More than a farm, not quite a food bank… Petaluma Bounty is a farm-based community food security project with four main areas of impact: Direct Services, Advocacy, Research, and Community Capacity Building.
Petaluma Bounty is a farm-based community food security project that prioritizes participatory program development and a place-based approach to strengthen our local food system. 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 long-term community resilience.
Drawing upon our Guiding Principles (especially 4-7), Petaluma Bounty seeks to: reinforce strong stakeholder feedback loops for decisions on prioritizing community needs and program initiatives; make institutions more accountable and responsive to community and constituent input; identify emerging needs and barriers to food and farming related services; apply a whole systems lens to advocate for small scale producers and limited income consumers; and push academic and agricultural service agencies to adopt more democratic and participatory channels of engagement of the public.
Petaluma Bounty addresses the burden of food insecurity and other shortfalls of the food system by:
1) Improving the quality and increasing the quantity of fresh produce distributed through emergency food outlets in the Petaluma Area.
2) Increasing purchasing power of low-income consumers through innovative local affordable food incentives.
3) Increasing awareness, interest, and participation in supplemental food programs.
4) Increasing appetites for healthy food through skill-building and addressing knowledge gaps around gardening, food and farming literacy, preparation, and preserving.
See our Programs Page for information on specific initiatives!
As a farm-based community food security project, Petaluma Bounty offers a unique perspective to advocacy efforts. We drive for organizational, institutional, and governmental policy that benefits both low-income consumers and food producers with a systems lens toward strengthening our local food system.
Petaluma Bounty is collaborating with academic partners at UC Cooperative Extension, UC Davis SAREP, Sonoma County Department of Health, and other community partners to engage food systems stakeholders; we prioritize partnering with those facing food insecurity and small scale farm operators in order to better understand how they prioritize the barriers to consuming more locally grown, healthy food; emerging issues; and promising practices that reflect the values and priorities of our community. Petaluma Bounty takes a systematic, participatory-based approach to inequities and barriers so that responses will inform future program priorities and strengthen our local food system.
Some of the projects include: community engagement on how to make farmers’ markets more inviting and inclusive for traditionally marginalized community members; helping land stewards who were interested in a new community garden in a previously burned space; conducting a needs assessment of Petaluma food pantries; and partnering with a new startup, getstarted, as they sought to get to know the gardening and food needs of the community.
For more information on our approach to research and recent projects, please click here.
Community Capacity Building:
If we keep programs focused only on food access, we will continue to fight the symptoms of a comprehensive, societal problem. Like many others, we will stay stuck in a loop of trying to acquire more and cheaper food to respond to the growing needs of those who can’t afford a balanced and culturally appropriate diet. The fact that food systems workers (farm workers, food processors, and restaurant workers) are some of the lowest paid jobs in our economy and that 85% of farm workers surveyed by the Sonoma County Health Department in their 2015 Farmworker Health Survey were food insecure are red flags of a broken food system.
Petaluma Bounty seeks to engage our whole community in the conversation about the shortfalls of our conventional food system and what we can do together to affect this faltering system that we all rely upon. We seek to support our community in building capacity- individual, neighborhood, organizational, inter and intra agency- and hope to make all levers of change (behavioral, social, environmental, service programs, policy, and others) more accessible to all community members.
Examples of capacity building in action include the following:
- Sharing experiential knowledge about cultivating home gardens, food preparation, and preservation with our community members in order to increase knowledge, skills, and motivation associated with home food production;
- Subsidize healthy choices that benefit multiple stakeholders to create more inclusive food purchasing experiences and expand the choice to buy local to all community members regardless of income;
- Build leadership and interest in food system careers through internships and job training to build the capacity of our future leaders;
- Advocate and integrate feedback loops for better constituent services;
- Increase communication, coordination, and collaboration among local food-related organizations to ensure resource distribution is impactful and intentional;
- Ongoing support of community gardens, community initiatives, and the food recovery movement;
- Prioritizing nutrition and wellness programs that respects the expertise and agency of the person experiencing the challenge.
And lastly, we at Petaluma Bounty provide a community space where anyone can be part of the solution to one of our most complex and wicked societal problems.