Bounty Efforts during Kincade Fire

We at Petaluma Bounty worked around the clock in collaboration with partner organizations to continue to support the community we all love. With the threat of fire, power shut offs, hazardous air quality, or closed markets, we were there to provide support, leadership, and build the capacity of our local food shed. Petaluma Bounty is on the front line of the emergency food response- coordinating donations, seeking local sources for produce, sharing staffing and produce with Sonoma Family Meal and World Central Kitchen, providing cold storage, and publishing much needed information on food resources. We did this alongside our continued services to food insecure community members including our sliding scale farm stand and CSA as well as gleaning local produce. 

We bring our guiding principles to every aspect of our work and continue to advocate for services, policies, and an economic environment that supports our shared vision of a thriving local food system- where consumers make informed decisions; farmers make a decent living while prioritizing ecological stewardship of the land; and all people, regardless of income, have access to healthy food. We thank you for your continued actions, donations, and offers. And we ask a few things for you to consider during and after this trying time. First, please don’t let this crisis pace become your new normal- we need each other more than ever to be of sound body, mind, and spirit. Second, reflect on how you are manifesting your own guiding principles in your daily life and consider doubling down on supporting local businesses, purchasing locally grown agricultural products, and harnessing the abundance in your life for the benefit of our common good. Let your values lead you to the solutions that already exist. #thefutureislocal 

Short Term Response:

In total, the Bounty Farm contributed 265 pounds of produce to emergency kitchens and outlets, Bounty Hunters gleaners harvested over 380 pounds of produce, community donors provided 1378 pounds of food, including Petaluma City Schools and other agencies facing significant food waste due to the power shutoffs, and 688 pounds contributed by others farms.

World Central Kitchen and Sonoma Family Meal worked together to purchase produce from local farmers’ whose markets were disrupted by the fire, power shutoffs and evacuation. After the farmers’ market in Petaluma on October 26th, Bounty was able to redirect almost 700 pounds of produce from several farmers to the temporary emergency kitchens. That means that local farms were paid over $2,500 for their nutritious produce that was turned into amazing meals for first responders, people staying in shelters and others in need. Though just a small piece of the sustained efforts by Sonoma Family Meal, CAFF, and World Central Kitchen, Bounty’s extra efforts helped incorporate local farms in the emergency response.    

Long Term Response:

Though the flames are now out (thankfully), there is still plenty to learn, process, and apply to improve our process for future disasters. How we design our collective response can strengthen our local community, economy, and farms, or it can perpetuate ongoing burdens and challenges. By maintaining a systems lens, Petaluma Bounty seeks to develop policies and programs that improves our community’s response to disasters and hardships by increasing overall resilience.

Petaluma Bounty continues to work alongside researchers and educators to study the impact of urban wildfires on backyard gardens and farms affected by smoke and ash. Please see our findings and outreach material on the Sonoma County UC Cooperative Extension website. This is a burgeoning area of concern and we’re proud of the foundational work done through this study.

After the 2017 fires, Bounty leadership drove conversations to convene emergency food providers to meet discuss and learn from each other. In 2018, we helped publish a comprehensive report on the findings. Some of the recommendations were adopted and implemented before the Kincade Fire. Other recommendations still remain to be implemented. For those interested, here is a link to the comprehensive report.

Staff will continue to support development of evaluation and feedback loops to learn how we as a community can continue to improve disaster response services. We believe that the most effective approach and system design is adaptive, multi-faceted, has some redundancy, and is responsive to the community it serves. Stay tuned for continued efforts in this arena.

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