-up Fresh Food Distributions one time per month near the busy food court on campus, complementing the Food Pantry and the Summit Church distributions. This could also be a great place to distribute prepared food rescued from the Food Court, when that can be arranged.

CSUSM will be working with Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) to provide CalFresh outreach on campus to ensure students understand these benefits and eligibility, especially since eligibility changed in February 2017. And HHSA is working to coordinate cooking skills classes and wholesome food educational events for the 2017-2018 housing programming calendar.

CSUSM is also partnering with the San Diego Food System Alliance and the City of San Marcos on a county-wide effort for food waste reduction and recovery of wholesome food. Save The Food San Diego is a county-wide food waste awareness partnership that leverages the national “Save The Food” public service campaign, a partnership with NRDC and the Ad Council.

Most recently, Kitchens for Good has expressed interest in participating with this food recovery effort via their social enterprise, value-added commercial kitchen opening in San Marcos in late 2017.

Food waste is a national issue which affects San Diego County in a distinct manner. Recent California legislation, AB 1826 and SB 1383, requires progressively less food waste to landfill and increased donation of wholesome food from businesses and residents.

Although planning efforts are underway, in San Diego County there are not yet robust systems in place to compost or digest food waste. This creates a unique opportunity to work on source reduction and donation as a priority first step before new infrastructure and systems are realized---which is a preferred strategy for highest and best use.

Save The Food San Diego campaign objectives are to raise awareness and inspire behavior change for food waste reduction and donation of wholesome food to those in need. Efforts include working collaboratively with state and local government agencies to develop and support peer networks and resources for both food waste generators, and food recovery networks.

Resource and network building is included to catalyze and support food waste reduction and donation of wholesome food by sector: Restaurants and Food Service; Universities and Hospitals; K-12 Schools; Grocery and Warehouse; Stadiums and Venues.

Overarching efforts will serve to raise awareness about food recovery and hunger, toward initiating a lasting and robust food recovery network across San Diego County.

Wow. What a collaboration! @ CSUSM. A developing model for other communities. 

Post by Barbara Hamilton, Director of Strategic Initiatives


Keep Tuna Harbor Fishing (Action Alert June 2017)

San Diego’s fishermen received some tentatively good news yesterday, Monday, 6/5/2017, from the Port of San Diego.  In their now regular (bi-weekly) meeting with the Central Embarcadero developer,  attending Port of San Diego representative Lesley Nishihira, Senior Land Use Planner, communicated that more time has been granted by the Port for consideration of potential commercial fishing land and water zoning changes. The new time-frame for detailed zone definition in Port Master Plan Update is now early September (potentially 9/8/2017), a change from mid-July, 2017.  

A BIG SINCERE THANK YOU to all who publicly commented at the Port of San Diego’s Integrated Planning Port Master Plan Update Workshop on Thursday, 4/27/2017, and who have otherwise echoed the fishermen’s concerns with the Port since then.  These comments are known to have definitively influenced the Port’s decision to extend the Master Plan Update review period.   While the delay is by no means a guarantee that land and water zoning designations will ultimately be favorable to the continued viability and growth of San Diego’s fishing industry, it certainly allows for more careful response of the industry’s needs by all concerned.

A new ACTION ALERT is regarding a Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Budget Change Proposal (BCP) for an increase in commercial fish landing taxes (now being referred to as “fees”) by as much as 1300%. See the attached copy of an opposition letter sent to Legislative Leaders on May, 11, 2017. All the entities who signed the letter are agreed, the tax increases will not only destroy the economic margins of California fishermen and processors, but also have a profound effect on local coastal economies. The State of California’s  Legislative Budget Conference Committee met yesterday and discussed the proposal, identified as item 3600. The Department of Finance said it is talking with budget staff to strike the appropriate increase; however there was no definitive response to the industry’s opposition. Outreach in the way of phone calls to members of the Budget Conference Committee would be helpful, especially the Committee Co-chair, Senator Holly Mitchell, requesting an increase of no more than 97% -- the rate of inflation since the last adjustment -- for all but sardines (the tax rate for these already adjusted) . See coalition letter.

Budget Conference Committee Member
Phone #

Senator Holly Mitchell, D, LA, Co-Chair
916- 651-4030
Assemblyman Phil Ting, D, SF, Co-Chair
Senator Ricardo Lara, D, Vernon
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D, Sacramento
Senator Richard Roth, D, Riverside
Assemblyman Phillip Chen, R, Diamond Bar
Senator Jim Nielsen, R, Sacramento and northern counties
Assemblyman Jay Olbernolte, R, San Bernardino
Senator John Moorlach, R, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Laguna
Assemblywoman Shirley Webber (PHD) , D, Chula Vista
916- 319-2079

Thanks again to all whose comments have amplified the fishermen’s concerns, winning the extension of time for more in-depth commercial fishing land and water zoning consideration with respect to the Port Master Plan Update. 

Hopefully our next update will include a fishermen’s sketch, clearly showing their collective vision for the Future of Tuna Harbor, with respect to commercial fishing operations.  This visionary, collaborative sketch is expected to help further inform detailed design underway by the Gafcon team, as well as a Fisheries Analysis/Commercial Fishing Plan Update document now being prepared on behalf of the fishermen, developer and Port.  Concurrent progress on the fishermen’s visionary sketch, design efforts by the developer and drafting of the Fisheries Analysis/Commercial Fishing Plan Update document is expected through July and into August, while the Port continues its Port Master Plan Update activities, through the summer months.

Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions, suggestions or concerns regarding the Future of Tuna Harbor at any time. 

Cindy Quinonez, Co-Chair,
San Diego Food System Alliance
Sustainable Local Seafood System Work Group

Phone: 619.892.6207
Email:  cdfquinonez@sdfsaseafood.org


San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative Grant: Catalyzing Carbon Farming in San Diego County

Diagram: Marin Carbon Project

Diagram: Marin Carbon Project

We are thrilled to announce the launch of a new collaborative project to catalyze Carbon Farming in San Diego through a generous $25k grant by the The San Diego Foundation's Climate Initiative! This is a collaborative project between the San Diego Food System Alliance, Batra Ecological Strategies, Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, and County of San Diego. The funding by The San Diego Foundation enabled the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County to receive $10k from Jena and Michael King Foundation to develop San Diego County's first carbon farm plan at Montado Farms.

Carbon Farming is a process designed to maximize agriculture’s potential for moving excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere into soil and vegetation, building fertility, productivity and resilience. Carbon Farming is a whole-farm approach implementing on-farm practices that increase the rate at which plants transfer carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere to the soil, which then increases water infiltration, water-holding capacity, soil organic matter and promotes long-term carbon sequestration. More on Carbon Farming: http://www.marincarbonproject.org/

Carbon Farming practices defined by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service include (not all may be relevant for San Diego):
Compost Applications, Anaerobic Digester, Riparian Forest Buffer Establishment, Prescribed Grazing, Cover Crops, Silvopasture/ Shrub & Tree Establishment on Grazed Grasslands, Conventional Tillage to No-Till, Range Planting, Forage and Biomass Planting, Windbreak/ Shelterbelt/ Hedgerow Establishment and Renovation, Filter Strip, Riparian Herbaceous Cover, Critical Area Planting, Grassed Waterway, Field Border,  Conservation Crop Rotation, Improved Nutrient Management, Multistory Cropping/ Strip Cropping/ Alley Cropping

Out of all the practices listed, compost application has been shown to have a significant impact for sequestering carbon. A study conducted by UC Berkeley's Dr. Silver and Dr. Ryals of the Marin Carbon Project demonstrated that building healthier soil through a one-time application of a 1/2 inch layer of compost on grazed rangeland increased long-term carbon storage by 1 ton of carbon per hectare and increased forage production by 40-70%. The practice also led to increased water holding capacity to 26k liters per hectare. Soil's water retention capacity is important in this time of drought and San Diego's dry climate. 

Late last year, Montado Farms in Santa Ysabel, operated by Kevin Muno, was selected as the southernmost of the 17 sites across the state where compost application research is being expanded by scientists of Marin Carbon Project. After taking soil samples, researchers spread one-quarter inch of compost over one half of a one-acre site marked off on a hillside to show the levels of carbon sequestration. Over the next several years, the soil will be regularly tested to compare results against the original two study sites by Marin Carbon Project, which have still shown positive results for all of the noted benefits eight years after the single compost application. More on Montado Farms pilot test here

San Diego County is uniquely positioned to encourage these Carbon Farming practices, with the largest number of small and organic farms in the country. There are over 5,000 small farms in the county and 208,564 acres of rangeland. Permanent crops, such as San Diego County’s top food crops, citrus and avocados, are already effectively storing carbon. Farmers in San Diego County currently have in excess of 3 million trees, which sequester approximately 48 pounds of carbon per tree per year. 

Based on estimates by Marin Carbon Project consultants, costs and feasibility aside, the diversion of organics from landfill and application of compost on 200k acres of rangeland could mitigate and sequester a total of 3,065,988 MTCO2e of additional carbon over 10 years. Carbon Farming is a promising and practical solution to address climate change. 

This exploration project for San Diego County involves two parts:

Part I: Assessment of the opportunities to sequester carbon, fund carbon farming, and synergize with other programs in San Diego County
a) How much net GHG reduction can be achieved through carbon farming in San Diego County?
b) What funding mechanisms exist for conversions to carbon farming? What financial incentives might be employed to maintain carbon farming as an economically viable activity?
c) What state and local policy synergies exist that are compatible with the goals of carbon farming?

Part II: Piloting the carbon farm planning process at one farm in San Diego County

The goal is to complete both parts by end of June to inform the County of San Diego's Climate Action Plan process and to prepare for CDFA's Healthy Soils funding available in July.

The State is ahead of local jurisdictions in recognizing the potential of Carbon Farming. In an effort to further the vision of California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), Governor Brown identified key climate change strategy pillars to reduce emissions and meet the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target. One of the six pillars includes "managing farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon." To support with the implementation of this goal, the State recently funded the Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of State agencies and departments led by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to provide resources for farmers and ranchers to increase carbon stores in agricultural soils. 

Can farmers become part of the climate change solution? Stay tuned and find out more! We plan to share the findings of the analysis sometime this fall.