Combating Food Insecurity in Isla Vista

As the costs of higher education and housing continue to rise, students are struggling to meet even the most basic needs. The most recent survey conducted by the UC Global Food Initiative in 2016 found that 44% of UC students faced food insecurity, while a 2018 survey by the California Community College system found that 38% of community college students in the Santa Barbara region were food insecure.

While UCSB has opened food distribution points on their campus — with the UCSB Associated Students Food Bank seeing an increase from 400 students served per day to 600 per day between July 2017 and January 2019 — these solutions don’t go far enough in serving the residents of Isla Vista. SBCC students living in Isla Vista, longterm residents, and UCSB students that don’t meet the income requirements for the AS Food Bank lack a reliable, locally accessible place to access food bank services. And those who do have access to the AS Food Bank are often faced with limited choices and availability.

As a current Trustee for the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County, and with a decade’s worth of experience with other local non-profits, Bruce will coordinate with the County, Isla Vista Community Services District, and county food banks to establish distribution points in Isla Vista where all residents will be able to access County food services.

How to Increase Food Accessibility in Isla Vista

While the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County has resources ready for distribution, they’re unable to regularly service Isla Vista due to the lack of a physical storage and distribution point. By using part of the $1.2 million excess revenue the County received from its cannabis tax, Bruce will work with other local stakeholders to establish and maintain a facility in Isla Vista which would use existing resources of the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County to provide regular access to all Isla Vista residents.

Bruce will also work with the Isla Vista Community Services District to establish areas where mobile farmer’s markets provided by the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County can distribute fresh fruits and vegetables in Isla Vista, which are harder to find in food banks due to their perishability.