Aligning with the Food Security Taskforce, with a goal to create a more food secure community, we encourage you to engage with the vibrant and inclusive food culture found in the Santa Barbara community. We believe that food should be easy to find, affordable, and nutritious to reflect the diverse agricultural landscape of California, from the incredible selection of fresh produce from local farms present in farmers markets to the farming communities in the outskirts of town that boast an impressive array of a wide variety of items delivered to our town's eateries.
Food, Nutrition & Basic Skills
This easily downloadable and printable food resource map focuses on the UCSB campus resources, partners and programs with a short statement on what they offer. The grid below explores many of the resources in the Santa Barbara County area that may assist you with your nutritional needs.
The 14 Isla Vista and campus gardens and farms address food insecurity by re-purposing underutilized spaces on campus as areas for food production. These programs empower the community to be leaders of our food system. The gardens not only serve as a productive outdoor activity, but also as an entry way to socialize and develop connections with the land and output. For a full list of community gardens in and around Isla Vista and UCSB please visit https://food.ucsb.edu/gardens
Do you need help putting food on the table? CalFresh (also known as Food Stamps or SNAP) may be able to help.
CalFresh is a supplemental program that helps limited-income individuals and families buy the food they need in order to stay healthy. Monthly benefits are provided on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that works just like a bank debit card to buy food at most grocery stores and markets (including some Farmers Markets).
Who is eligible for CalFresh? Generally, households must have gross income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) and net income (after certain deductions) below 100% of FPG. You must be a citizen or legal resident to receive CalFresh (undocumented individuals are not eligible, but can apply for their children if the children are legal residents or citizens).
There are many myths about CalFresh eligibility for certain populations. If you are a student, senior citizen, immigrant, or former foster youth, please don't assume that you can't qualify: talk to Social Services, or check out these fact sheets (double-sided English/Spanish).
How can I apply? You can apply online (it's fast and easy), visit one of the Santa Barbara County Social Services offices or outstations, or call the toll-free automated phone number (1-866-404-4007). Eligibility is based on the information you provide on your CalFresh application and any required verifications. You may request expedited (faster) service in certain emergency circumstances (such as little or no cash, and/or emergency need for housing).
Community Supported Agriculture: organic, fresh, from John Givens Farm to your door.
Weekly shares of freshly picked, 100% organic produce. Vegetable boxes come in a variety of sizes, so you can customize for your family. Offering pickup sites in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, Buellton, Solvang, Santa Ynez, and Lompoc -- or we will deliver right to your office or home.
UCSB Pickup Location:
UCSB Ocean Science Education Building, 514, MC 6155
Wednesday, 3pm - 6pm
has expanded distribution sites for fresh produce and other groceries. 1 in 4 people locally, receive food support through our 300 programs and partners annually.
A Sampling of current Foodbank Programming:
The Foodbank maintains over 50 active food distribution sites in order to meet the growing community need in the wake of COVID-19. Click here to download the list in English and Spanish. Haga clic aquí para descargar la lista en inglés y español.
The Backyard Bounty Program is a gleaning program. Gleaning means to gather leftover produce after a harvest. In this case, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County gleans produce from backyards, gardens, farms, and orchards in the Santa Barbara area and redistributes them to those in our community who face hunger and food insecurity. If you would like to let the Foodbank know about a property eligible to be gleaned, please fill out this form.
Feed the Future is a series of sequential, innovative programs designed to foster nutritional independence and health in children, from the womb to high school graduation.
- Food Literacy in Preschool
- Kids Farmers Market provides free produce and education to children of families who may experience an unmet need for a reliable produce source.
- Teens Love Cooking is an after-school program that provides middle schoolers/teens the opportunity to become independent and kitchen savvy through learning valuable kitchen and cooking skills.
- Picnic in the Park program provides free lunches to children under 18 Monday – Friday countywide during school breaks. Everyone is welcome; no sign-up or registration process. To find a location near you, please text “SUMMERFOOD” to 877-877.
- Healthy School Pantry brings nutritious food, food demos, food stamp outreach, health screenings, nutrition and physical education, and gardening instruction to a pre-determined local school. Participating families leave with a bag of fresh produce and food staples, a recipe of what they can cook with their food, and other resources and tools to help their family make nutritious choices and manage financial situations.
SAFE Home Delivery is a home delivery service for low income seniors who are homebound and/or have no social supports to pick up food on their behalf. To become a participant, please fill out the application below. North County Brown Bag Application | South County Brown Bag Application; or call CALL 805-357-5761.
Mobile Farmers Market brings food distributions to low-income neighborhoods throughout Santa Barbara County. Anyone is welcome to come to pick up groceries free of charge; no sign-up or registration process necessary. Mobile Food Pantries distribute nutritional staples like rice, beans, canned goods, bread, protein items, and fresh produce, while Mobile Farmers’ Markets provide only fresh fruits and vegetables. Click here to find the location nearest you.
Downtown Santa Barbara | Saturday | 8:00am-1:00pm | 119 E. Cota St., Santa Barbara CA
Goleta Market | Sunday | 10:00am-2:00pm | Camino Real Marketplace | 7004 Marketplace Dr., Goleta CA
Oldtown Santa Barbara | Tuesday | 3:00pm-7:00pm | 600-800 blocks of State Street, Santa Barbara CA
Solvang Market | Wednesday | 2:30pm-6:30pm | 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive, cross street First St., Solvang CA
Montecito Market | Friday | 8:00am-11:15am | Montecito business sector | 1100 & 1200 blocks of Coast Village Rd.
Carpinteria Market | Thursday | 3:00pm-6:30pm | 800 block of Linden Ave., Carpinteria CA
Gaucho Bucks is a prepaid spending account on your Access Card offering a convenient and secure way to make purchases on and around campus. Make prepaid purchases with UCSB's campus currency at all on-campus food facilities, the Bookstore, Student Health and select off-campus merchants. Staff can sign up for convenient payroll deductions, making budgeting for lunch a snap!
Benefits of Gaucho Bucks
- Accepted – Welcomed at the places you need and want to go.
- Convenient – Make purchases with the ID Card you already carry. No need to carry cash, exact change, or debit/credit cards.
- Prepaid – Only spend what you have. No costs, interest or fees to add value or use the account. Your account balance is immediately adjusted as you use your card.
- Easy to Add Value – Add funds to your account with a debit/credit card online 24/7!
- 24/7 Account Access – Add value, view transaction history, establish a guest account and more! Once registered, you are in total control of your account 24/7!
- Safe & Secure – If you lose your Access Card, you can suspend your account and have the value transferred to a new card.
- Carries Over – Gaucho Bucks carries over each quarter and year for as long as you are a member of the University community.
The Arbor and Tenaya Market & Eatery also accept CalFresh, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a USDA program offering nutrition assistance to millions of eligible individuals and families.
Whether you are looking for help managing a chronic disease, preventing the onset of nutrition-related problems, or need guidance with food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances, our professionals will provide the highest level of nutrition education. We can also provide personally tailored advice for those seeking to enhance their health, motivation and progress, start a healthy eating program that will yield lasting results or improve overall quality of life.
Registration: To sign up for private nutrition consulting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Services include but are not limited to:
- Individual or Group Nutrition Counseling
- Group Education and Workshops
- Meal Planning
- Cooking and Food Preparation Demonstrations
- Grocery Store Tours
WIC is a nutrition program for women, infants and children. WIC helps families by providing checks for buying healthy foods, nutrition and breastfeeding education and support, and referrals to health care and community services.
- Pregnant women
- Postpartum women until 6 months
- Breastfeeding women until 1 year
- Children under the age of five including foster children
- Live or work in Santa Barbara County
- Be in a category served by WIC:
- Pregnant women
- New Mothers
- Children up to age 5
- Demonstrate a need for WIC foods by having a nutrition need
- Have an income below 185% federal poverty level (see guidelines) and/or receive Medi-Cal, CalFresh or Case Aid.
- Working Families May qualify
The Isla Vista Food Co-op is Santa Barbara County's only community-owned grocery store. The Co-op was founded over 40 years ago by students and Isla Vistans who wanted to ensure that the community would always have neighborhood access to high quality and affordable food, and that our local farmers and producers would have a dedicated store to sell to. The Co-op is open to the public and participates in many campus and community events to help share resources to make grocery shopping fun and affordable, and most importantly, to keep investing back into Isla Vista so that everyone can benefit from having a grocery store that everyone owns together. We've accepted Cal-Fresh (food stamps) since the day our doors opened in 1972.