Pixel Tracker

Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 6:42 am | Mostly Cloudy 43º


Letter to the Editor: Please Oppose Up-Zoning in the Eastern Goleta Valley

I am writing in support of conserving the agriculturally zoned land in the eastern Goleta Valley area of Santa Barbara County for agriculture, as a critical resource for our community. This includes the San Marcos Growers property that is under pressure from developers, although not currently recommended for development. It is being farmed and supplying local produce to the community. In addition, it is important to support longer-term preservation of local agriculture by re-inserting the agricultural land protection language back into the county’s Eastern Goleta Valley Community Plan in Section LUA-1.6: Urban Agricultural Land Use Conversion.

Why is so important to conserve our local potential for food production? Our research at UCSB has shown that currently less than 5 percent of the produce consumed in Santa Barbara County is grown in the county, even though we grow nine times the amount consumed; almost all produce grown in our county is exported while we import 95 percent! This disconnect between production and consumption in our county is associated with high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition, negative environmental effects (due to greater transport, packaging and processing), and dependence on imports of food using increasingly scarce fossil fuels.

Other research has shown that it is the small urban and periurban farms such as those in the eastern Goleta Valley that are most likely to grow a variety of vegetables, fruits and other products, market directly to the community, and use organic and other environmentally sustainable production methods. Many of the farms in the EGV match these criteria.

These farms have the documented potential to contribute to improving the diets and nutrition of local residents, strengthening the economy by keeping money spent on food in our county, helping our county meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and reducing water pollution due to fertilizer and pesticide runoff.

They can also make important contributions to increasing our food security in a future that is sure to bring more volatile food prices, increasing oil and shipping costs, systemic food contamination, and breakdowns in transport networks due to natural and human-caused disasters.

Thus, the agricultural areas of the eastern Goleta Valley offer us the opportunity to develop food production integrated within an urban community in ways that could make Santa Barbara County a leader in defining possibilities for a future food system that is truly local and sustainable.

I therefore ask the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission to oppose the proposed up-zoning of the eastern Goleta Valley.

David A Cleveland
Professor, UCSB Environmental Studies Program

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.