The Santa Barbara region has come together to collectively address the opportunities and challenges of unmet basic needs among its higher education institutions. In an effort to identify and mobilize the sustainability of reliable access to adequate and nutritious sustenance, the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan (SB FAP) addresses investment areas in its local food system from farm to fork. The completion of the plan, was only the first step.  The Community Environmental Council, SB Foundation, and SB County Food Book launched a series of impact groups to execute the goals of the food action plan.  One such effort is the Higher Education Impact Group which is comprised of educational professionals who work tirelessly to implement a tangible solution in increasing basic needs security through outreach education and skill-building.

There have been major findings that food insecurity problems are an experience across multiple Californian universities, and are suggestive of other hardships such as a greater risk of homelessness. The research daunting though it may be, is vital in building a network of resources to leverage strengths that encourage healthy outcomes for individuals and Santa Barbara as a whole. The resiliency of campuses in Santa Barbara to increase resources for its holistic community success has paved the way for exciting partnerships supported by the Santa Barbara Foundation. The LEAF grant engages the collaboration of UCSB, SBCC, Allan Hancock and Westmont colleges to launch a speaker series and this online hub of available services. Additionally, Westmont college is in the process of applying for a USDA grant to collect detailed data on the effectiveness of current efforts and a comprehensive needs assessment to improve on efforts on each campus and to create a wider reach of resources.