South Central Coast Region






South Central Coast Region:

San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, & Ventura County

Regional Lead:

Alise Echele, Healthy Schools Project, Ventura Unified School District,

Ventura Unified School District’s Food and Nutrition Services Department has been an active partner in the farm to school movement for 16 years. The first salad bar was integrated into one elementary school’s meal program in 2001. Today, all 25 schools within the district serve local produce daily on a salad bar.  In order to support student participation in school meals and create life-long eaters and growers of fresh fruits and vegetables, the Healthy Schools Project was launched along with the first salad bar in 2001.  The Healthy Schools Project, the education arm of the farm to school program, provides resources, classroom-based technical assistance and professional development to support educators in implementing standards-aligned nutrition, cooking, and garden and farm-based education in school and after-school programs.

In 2013, Ventura Unified along with five other school districts (Hueneme Elementary, Ojai Unified, Oxnard Elementary and Rio Unified), school food service directors, teachers, nutrition educators, farmers and community organizations formed Ventura County Farm to School (VCF2S). This collaborative was formed in order to actively promote local produce, scratch cooking, and healthy eating in school meals, as well as hands-on nutrition and agricultural education in school cafeterias, classrooms, gardens and farms for school children throughout Ventura County.  Since its inception, VCF2S has reached more than 69,000 K-12 students each year.

Farm to School Resources

Ventura County Farm to School

Annual Tri-County Growing Edible Education Symposium

How to Get Involved

The South Central Coast Farm to School Network would love to hear from you! To be added to our regional listserv, email Alise at

Local Food Initiatives in the Region

San Luis Obispo County Food System Coalition

Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan

Santa Barbara Food Alliance