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San Diego County Food Vision 2030 is a 10-year strategic plan for food system development in San Diego County, and will serve as a model for metropolitan communities around the country seeking to build an equitable and sustainable food system.

Currently under its 18-month development process, San Diego County Food Vision 2030 will be presented as a final report in December 2020, with an online interactive dashboard for tracking progress of key performance indicators over time.


A food vision—sometimes called a food action plan, or food strategy—is a community-driven tool, roadmap, or blueprint that assesses how we grow, distribute, consume, and manage disposal of food. While each community tailors the plan to their specific needs, most share two common elements: they capture the aspirations of the community around food, and they identify concrete things that can be done to improve the policies, programs, and individual actions that shape how food moves from farm to plate.


San Diego County Food Vision 2030 takes a systems approach to food policy and planning. This means considering all aspects of the food system, from seed to table to compost heap and back again.

In many ways, San Diego County’s food system is already very robust. Citizen interest in our 44 certified farmers markets, community gardens, urban farms, beekeeping, backyard hens and other community food projects has never been higher. With more than 400 certified organic farms, our County is home to more certified organic growers than any other county in the nation. Citizen coalitions are actively engaging residents around a wide range of food system projects and activities.

However, in spite of the strong foundation of food system assets that San Diego County enjoys, there are a number of gaps and vulnerabilities. Across San Diego’s neighborhoods, there is considerable variation in socioeconomic and demographic conditions. Adding to these challenges are disturbing trends across the United States, including a growing income gap, social polarization, hunger, poverty, unaffordable housing, rapid consolidation of agriculture resulting in loss of small- and mid-sized farms, commercial fishing. These issues, coupled with global pressures including climate change and increasingly distant food supply chains means that bolstering the resilience of San Diego County’s food system is critical.

The importance of creating a coordinated food strategy for San Diego County is not only a response to vulnerabilities and challenges, but equally in response to the recognition of what food brings to the County. Food is an issue that galvanizes communities and catalyzes action like few other topics can. If produced, managed, and consumed responsibly, greens the environment, promotes biodiversity, contributes to the local economy and provides countless opportunities for education, social inclusion and community-building. For all of these reasons, the time for San Diego County’s ten-year food vision is now.


San Diego County Food Vision 2030 Project Phases

Time Phase Goal
June 2019 - December 2019 Data collection & analysis Develop draft narrative on current conditions
June 2019 - December 2019 Expert interviews Supplement data collection process
June 2019 - December 2019 Analysis refinement Refine narrative on current conditions
January 2020 - April 2020 Targeted public events Summarize narrative and initiate input on goals & objectivces
January 2020 - April 2020 Stakeholder outreach Share narrative, obtain feedback, and get buy-in support
July 2020 - December 2020 Conference/event Develop and present final report & dashboard

+ Sona Desai, Associate Director, SDFSA

Sona has been working to advance sustainable and equitable food systems for more than 20 years. She has a background in organic farming, food marketing & distribution, farm business development, and is recognized nationally as a leader in food hub and community food systems development.

Before joining the San Diego Food System Alliance, Sona was the Director of Food Systems Development at the Leichtag Foundation where she provided thought leadership, research, and food and farm based consulting services to advance the Foundation’s food system strategy. She also served as the Associate Director of Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas.

Sona moved to California in 2016 after working at the Intervale Center in Burlington, Vermont, for ten years. At the Intervale Center, Sona led the development and management of the Intervale Food Hub and the organization’s Gleaning & Food Rescue Program. She was also actively engaged in the Vermont Farm to Plate Network, and served on the Board of Directors for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont.

+ Scott Sawyer, Consultant

Scott Sawyer grew up in Southern California before being charmed away to Vermont, where he was the lead author, editor, and designer of Vermont's Farm to Plate Initiative while working at Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. His work has included researching, analyzing, writing, editing, evaluating, and designing for a variety of food system, renewable energy, forest products, and sustainability programs and projects, including Vermont's Farm to Plate Initiative, the Community Energy Dashboard, and the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative. Scott has a PhD in sociology from Washington State University, where his dissertation was titled "The Politics of Reliability: A Sociological Examination of the State of Vermont's Response to Peak Oil and Climate Change." Scott is happy to be back in sunny California and eager to help strengthen San Diego's food system.