Santa Barbara Farmers Market General Manager Sam Edelman accepted the honor on behalf of the market.
The Santa Barbara Permaculture Network is an educational nonprofit organization that has done events about permaculture, sustainability and ecological design for more than 20 years, and it's the sponsor for the annual Santa Barbara Community Seed Swap. The 13th annual seed swap turned virtual in 2021 with activities and speakers throughout February and March.
Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo was on hand at the ceremony, which took place at the information booth at the Saturday Santa Barbara Farmers Market. She acknowledged the success of the Santa Barbara Permaculture Seed Swap and the dedication of Santa Barbara Permaculture co-founders Margie Bushman and Wesley Roe.
“The Santa Barbara Permaculture organization has been a nonprofit organization for 20 years,” Bushman told Noozhawk. “Personally, I love gardening on small urban spaces. I grow a lot in a small, shaded small space. Right now, I am growing arugula, potatoes, ginger, aloes, cilantro and many herbs.
“This year, we honor the Santa Barbara Farmers Market and the exemplary growers who have kept our community fed and nourished with the highest quality produce and food for many decades, including during the COVID pandemic, which made locally grown food more important than ever. We honor and deeply thank them for their stewardship of the land and commitment to providing a viable food shed for the Santa Barbara community.”
Edelman has been general manager of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market since 2005 and first worked for the association in 1997.
“We are incredibly honored to receive the annual Local Food Hero Award from the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network,” he told Noozhawk. “It has truly been the collective effort of our exceptional local agricultural producers and supportive community that has enabled us to continue to provide this invaluable resource. Ensuring a safe and healthy shopping experience has been at the forefront through this very challenging year, and we will continue to work hard to keep our community well-nourished with the very best from our local food producers.”
Also recognized were three “pioneers” who were instrumental in starting the Farmers Market in Santa Barbara decades ago: Randy Wade, Tom Shephard and Bob Dautch.
Wade of Red Horizon Farm grows an assortment of produce using compost tea, including tomatoes, avocado, melons and citrus. One of the founding members of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association, Wade has been a farmer for more than 40 years, farming on his three-acre farm in Mission Canyon.
Shepherd of Shepherd Farms is a fifth-generation Santa Barbara resident and has been farming organically in the area since 1973. One of the earliest members of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association, Shepherd has been inspiring children, families and schools to grow their own gardens and eat locally. He authored and published “A Handbook for Citizen Farmers,” an illustrated book about growing your own garden. Shepherd’s newest little farm is located at the Folded Hills Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Farmer Dautch, aka “BD,” started growing produce on empty plots in Isla Vista. At the time, BD was growing food primarily for his own use but would share and sell his overflow. One of his first informal markets was at Del Playa Acres in Isla Vista. Later, he joined the Santa Barbara market at the County Bowl and then the market at Santa Barbara High School. To get his produce to market, BD bicycled from Isla Vista to Santa Barbara pulling a cart full of vegetables.
At the end of the ceremony, Bushman invited everyone at the market to give a round of applause to the farmers present.
“I am grateful every day for the food they provide our community,” she said. “So, when you see a farmer, remember to thank them for all they do.”
The Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1983 with 120 grower members with six markets, six days a week.
Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, or contact Bushman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.962.2571.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.