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Sustainable Systems Research Foundation

Organization Mission

The Sustainable Systems Research Foundation is a green think tank and project incubator based in Santa Cruz that seeks to:

• Address complex environmental and sustainability problems faced by communities in the Monterey Bay Region.

• Bring together stakeholders with competing interests, capacities and approaches while addressing the critical importance of equity and justice.

• Collaborate with partner organizations to develop projects and programs that promote community sustainability and development.

• Pursue projects that are replicable and scalable, based on best practices and insights drawn from successful projects.

Our philosophy is that a project or program implemented successfully at one site can be replicated in many other places, with appropriate adjustments to local conditions.

The Big Idea 2024:
Securing the Local Food Supply Chain:
Regenerative Agriculture & Technical Assistance for Minority Farmers

Many of us are concerned about local food chains and food security. Small minority-owned farms can be more productive per acre than large, highly-mechanized farms yet their operators face significant obstacles to staying in business:

Unpredictable weather and climate, complex regulatory requirements, limited market opportunities and restricted access to state and federal resources. This project, in its third year, targets Spanish-speaking farmers from across Santa Cruz County to participate in a workshop series that provides technical assistance and methods to pursue sustainable and regenerative agriculture while operating their businesses efficiently and effectively.

Regenerative agriculture also benefits our climate, prioritizing soil health, which captures and stores carbon. These workshops have received some federal and state support but need more funds. Your contribution will keep local food chains and food security alive and well, and will improve our community’s environmental health.

The workshops helped me learn about another type of market with cooperatives and gave me vision on crop monitoring. In Spanish: Los talleres me ayudaron a conocer otra modalidad de mercado con cooperativas y me dieron visión sobre monitoreo de los cultivos.

Angeles Carrillo, Salinas, 30s