Healthy food for everyone
Growing a thriving, local food system through collaboration, education, and promoting self-reliance.
For a pdf of our Year End Report, please click here.
In 2006, Petaluma Bounty was founded to address the lack of access to healthy food for low-income families and seniors. Six years later, the Bounty became a program of Petaluma People Services Center. In 2014, Petaluma Bounty set out to revitalize our mission to grow 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. Petaluma Bounty Facilitates hands-on opportunities for all community members to improve their relationship to farmers and food producers, revalue food as a cornerstone for well-being, and build the capacity of our community to grow more food ourselves and each other.
Thanks to the support of over 965 volunteers, 3,562 volunteer hours, 6 interns, 8 EcoYouth Corps trainees, cash donations, grants and in-kind materials, along with the backing of partnering non-profit agencies, our 2.75 staff members coordinated and managed these core programs:
Local Food Access Incentives (LFAI’s) Make locally grown food more affordable for all people by maximizing utilization of existing federal, state and local programs such as SNAP, WIC, Senior Farmers Market Coupons; increasing the purchasing power of low-income neighbors; and incentivizing the purchase of healthful food as a cost saving method to addressing diet-related diseases and conditions. These initiatives include Farmers’ Market L.I.F.E., Bounty Farmacy, and Sponsor-A-Box. They have multiple projected benefits including increasing consumption of locally grown produce by low-income community members, improving the economic viability of local farms, and reducing the distance and disconnect between consumers and farmers.
The Bounty Community Farm Located in central Petaluma, the farm serves as an urban demonstration site for sustainable farming through volunteer opportunities, internships, job training, workshops, community events and educational programming for youth, families, and the public. Cultivating community through food, the Bounty Farm harvested 11,280 pounds of sustainably grown vegetables and fruits. Along with bi-weekly volunteer opportunities, the farm hosted 27 community groups and schools for service learning and work days.
Petaluma Bounty Hunters Provides fresh, nutritious food to low-income families and seniors. Gleaned by volunteers from backyards, orchards, farmers’ markets, and local farms, the Bounty Hunters program distributes the produce to Petaluma Inter-Faith Pantries, The Senior Nutrition Center, COTS Kitchen, PEP Housing, and low-income housing centers throughout Petaluma.
Alignment with Preventive Healthcare Agencies As a leader in relationship building around food and community, Petaluma Bounty seeks to align food access efforts with preventive health agencies in our community to address diet-related diseases. Additionally, we are linking healthy behavior change to fostering a hands-on relationship to food growing and local farms. Initiatives include P.L.A.Y. and Produce Prescriptions.
Grow your Own Petaluma Bounty supports existing gardens and gardeners in Petaluma while tapping into community resources to provide training and expertise for groups and service agencies that would like their own on-site gardens. Petaluma Bounty provides mentorship, start-up guidance, resources and plant starts to backyard, school, community and agency gardens.
Our 2014, and continued program goals are to: (1) Improve access to healthy food for low-income families and seniors while improving the economic viability of local farms; (2) Foster positive relationships to food and increase healthy behaviors and lifestyles for all people; and (3) Expand engagement, collaboration and capacity to create a healthy food system with methods that empower all community members into action and moves away from emergency food distribution systems.
Improved access to healthy food for low-income families and seniors through LFAI’s, partnering with nutrition and preventive health agencies, and supplementing emergency food outlets.
• The Bounty Farm Stand (renamed the Bounty Farmacy) operated at the Petaluma Health Center for the second year. The cost of food was reduced 40% for self-identified low-income customers and CalFresh was cheerfully accepted. Sales to low income customers increased approximately 297% from $926.30 in 2013 to $3,680 in 2014.
• Launched Farmers’ Market L.I.F.E. (Local Incentive for Food and Economy) to coordinate and expand matching incentives provided to CalFresh users at Petaluma Farmers’ Markets.
• Provided 480 Bounty Boxes of fresh produce, free of cost, to 60 low-income families enrolled in the P.L.A.Y. and Smart Starts Programs during the 2014 season, culminating in approximately 3,400 pounds of fruits and vegetables.
• Bounty Hunters harvested, recovered and redistributed over 145,000 pounds (or 290,000 servings) of fresh food and distributed it to 8 local non-profit agencies serving people in need, including COTS Kitchen, PPSC, the Senior Nutrition Center, Interfaith Pantry, and other local food pantries.
Provided educational activities that foster positive relationships to food and farming and increase healthy behaviors through hands-on activities.
• 60 families were provided training through the P.L.A.Y. Program which included 8 on-farm visits
• 8 Sonoma County Eco-Youth Corps workers had their first summer job experience on the Bounty Farm.
• 6 College interns completed their training in sustainable farming practices, community outreach, and nonprofit management.
• 27 groups engaged in service-learning at the Bounty Farm – representing two Alternative Spring Breaks; Service Clubs from Casa Grande, SRJC, SSU, Rotary, Interact and more; 4 Local Businesses; and 5 Elementary and Junior High Schools.
• Over 810 volunteer shifts and 2,220 volunteer hours logged at the Bounty Farm.
Expanded our community’s capacity to create a healthy food system and move away from emergency food banks through connecting people to existing resources, promoting skills and opportunities to grow your own, and engaging and empowering people most impacted by food insecurity.
• Published a CalFresh Toolkit for Farmers to encourage more farmers to accept CalFresh. This guide was a collaborative project and is now used throughout the state of California.
• Published and distributed hundreds of Food Resource Guides to partner agencies and low-income consumers seeking free and reduced price food in Southern Sonoma County.
• Consulted, shared resources, and mentored local school, and community and agency gardens on good horticulture and organizational practices. Donated hundreds of plant starts and tools to gardens in limited resource communities.
• Started and sold thousands of fruit and vegetable plants during the Annual Bounty Plant Sale, the first in the county to accept CalFresh.
• Petaluma Bounty staff educated hundreds of students and community members in 12 public speaking engagements.
• Hired a bilingual Bounty Hunters Coordinator to engage the Spanish speaking and food insecure communities to participate in gleaning activities. Four trainings were held, 32 new volunteers were trained, 21 of whom were youth and 10 of whom had experienced food insecurity in the past 4 months.
• Launched community based research project in collaboration with Sonoma County Dept. of Public Health, identifying obstacles to healthy eating from the perspective of food insecure community members.
Often, how we approach an issue is as important as why. There will always be a need for food banks and pantries to provide people with healthy food during short-term emergencies. We, as a community, are compelled to respond to hunger, malnutrition and shortfalls of our food system. Petaluma Bounty fosters participation of all community members to identify root causes, develop multi-faceted solutions, increase the dignity of the individual, and expand the capacity of our community to grow more food locally.