Category: News

April 9 – Foxen Canyon Wineries Hold Food Drive

Foxen Canyon Wineries Hold Food Drive For County Food Bank

From Los Olivos to the Santa Maria Valley, the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail stretches for miles, and in hopes of bringing in more customers the wineries, they are holding a special event.

Tim Snider, of Fess Parker Winery, said, “What we’re trying to do is build awareness again for all these great wineries that are out here and at the same time help the less fortunate
in the community.”

The trail is holding a food drive for the Santa Barbara County Food Bank and those who donate will get something to sip on return.

“They can come on out bring two cans of food and get a complementary wine tasting,”
said Snider.

The Foxen Canyon wineries have done a food drive before, but this time they are
trying to go bigger.

John Tevis, of Foxen, Winery said, “We did a little bit of one last year during Christmas time, but it was just a few wineries. Now we’ve got all the wineries on board and we’re really
taking it to the next level.”

Over a dozen wineries are participating in the drive, which last through April 22, and since it started during March they have already seen the donations rolling in.

“It’s been really well received so far and we are excited about it,” explained Tevis.

The wine trail is hoping this event will bring more people into their tasting rooms,
but most importantly giving back.

The group is planning on holding the drive again next year and is hopeful this event
will be a win-win for everyone.

Participating Wineries Include:

Kenneth Volk
Cambria Estate
Cottonwood Canyon
Tres Hermanas
Rancho Sisquoc
Martian Ranch
Fess Parker Winery
Zaca Mesa


PRESS: KEYT FoodBank CEO Winds Down Food Security Challenge



The FoodBank CEO is winding down his Food Security Challenge where he has lived on less than $6.50 a day for February.

At lunchtime on Tuesday, Erik Talkin made food at home instead of grabbing a quick bite to eat.

During his challenge, he’s allotted only $6.46 per day. That’s the amount of money a person on food stamps would get.

He has limited funds and can’t be picky about vegetables.

“It used to be that if something didn’t look nice, I’d throw it away and not give it a second thought. But now, it’s ‘Oh, I’ve made a big investment in that piece of broccoli. Do I really want to throw it away?'” Talkin said.

Read the full article here.


#TalkinHunger: Live Tweet Chat with Erik Talkin & Dr. John LaPuma


As a part of the Food Security Challenge, Erik Talkin (Foodbank SBC’s CEO) and Dr. John LaPuma participated in a Live Tweet Chat, #TalkinHunger, Food Security, health, nutrition, SNAP, low-income families, and more.

The conversation was lively and robust! Take a look at some of the highlights below.


Be sure to keep following Erik as he heads into his last week of the Food Security Challenge next week on Twitter and on his blog.

Want to know how you can participate for the last week? Download the Food Security Challenge Toolkit here or donate online to Foodbank here.


Food Justice at the Forefront

By Shelly Leachman and Alec Rosenberg,
UC Santa Barbara and UC Newsroom
Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Shouldn’t food be a right, not a privilege? And what is the difference between being fed and being nourished?

With a central theme of food justice, such subjects were explored during the three-day, inaugural California Higher Education Food Summit held Jan. 16-18 at UC Santa Barbara. Founded by a multicampus team of University of California staff and students, the first-of-its-kind conference is part of the ongoing UC Global Food Initiative.

The gathering convened some 150 students, staff and faculty from UC, California State University and community college campuses, and community and food agency leaders at large, to dissect and discuss the environmental, social and economic pressures that create barriers to food access, security and justice.

“All too often, the struggle students face in accessing affordable, nutritious food is marginalized,” said Katie Freeze, student chair of UCSB’s Associated Students Food Bank, which helped organize the conference. “Bringing these issues to light will enable the UC community to better address student hunger.”

And beyond.

In a wide-ranging and rousing talk addressing the “complexity and significance of food justice,” keynote speaker Nikki Silvestri said, “When we talk about justice, we are actually talking about everyone, from beginning to end.

“Locate yourself in the fight for food justice,” urged Silvestri, a noted thought leader in creating social equity and former executive director of People’s Grocery in Oakland. “Who are you? Who are your people and what is your fight? And allow yourself to be surprised by the answer.”

Silvestri’s keynote talk and a panel discussion at the summit were part of UC’s Food Equity Lecture Series, sponsored by the UC Global Food Initiative.

Increasing food security

For Colin King, a fifth-year student at UC San Diego, the fight centers on food access for college students who are struggling with hunger. Working with his campus’s Associated Students staff, King is part of the team launching UCSD’s first food pantry.

“Nourishment costs more than simply feeding yourself,” said King, who got involved after witnessing a friend fall on hard times. “He was sleeping in his car and couldn’t afford food. Seeing what he went through is what inspired me initially. Coming to this conference has been so valuable for gaining a better understanding of food insecurity UC-wide, and for the tangible things we’ve learned to take home with us, to make our own pantry and food insecurity initiatives the best that they can be.”

A similar hope coursed through the conference on behalf of the broader UC Global Food Initiative (UCGFI), which is designed to coordinate resources systemwide to help ensure adequate nutrition — starting with access to food — for all. Unveiled by UC President Janet Napolitano in July, the UCGFI is working to harness the UC’s collective excellence in research, outreach and operations in a sustained effort to develop, demonstrate and export solutions — throughout California, the U.S. and the world — for food security, health and sustainability.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and extremely bright people who want to see changes that will improve people’s health on our campuses, in our community and beyond,” said Joanna Ory, a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz and among the recently selected UCGFI fellows in attendance at the summit. “It’s a really important issue and great to see so many people who care.”

Making a difference

More than two dozen workshops held over the course of the conference tackled subjects from culinary medicine to new models for student dining, the health implications of food insecurity and the role of higher ed in the greater food system. There also were presentations on the “Swipes for the Homeless” program that UCSB and UCLA have adapted to aid food-insecure students, how to build partnerships between university campuses and local farms, and the transformational potential of campus gardens. UCGFI projects include efforts to assess food security for UC students in order to better design programs and outreach efforts focused on addressing these issues.

“Hunger is a prominent thing on college campuses,” said panelist and UC Student Regent Sadia Saifuddin of UC Berkeley, who co-leads a UCGFI working group on food pantries and food security. “Ideally, we want to eradicate hunger, but we’re not there yet. These conversations are important.”

Fortino Morales helped bring a community garden to UC Riverside while a student there. Now he staffs it as UC Riverside community garden coordinator.

The food summit “opens your mind about what’s going on other campuses and what’s possible,” Morales said. “It’s exciting that food access and equity are at the center of this conference. There is a lot of interest in food justice.”

Spreading nourishment

At UC Davis, students learn to grow produce sustainably at the student farm and sell it for use in campus dining halls or through subscription market baskets in the community. A new program collects some of what’s left — surplus, blemished or odd-shaped produce — and makes it available at the student-run food pantry.

“It’s all local. It’s all organic. The students love it. The feedback is terrific,” said Misbah Husain, UC Davis food pantry director of internal operations.

UCGFI fellow Alyssa Billys, of UC Santa Cruz, is working to help coordinate the amount of produce from the student farm that is sold to campus dining.

“We have the farm right here,” Billys said of her campus. “Why can’t we access that (produce)? Having good brought to you by students, for students, is really empowering.”

Empowerment was the prevailing spirit of the first-ever summit.

“We define food justice as communities exercising their right to grow, sell and eat healthy food that is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally appropriate, grown locally, with care for the land, for people and for animals,” said panelist D’Artagnan Scorza, founder and executive director of the Social Justice Learning Institute in Inglewood. The UCLA alum and former UC student regent added, “One way we work to empower our community members is first by listening. It’s important for us not to speak for people, but to ensure they can speak for themselves.”

PRESS KSBY: Local food bank CEO taking on 30 day challenge to raise awareness

Published: February 3, 2015

Imagine having only $6.46 to spend on food each day.

Erik Talkin, the CEO of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, is taking part in a month long Food Security Challenge. That means Talkin will eat on only $6.46 per day.

That figure is the equivalent of what he would receive in food stamps if he was in need and was single, unemployed, and a non-dependent person, according to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.


PRESS KEYT: Surviving On Less Than $6.50 A Day

Published: February 2, 2015

FoodBank Santa Barbara County CEO Erik Talkin is taking the Food Security Challenge to bring to light the difficulties of living on food stamps.

“For me in Santa Barbara County, it gives me $6.46 per day to live on. So that’s what I’m trying to do for a month,” he said.

Day one started with no food at all. He fasted to know what it’s like to go hungry.

Talkin said instead of losing weight over the next 30 days, he might actually gain some. People on a budget tend to go somewhere inexpensive and that often means unhealthy food.

“People are spending their money on empty calories, processed food. It’s not about starvation it’s about malnutrition through poor nutrition. That’s what I have to try and target. Can I get good food for my money?”


Santa Barbara County Foodbank’s Growing Clientele

Santa Maria Times
December 16, 2014


Santa Barbara County Foodbank uncovers information about growing clientele

Many working families made tough choices in Santa Barbara County to make ends meet and ensure there was food on the table over the past year, according to the Hunger in America 2014 study released by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Feeding America.

Of the 140,575 residents served by the foodbank, more than 70 percent of households reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or transportation in the past 12 months. The same struggle was seen in 60 percent of client households that had to choose between food and medicine or medical care during the same period.

“In Santa Barbara County, faces of food insecurity and hunger may not stand out from the crowd, but the poverty of working families, and the day-to-day trade-offs that the study brought to light are alarming,” said foodbank CEO Erik Talkin. “It’s hard to imagine facing the choice between your family going hungry or being able to pay for the transportation you need to get to your job, or the housing you need to shelter your family.”

These struggles have led more than 70 percent of households served by the foodbank to adopt three or more strategies to stretch their food budgets.

These game plans could involve eating food past its expiration date, buying cheap and unhealthy food in lieu of healthier options, growing food in gardens or selling personal items to pay for groceries. Families may also dilute foods and drinks to make them last longer.

 “The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken, whose organization is the nation’s largest hunger-relief agency. One of those findings was that 35 percent of clients had not signed up for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. In Santa Barbara County, those benefits fall under CalFresh, and county staff pointed to a number of reasons why people do not apply for benefits for which they may be qualified. They may worry about their immigration status, assume it would be difficult to apply or stay enrolled in programs and assume they are not eligible, according to Dennis Tivey in the county social service department.

“The Hunger in America 2014 findings demonstrate the urgent need for all of us to address hunger in our communities,” said Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken, whose organization is the nation’s largest hunger-relief agency. One of those findings was that 35 percent of clients had not signed up for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. In Santa Barbara County, those benefits fall under CalFresh, and county staff pointed to a number of reasons why people do not apply for benefits for which they may be qualified. They may worry about their immigration status, assume it would be difficult to apply or stay enrolled in programs and assume they are not eligible, according to Dennis Tivey in the county social service department.

Hunger is an especially timely topic in Santa Barbara County where about a quarter of the population sought out food assistance in 2013. Of those clients, 49,729 were children and 21,750 were 60 years or older.

“The number of people being served continues to grow,” said Judy Monte, development manager at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “So, we know that we need to help not just give a man a fish, so to speak, but teach him to fish.”

Food insecurity has stressed many areas of families’ lives over the past year, with 52 percent of client households having had to choose between buying food and paying rent or the mortgage at least once along with other struggles.

With this information and the other data available in the 2014 report, the foodbank plans to strengthen its community impact efforts, which focus on the affect the foodbank is having and can have on hunger in communities around the county. It also plans to develop its Food Action Plan, which will lead to a more sustainable food system in the future.

“Foodbanks used to talk in pounds of food, and some still do,” said Bonnie Campbell, foodbank director of community impact. “We don’t use that language anymore. We talk about meals, how we can get them out there and how we can shorten the line.”