SDFSA Spring 2019 Newsletter
Our new newsletter! Interview with urban grower Belinda Ramírez, Ag Census 2017 summaries, a new grant and 14 partnerships for food waste reduction.




IN THIS ISSUE: Tuna Harbor Fishermen's Festival will take place on May 18. Scroll down for details!


Spring 2019 Newsletter

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Spring is upon us, and fittingly, the Alliance has growth on our minds! We're diving into this season with new full-time staff, a grant wish fulfilled, productive working group meetings, a facelift on our newsletter, and more big plans ahead.

As an organization, we're currently refining our operating strategy and reflecting on ways we can be more effective at our mission: to develop and maintain an equitable, healthy, and sustainable food system in San Diego County serving all 3.3 million residents.

Over the next 18 months, we'll be spearheading the development of a comprehensive "San Diego Food Vision 2030," an aspirational vision and urgent roadmap to guide our regional food system toward equity and sustainability for the next decade. We'll need plenty of feedback, collaboration and buy-in from the community to make this vision one that sticks... so stay tuned!

—Elly Brown, Alliance Director

Spotlight on the Good Food District


We had the opportunity to interview Belinda Ramírez of Project New Village on the power of community gardens, and reclaiming food sovereignty in Southeastern San Diego. “The cool thing about urban ag is that it allows you to escape the system a little bit,” she says. “You’re taking matters into your own hands by growing your own food.”

Read the full interview

Buzz on Local Food Issues



2017 Ag Census: Three Summaries You Should Read

Don't have time to read through all 820 pages of the USDA's 2017 Agricultural Census? Here are three particularly insightful summaries from respected ag organizations that we enjoyed reading. More →



Tuna Harbor Fishermen's Festival to be held on Saturday, May 18

This special edition of the weekly Tuna Harbor Dockside Market features fresh catch of the day sold by Tuna Harbor's longtime fishing families, chef demos from Ironside Fish & Oyster, marine education and more. More →



Making strides toward food waste reduction: New grant funding and 14 major partnerships

Significant grant funding from CalRecycle indicates a serious state-level commitment to supporting local food waste reduction efforts, and partnerships in San Diego demonstrate that our institutions and corporations are also stepping up. More →

San Diego Food System Alliance staff is growing!


San Diego Food System Alliance is thrilled to welcome Rachel Oporto as our new Food Waste Reduction & Recovery Program Coordinator, and Margaret Chiu as Communications & Events Associate.

Our team

Faces of our Food System


Jordyn Kastlunger, Loaf & Fish

Local Fisherman

"I’m excited to see the growing potential for fresh, local caught seafood. The public is showing high interest and strong demand and they finally have a place to get it."


Mike Reeske, Rio del Rey Beans

Local Grower

“Sooner than later, I’ll pass this on to someone else and they’ll move right ahead. There’s so much potential since no one else grows organic heirloom beans in the county.”

Community Events

Women, Food and Community

Wednesday, May 15
Women for Social Impact (WSI)

Join us for a very special evening with Women for Social Impact as we learn about how food creates community and connections. We will feature four remarkable San Diego organizations and hear how the women involved with them are changing lives. More →

KPBS segment: "Food Is A Terrible Thing To Waste!"

Watch on Thursday, May 16 at 8:30pm on KPBS

SDFSA, Produce Good, Leucadia Farmers' Market, San Diego Food Bank and Kitchens for Good will all appear in this episode of A Growing Passion airing on KPBS, exploring food waste prevention, reduction and recovery. A Growing Passion is an award-winning TV and online program featuring garden expert Nan Sterman. More →

"The Rotting Journey" Composting Workshop

Friday, May 17
Inika Small Earth

"The Rotting Journey" is a hassle-free, hands-on, guided composting experience for minds that dig deep and love dirt. Learn how to transform kitchen scraps into soil, fun and good habits. Activity is limited to 10 participants so register early! More →

Tuna Harbor Fishermen's Festival

Saturday, May 18
SDFSA & Slow Food Urban

This special edition of the weekly Tuna Harbor Dockside Market features fresh catch of the day sold direct-to-consumer by Tuna Harbor's fishing families, chef demos from Ironside Fish & Oyster and a variety of educational activities about San Diego's rich fishing heritage. More →

Beekeeping Course

Saturday, May 18 & May 25
Wild Willow Farm

Please join us at Wild Willow for a fun and informative 2-day course about keeping bees. If you have ever dreamt of getting to know honeybees a little better this is your chance. Get some hands-on experience with our resident bees and beekeeper. More →

Cooking Mindful Mushrooms

Sunday, May 19
Berry Good Food Foundation

Discover delicious locally cultivated fungi from Mindful Mushrooms and cook with The Kitchenistas, our inspiring community partners from Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center. More →

Seedling Soiree

Saturday, June 1
Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center

Join us for Olivewood's annual Seedling Soirée on June 1, 2019. Enjoy garden-inspired cocktails and appetizers in Olivewood's early summer garden and a farm-to-table feast under the stars featuring some of San Diego's finest chefs, vintners, brewers... More →

San Diego Farming for Profit Financial Mentorship Program

Please inquire for start date

The Farm to Institution Center and Kitchen Table Consultants are offering a financial mentorship program, which will enroll a small group of San Diego County diversified specialty crop growers in a collaborative, expert-led program. There is limited availability (1-2 spots) left. Please email Rebecca Frimmer at


May 7 - "The price of plenty: how beef changed America" (The Guardian): Exploitation and predatory pricing drove the transformation of the US beef industry – and created the model for modern agribusiness.

May 6 - "Farmers of Color May Soon Get More Support in California" (Civil Eats): Farmers of color are the fastest-growing group of farmers in the country. Two new bills aim to lower the barriers they face today as a result of agriculture’s history of racial exclusion.

May 6 - "There are plenty of fish in the sea. Why do we eat so few?" (The New Food Economy): A new report reveals our reliance on a few overfished seafood species. Expanding our palates might have environmental and economic benefits—but major barriers remain.

May 6 - "UC San Diego now alerting needy students when leftover food is available" (San Diego Union Tribune): A new mobile app has been successfully adopted by the university, simultaneously helping deal with food insecurity in the student body and reducing on-campus food waste.

May 5 - "Cheat sheet: Sen. Bernie Sanders' plan to expand agriculture and rural policies" (POLITICO): Bernie Sanders released a sweeping rural and agriculture plan Sunday that targets big companies and calls for more federal investment in struggling rural areas.

May 5 - "California’s Farmers are Aging, Creating Challenges for Sustainable Agriculture" (Times of San Diego): As a generational wave of farmers and ranchers enters retirement age, they face difficult choices about what to do with their farms and how to support themselves as they age.

May 2 - "Toronto Restaurant Fights Waste By Chopping Menu Prices Till Food Is Gone" (NPR): In the restaurant business, quiet Sundays lead to either throwing away food or freezing it. One restaurant finds a solution.

April 30 - "Your Questions About Food and Climate Change, Answered" (New York Times): Straightforward questions with straightforward answers. Just what we needed!

April 30 - "The Climate-friendly Vegetable You Ought to Eat" (New York Times): Kelp is delicious and versatile, and farming it is actively good for the ocean.

April 24 - "Mai Nguyen and the California Young Farmers Report" (Young Farmers Podcast): San Diego resident, heritage grain farmer and young activist Mai Nguyen discusses authoring the 2019 California Young Farmers Report.

April 18 - "USDA Announces $23 Million in Grants Available to Local and Regional Food Systems" (USDA): Grant funding will support the development and expansion of local and regional food markets, enterprises and producer-to-consumer marketing.

April 17 - "Reckless farming is destroying the planet. This could save it" (CNN): Rose Marcario of Patagonia and David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s discuss teaming up to form the Regenerative Organic Alliance and a holistic agriculture certification (like LEED) for products.

Thank you to our 2019 funders and sponsors!

CalRecycle/California Climate Investments
Dr. Bronners
Food 4 Less/Ralphs/Kroger Foundation
Kasperick Foundation
Leichtag Fouundation
Moxie Foundation
Nordson Corporation
Panta Rhea Foundation
Price Charities
SDG&E Environmental Champions
The San Diego Foundation - Anonymous Donor Fund
The San Diego Foundation - Hervey Family Fund

Corporate Sponsors
RMG Recycling
Specialty Produce

Individual Contributions
And thanks to many other individuals and our Leadership Council members for your donations!

Thank you!
We are so grateful for the support we have received for our work in 2019 from these funders and sponsors.