Our Story

Executive Summary

Most small scale farmers can’t afford to feed low-income people (since they are low-income) and most low-income consumers can’t afford to buy locally grown produce. This is a systems problem and Petaluma Bounty seeks to design community solutions. We push beyond hunger relief toward hunger prevention and community food security through programming that expands our community’s capacity to feed ourselves to achieve community food security.

Through our programs, Petaluma Bounty is improving the quality of food offered by emergency food distributors through the Bounty Hunters gleaning program. We are increasing low-income consumers’ purchasing power through local affordable food incentives such Market Match, sliding scale farm stands and CSA memberships, as well as maximizing awareness and participation in federal food programs such as WIC, SNAP, and Meals on Wheels. We are increasing food literacy – knowledge of how food is grown and where it comes from – for children, youth and adults. We are changing attitudes and appetites for healthy food and active lifestyles. We are expanding our community’s capacity to grow its own food by supporting the construction of community gardens and empowering others by sharing our knowledge. And finally, we are engaging our whole community to become active, informed agents of change of their food system.

History

Petaluma Bounty grew out of a 2004 Community Needs Assessment commissioned by the Hub of Petaluma Foundation to determine Petaluma’s greatest unmet community need. It revealed many seniors, low-income families with young children and individuals were struggling to afford adequate nutrition. Research with local emergency food providers and Petaluma residents revealed that the demand for emergency food was growing. The response that emerged was Petaluma Bounty, a multifaceted community food security initiative, launched in 2006 with the Bounty Hunters gleaning program and an initiative to start community gardens.

In 2008, the Bounty Community Farm, an urban educational farm site opened its doors to grow food with community for community. On October 1, 2012 Petaluma Bounty became a program of Petaluma People Services Center (PPSC). PPSC was incorporated on December 2, 1976 and is a 501(c)3 private nonprofit organization. PPSC is dedicated to improving the social and economic health of our community by providing programs that strengthen the dignity and self-sufficiency of the individual.

As a Program of PPSC, Petaluma Bounty’s mission is healthy food for everyone through collaboration, education and promoting self-reliance. We seek to foster a thriving local food system while improving low income families’ access to sustainably grown, local food.

Accomplishments as of 2016:

  • Collected and distributed close to 630,000 pounds of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables to Petaluma children, families and seniors in need through the Bounty Hunters gleaning program;
  • Created seven community gardens and numerous backyard gardens with the help of the Garden Starts and Backyard Bounty where families grow their own healthy food and strengthen their connection to the land and their community;
  • Welcomed thousands of children and adults to the Bounty Community Farm to learn about our local food system and the importance of eating sustainably grown produce;
  • Created valuable partnerships with health care organizations and long-term programs such as Petaluma Health Center’s PLAY and Gestational Diabetes Group; St. Joseph Health “Your Heart, Your Health”; and Kaiser Permanente making fresh, locally grown produce available to people in need; and
  • Created farm education and internship programs at the Bounty Community Farm, and established important partnerships for growth including: PPSC Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps, Sonoma County Experience Works, Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College, and Conservation Corps North Bay.
  • Through the Farmers’ Market LIFE Program (operated at 12 markets across Sonoma and Marin County) over $46,000 was distributed in CalFresh and $37,000 was distributed in incentives resulting in a total of $83,000 spent on healthy, fresh, locally grown food.

For more information on our unique approach, please click here.