The Central Coast, among the rolling hills, oak trees, vineyards and strawberry fields, is one of the most spectacularly beautiful and bountiful regions in the world. Join in celebrating the bounty of the fall harvest and honoring “H.O.T. Heroes” at the Fall Harvest Picnic on Sunday afternoon at El Capitan Ranch.

High on a hillside overlooking the Gaviota Coast, a team of culinary wizards led by chef Adam Newman will treat guests to a smorgasbord of harvest delights, all prepared with fresh local produce from Santa Barbara County farms.

The special event is co-hosted by the Santa Barbara County Action Network, or SB CAN, and the Santa Barbara Council on Research and Education, or SB CORE.

They will honor the 2008 “H.O.T. Heroes” — individuals and organizations making a difference through their efforts on housing, open space and transportation. This year’s honorees are affordable housing advocate Mickey Flacks; co-founders of the Santa Barbara County Ag Futures Alliance: the Environmental Defense Center and the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau; and alternative transportation advocate Marc Chytilo.

Guest speaker James Murphy, managing director for corporate responsibility and sustainability practice with BPM/MacKenzie, will talk about “Sustainability and the Creation of Abundance.”

“We are delighted to have Dr. Murphy join us,” said Jon Williams, an SB CAN board member. “He’s a good friend and a highly regarded expert who has worked globally on the front end of this evolving field, most recently with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, one of the world’s leading think tanks for international affairs, where he was responsible for a new initiative in climate change and energy security.”

“Sustainability is a journey rather than a final destination,” Murphy said. “We know that the paradigm that emerged from the industrial revolution is no longer tenable; but the shape of the new paradigm hasn’t yet entirely formed. Rather than speak, though, of ‘sustainability,’ I propose we think in terms of ‘thrive-ability,’ not just focusing on scarcity of resources, but on the creation of abundance.”

Deborah Brasket, executive director of SB CAN, said: “We are so grateful for the support of our sponsors, including the Sierra Club, Susan Rose & Allan Ghitterman, and the Towbes Group, among others.  We also appreciate the generous donations from so many Santa Barbara County farms, ranches, wineries, food companies and suppliers, including Adrienne’s Gourmet Foods, Ambrosia Catering, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Bonipak Produce, Givens Farms, Lane Farms, McGrath Farms, Olive Hill Farms, Rancho San Julian Beef, Santa Barbara Fish Market, Santa Barbara Olive Co., Trader Joe’s and Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe.”

SB CAN is a countywide, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting social justice, preserving the environment and creating sustainable communities. SB CORE is its educational and research partner. They work with other community organizations to encourage dialogue, and to inspire all members of the community to become involved in shaping the future.

The Fall Harvest Picnic is a family event and the public is invited. Guests will enjoy a hayride from the ranch entrance to the picnic site. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, contact Olivia Uribe at or call 805.879.1768.

Deborah Brasket is executive director of the Santa Barbara County Action Network (SB CAN).