Imagine a community with prolific, thriving, family farms that supply the local schools, hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores and even prisons with nourishing, locally produced food. SLO County is capable of becoming such a community, and the Central Coast Ag Network (CCAN) is working hand-in-hand with many others to bring this vision to fruition.
CCAN will be using a portion of the funding recently awarded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture to provide the community with a clearer picture of our county’s capacity for agricultural production through a Food System Assessment. This research will build upon data and resources that have already been gathered by affiliate organizations such as the SLO County Foodbank Coalition’s Hunger Free Communities Study and the Center for Sustainability’s Central Coast Foodshed Guide.
CCAN’s Food System Assessment will help us to strengthen our local food system by seeking community input and involving a variety of stakeholders from all levels of our local food supply chain, that is to say “from seed to table, and everyone in between.” Increasing institutional buying of local produce by improving farm to school programs is one goal of this endeavor, but in order to fully shape the scope of the study, more community input is needed. The Assessment is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2013.