PROGRAMS

Healthy Habitat

Healthy Habitat is Growing Solution’s primary educational program which provides hands on ecological education opportunities for people of all ages. By working with school groups, community members and volunteers, the Healthy Habitat Program teaches people about the importance of conserving and restoring their local creeks and open spaces. The program is a continuous endeavor which provides an umbrella for specific classes, workshops and lectures which occur throughout the year. Current projects include workshops involving revegetation of the Foothill Landfill site and lectures with restoration site tours for college level, high school and elementary classes. Started in 1999, Healthy Habitat has received funding from the Patagonia, Earth Island Institute, Jack Johnson and the Ohana Foundation, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation, Southern California Wetlands Recovery Program, the Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund, the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Hutton Foundation, and from generous individuals. 

Future Solutions

Future Solutions is our unique program of classes designed to empower and re-skill local citizens in emerging green industries. Our goal is to help create a new sustainable economy through a graduated, results-based program of project workshops that teach local organic food production, renewable energy, and green-building technologies.


 

Small-Scale Food Production

Growing Solutions is enhancing food security within Santa Barbara county by increasing sustainable food production and education through our existing small-scale grower's programs. Working in conjunction with Santa Barbara City College’s Environmental Horticulture department, Future Solutions provides the tangible means and tools to learn how to grow affordable nutritious food for personal consumption and local markets.

Food Security

The politics and culture of food are often expressed in terms of "food security" and "food sovereignty". These two terms are often used interchangeably, even though they mean different things. For an excellent and entertaining brief on food justice watch this short video from The Lexicon Of Sustainability

For more information on food security and food literacy within Santa Barbara County click through to the good work being done by Food Bank Santa Barbara (click here).


FARMING WITH THE WILD 

Farming has traditionally been viewed as a war against the natural environment. There is, however, a middle path where the needs of the wild can co-evolve with sustainable human agriculture. It’s called Farming With The Wild. We believe that with the proper incentives, assistance and resources, farmers can and should be encouraged to manage their lands more sustainably, and profitably, while protecting wildland values. Our Future Solutions agroecology program, sited on the edge on the Los Padres Wilderness, offers a real-world working laboratory to discover and refine this exciting new approach to farming.

Reptile Study At Puma Canyon Ranch

This spring Dr. Amanda Sparkman and a crew of Westmont College grad students set up boards for long-term herpetological monitoring at the ranch in spots where they would not interfere with ranching operations and are likely to be good habitat for snakes and lizards. Reptiles of all kinds play an important role in a healthy edge ecosystem such as the ranch in controlling rodent populations. With this study Amanda is looking at the differences in reptile species on islands versus mainland. "We're studying the evolution of dwarfism in reptiles on the California Channel Islands," says Sparkman, "...by comparing them with their mainland counterparts from Los Angeles to San Mateo county, testing for physiological and molecular mechanisms involved in generating these remarkably small body sizes, as well as associated changes in life-history and behavior." By providing a long term study site for Dr. Sparkman we can learn what species are on the property and if reptiles are thriving, thus enhancing our understanding of  a diverse and sophisticated edge ecosystem.  Check out the Sparkman Lab website for great reptile info and photos.

 

For more info on Farming With The Wild, Click Here