Capital Campaign

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Looking for Land Donation to Replace Inadequate Warehouse

In urgent need of more space to serve both the one in four residents of the County whom the Foodbank currently assists, and also the greater public in the event of a disaster, the Foodbank seeks a land donation to build a new warehouse in the South County.

Santa Barbara, CA, November 30, 2015 – The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the County’s primary distributor of food to those in need and the only source for healthy food storage and distribution in Santa Barbara during a disaster, is seeking a land donation to house a larger and functionally-advanced storage and distribution food warehouse.

“Currently we don’t have the capacity to accept all the food we need to serve the County,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank. ”We turn away 2.2 million pounds of food every year, which equates to 1.8 million meals that could feed an additional 20,000 families yearly. This is a waste of an increasingly valuable resource.”

The Foodbank is the recipient of several national awards for its innovative food distribution and educational programs. The Foodbank provides food for over three hundred nonprofit agencies and programs countywide, distributing 9.7 million pounds of food yearly. However, the limited warehouse space in the Foodbank’s South County facility means that food must be turned away, and creates inefficiencies in the operations and unnecessary costs.

“Our current facility, off Hollister Avenue, in Goleta, does not have a loading dock, and so most of the food that serves the South County has to be received at our North County warehouse due to limited capacity at our Santa Barbara facility,” added Talkin. “This not only reduces food shelf life, but adds 31,200 miles, $175,000 in staff time, and $19,000 in fuel costs annually to our local food distribution model.”

The Foodbank is a member of Feeding America, the nationwide network of regional food banks, as well as the sole distributor of government USDA food, and during a major disaster, the Foodbank would serve as the central hub for food distribution from across the United States to local agencies such as The Salvation Army, Red Cross, and others. However, the many limitations at the South County facility threatens the emergency response for all County residents.

“In our current facility, responding to a disaster is a huge challenge,” added Talkin. “Because of the limitation of our current South County facility, our existing distribution model relies on a supply line from the North County. If that were to be cut in a disaster, this would seriously affect our ability to keep Santa Barbara fed and healthy.”

The Foodbank has leased its current warehouse site for $1 a year for 25 years from the County of Santa Barbara.  However, the County has informed the Foodbank that it cannot improve its current site due to zoning restrictions and the recently adopted Eastern Goleta Valley Community Plan, which designated the site as a future park. Meanwhile, the County has no additional appropriately zoned land available to offer the Foodbank.

Specifically, the Foodbank is looking for land that meets the following criteria:

  • Zoned industrial or commercial
  • Two acres of usable land or greater
  • With or without a structure
  • On Santa Barbara’s South Coast, preferably near downtown Santa Barbara
  • Adequate ingress/egress for box trucks and occasional semi-trucks
  • If a building exists, a minimum of 20,000 square feet of warehouse space, 3,000 feet of cooler/freezer space, 4,500 of office/training space, and 19 usable feet in height
  • Good access to Highway 101
  • Parking for at least 30 vehicles

For more information contact Foodbank CEO Erik Talkin at 805-967-5741 x100 or