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Healthy Farmworkers in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties

February 11, 2022

This post was co-written by Food Share of Ventura County and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Food Share of Ventura County are ecstatic to be recipients of the Feeding America Boundless Collaboration Grant. Through this opportunity, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Food Share of Ventura County will work together to build a sustainable farmworker nutrition security program that encompasses our two counties. It is estimated there are currently over 70,000 farmworkers in each of our neighboring counties and providing access to services for this population is a top priority for both food banks.

The funds will be used to jointly address the consequential gap in our current agricultural system including the lack of equitable access to food for the farmworkers.

The scope of work for this innovative pilot project includes three main deliverables. First, in order to identify gaps in nutrition access, the project will utilize technology to map farms, farmworker housing, current programs and pantries, and potential partners in the respective regions. 

In addition, broader teams from each organization will come together to identify and prioritize culturally significant food items for farmworkers from various regions. This includes the development of food sourcing plans, partnership agreements for operational protocols and cost-sharing for future collaboration. Lastly, organizations that provide support to farmworkers will be invited to join a Farmworker Advisory Council establishing communication channels, program coordination, and sustainable support for nutrition security within this population.

Upon successful completion of the project, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Food Share of Ventura County will be eligible for additional Boundless Collaboration funding. With partner support, geographical target areas identified, and improved food sourcing and cost management, our organizations look forward to the scale-up of Healthy Farmworker programs in both counties. We aim to establish a sustainable partnership and program across both counties to best serve farmworking families and support agriculture throughout the region.

Photos courtesy Ryanne Bee Photography

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