Monthly Archives: March 2014

Drought Impacts the Foodbank

California drought conditions are already impacting the Foodbank.

The demand for Foodbank resources is highest during the winter months. The drought is already compounding the situation, leaving the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County trying to feed more people with less.

Today our cooler shelves are down 75% of their normal capacity, due to rising prices and a drop in produce donations from the farms we work with throughout California. We are looking to the community to help us rise to the challenge so we can continue to provide the nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables we distribute to children, families and seniors countywide through our programs and those of our 330 member nonprofit partners.

We encourage our local community to get involved however they can, by making a donation or by participating in Foodbank’s Backyard Bounty Program.

Make a donation online or by mail:

Donate online: 2010donate

Donations may also be mailed  to the Foodbank’s Santa Barbara or Santa Maria warehouse locations at:

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, 4554 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93110

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, 490 W. Foster Road, Santa Maria, CA 93455

Donate produce through the Backyard Bounty program:

  • Harvest Your Own Yard: pick the fruit when it’s ripe and bring it to our North or South County warehouse; for larger harvest, the Foodbank can arrange a pick-up.

We are seeking the following produce items:

Swiss Chard
Sweet Potatoes

  • Get Help from the Community: If you are unable to harvest or deliver your own fruit and have less than 5 trees, contact Foodbank to arrange a neighborhood harvest,
  • If you have trees or an orchard, contact Foodbank to arrange a Harvest with Backyard Bounty.
  • For more information or to schedule, visit the Backyard Bounty Program page or email Jill Drewisch.



Butter Lettuce Nectarine Salad


1/3 cup walnuts
5 cups butter lettuce or any type of lettuce
2 ripe nectarines, pitted and sliced
2 tbls bottled raspberry vinaigrette dressing


  • Add walnuts to a skillet placed over medium, high heat.
  • Toast nuts until they start to deeply brown in spots and smell fragrant. Set aside.
  • Wash and dry lettuce and tear into bite sized pieces. Place lettuce in a large serving bowl and add nectarines.
  • Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss gently to coat.
  • Sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

Serves 4, serving size 11/2 cups


Colorful Kale Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serving size: 1 ½ cups
Servings: 3
Tastes: 6


  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
  • 4 cups finely chopped kale, tough ribs removed
  • 2 cups finely chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 2 apples, grated with peels on
  • 2 Tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds


  • In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • In a large bowl, mix together the kale, red cabbage, carrots, and apples
  • Pour dressing over the kale mixture and toss to combine.
  • Ideally cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, until the kale begins to soften and wilt
  • Sprinkle with sunflower seeds immediately before serving



March 24-June 1: Collection for Yard Sale

Yard Sale to benefit the Foodbank

Mary Rogers and friends are collecting gently used items to be sold at a yard sale June 6th and 7th from 9 am – 2 pm to benefit the Foodbank.

Suggested donations include:

  • Clothes
  • Toys
  • Furniture
  • Linens
  • Dishes
  • Silverware
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Bicycles
  • Books
  • CDs
  • Art supplies
  • Etc.


Please deliver all donations to 334 East Arrellaga Street before June 1st. Call 805-450-1599 with any questions. Thank you!!


Strawberries vital to local, state economy


FB_StrawberriesFreshly picked strawberries wait to be moved at Manzanita Berry Farms in Santa Maria, The California Strawberry Commission released a first-ever state wide economic report detailing the $3.4 billion economic contributions of strawberry farming to the state.

March 19, 2014 12:45 am  •  Erin Lennon /
Strawberries may be a delightful addition to just about any meal, but they’re a staple in California’s economy and a key element of Santa Barbara County’s vital agriculture industry.

A report released Tuesday by the California Strawberry Commission based in Watsonville, explains just how large a role this fruit plays in the local and statewide economy.

California’s 400 family-owned strawberry farms grow 90 percent of the United States’ strawberries, with the industry directly and indirectly contributing $3.4 billion to the state’s economy. In Northern California alone, nearly 2 billion strawberry plants grow in open fields from October to February, according to the report, called Sustaining California Communities: Economic Contributions of Strawberry Farming.

Strawberries are the state’s number one crop in value per acre, with California farmers growing the bulk of the nation’s strawberries on less than one percent of the state’s total farmland. Strawberries are also the fourth highest value crop and the sixth overall agriculture commodity in the state.

In Santa Barbara County, strawberries comprised $367 million of county’s fruit and nut crop in 2011, which was worth a total of $520 million. In 2012, strawberries headlined the county’s agriculture sector, which was worth nearly $1.3 billion in total production value.

The strawberry industry also provides 70,000 jobs around the state, mainly in the North and along the coast, including Santa Barbara County.

These positions encompass 30 categories, according to the commission, employing locals on farms, in the classroom, in research labs, in distribution centers and on the road.

“I think a lot of our children really understand the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Liz Powell, Food Services Coordinator at the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. “Many of the parents probably pick the strawberries for the different farmers in the area, and then the students get to eat them.”

California’s strawberry farmers invest 97 cents of every farm dollar back into the community, whether it be for worker pay, equipment or taxes.

Approximately 35 percent of the crop value goes toward labor costs. Strawberry farming creates $108 million annually in statewide tax revenue. In some areas, strawberry farmers pay more in payroll taxes than the salaries of all the area’s elementary school teachers, according to the commission’s report.

Strawberry growers also contribute their time, financial resources and in-kind donations to food banks and other charitable organizations. Local growers have been known to donate strawberries to the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County during their peak growing season, said Paul Ramirez, foodbank warehouse manager.

Santa Barbara County’s agriculture sector annually contributes $2.8 billion to the county’s economy, employing more than 21,000 workers, according to the report.



Filling those empty bowls

March 16, 2014 12:00 am  •  Roger McConnell

We hear so much about what we shouldn’t eat – too much sugar, too much fat – it’s easy to forget getting to choose what we eat is a luxury for those of us lucky enough to have plenty.

One in six Americans isn’t so lucky. That’s how many people struggle with hunger and food insecurity in this country. No community is immune, including our own.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County handed out more than 8.5 million meals from its warehouse locations in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara in 2013. The Foodbank also distributes food to over 300 social service programs and agencies, churches and community groups. Nearly half of those served are under the age of 18.

It takes a lot of people pledging their resources to make the Foodbank the beacon of hope for so many. That’s why those of us at the Stillman Capital Group feel it’s important to do what we can to support the Foodbank.

Here’s how you can help: Buy a ticket to this year’s Empty Bowls event. On Wednesday, March 26, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., we’ll hold the 10th Annual Lompoc Empty Bowls at the DickDeWeesCommunity Center, 1120 W. Ocean Ave. It’s your opportunity to pick a unique handmade bowl that you get to take home and enjoy a simple and delicious meal of soup and bread, all for a donation of $25.

That money will go toward providing services to Lompoc-area families, individuals and children who need your help to end hunger and transform the health of our community. Tickets are available online at, or at the door. We’ll see you on the 26th.


Commentary: Foodbank of Santa Barbara County seeks to help area seniors

Amigos805-logoMarch 13, 2014
Commentary: Foodbank of Santa Barbara County seeks to help area seniors
By Frank X. Moraga / Amigos805
Frank X. Moraga
Sunny beaches, vibrant retail centers and an improving housing market seem to indicate that the 805 region has weathered the worst of the economic storm of the Great Recession.

But just in time to dim that image is a new report on the region’s senior population by Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Did you know that one in 14 seniors in Santa Barbara County live in poverty?

And did you also know that Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is helping those seniors by providing two bags of groceries each month to help them supplement their food budgets?

In fact, Foodbank reports the average recipient of its “Brown Bag” program is a 75-year-old woman living on less than $900 per month, who struggles to pay for housing, health care and basic needs.

To help those seniors, Foodbank provides 15 Brown Bag distribution sites throughout Santa Barbara County. Each Brown Bag contains high-protein items, canned soup, pasta, cereal, eggs, bread and seasonal fruits and vegetables, the agency reported.

The program’s 100 plus volunteers, many who are Brown Bag recipients, are essential to the success of the program, officials reported. Volunteers help assemble bags of groceries for more than 1,300 seniors countywide and make home deliveries to about 400 seniors with health limitations who are unable to pick up their own bags.

There are plans in the works to expand Brown Bag to include cooking classes, information sessions on nutrition and gardening education for seniors.

Brown Bag distribution sites are located in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. To find out if you qualify or how to apply, call 805-967-5741, ext. 102.

For more information about the program, contact Community Programs Coordinator Eloisa Chavez at 805-967-5741, ext. 102 or send an email to
— Frank X. Moraga is editor/publisher of Amigos805. He has served as business editor, director of diversity and general manager of a bilingual publication at the Ventura County Star, and as a reporter in the community editions of the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Daily News.


Foodbank to Host Inaugural Santa Barbara Fork &Cork Classic on Sunday, June 1st at Montecito Country Club

PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Originally published 6:31 p.m., March 4, 2014 Updated 6:31 p.m., March 4, 2014

Proceeds will benefit Foodbank’s over 300 local nonprofit partners


The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is pleased to announce the inaugural Santa Barbara Fork & Cork Classic taking place Sunday, June 1st from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Montecito Country Club, 920 Summit Road in Montecito.

“We look forward to hosting the first annual Santa Barbara Fork& Cork Classic and invite the entire community to participate,” said Erik Talkin, CEO, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “Many in our community rely on the nutritious food distributed by Foodbank. By taking part in this event, you are helping to support the over 300 local nonprofit partners Foodbank works with annually to supply healthy produce and staples.”

The event will honor: Chef Michael Blackwell of Montecito Country Club; Leslie Mead Renaud, Director of Winemaking at Foley Estate, Lincourt and Two Sisters; and Clarissa Nagy, Winemaker at Riverbench for their leadership in the local food and wine industries. Proceeds from the Santa Barbara Fork &Cork Classic will benefit Foodbank’s over 300 local nonprofit partners and Foodbank youth programs like Teens Love Cooking (TLC), a seven week long after school program that provides middle school-aged teenagers the opportunity to learn hands on cooking skills and improve their knowledge of food and nutrition.

A sneak peak at Tastes featured at the event include: Blush Restaurant and Bar, Ca’Dario, Finch & Fork at the Canary, Intermezzo, The Lark, Montecito Country Club, The Secret Ingredient, Whole Foods Market, Santa Barbara Gift Baskets, Restaurant Bella Vista at the Four Seasons, and Via Maestra 42. Wineries and Other Sips include: Blair Fox, Buttonwood, Carr Winery, Cass Winery, DeepSea, Dierberg and Star Lane Wineries, Jaffurs, Foley Estate, Firestone Winery, La Fenetre, Lincourt, Luna Olivo, Nagy Wines, Qupe, Riverbench Vineyard, Sans Liege Wines, William James Cellars, Zaca Mesa, and Cutler’s Artisan Spirits.

Current sponsors are First Click and Mentor as Platinum Spoon Sponsors and Courtland-Dane, FastSpring, and Village Properties as Silver Spoon Sponsors.

Pre-Sale General Admission tickets are $65 or $75 at the door. Pre-Sale VIP tickets are $95 or $125 at the door. VIP tickets include admission to the event, a fun-filled swag bag and additional perks. To purchase tickets, learn about volunteer opportunities or to see the latest list of restaurant and winery event partners, visit 

For sponsorship or exhibitor opportunities, please contact Misha Karbelnig at (805) 967-5741 x119 or

About the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

The Foodbank is celebrating over 30 years of eliminating hunger and food insecurity by distributing nutritious food, education, and other resources through its own programs and to a network of over 300 member non-profit partners and programs in Santa BarbaraCounty. Last year, the Foodbank distributed what translates into more than 8.5 million meals – of which fully half was fresh produce. This served over 102,000 unduplicated people from Carpinteria to Santa Maria, an amazing 1 in 4 people. For the fifth consecutive time, the Foodbank has recently been given a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities. Only 4% of the charities rated have received at least 5 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Foodbank of Santa Barbara County outperforms most other charities in America. More information at