What We Do
We empower our community by building bridges between farmers, chefs, scientists, and citizens to challenge the industrial food system while advocating for access to healthy food for all.
Because when people are educated and informed about an issue—like local, sustainable food—they tend to make different choices. Building relationships around issues helps create virtuous circles of community building and support.
To have a dialogue about the issues, we need a common language.
So let’s start with a few basic definitions—
Local: We define “local” in terms of proximity, plus shared geography and climate. Our local region extends from the northern reaches of San Diego County across the border to Baja.
Sustainability: The ability to continue a defined activity—in our case, food production—indefinitely.
Food system: The interaction between food production and distribution.
And one advanced one—
Regenerative agriculture: A sub-practice of organic farming designed to build soil health or to regenerate unhealthy soils. When applied to aquaculture, it means protecting the health and integrity of fisheries.
We run a variety of inspiring, rewarding, and thoughtful programs and events designed to entertain and enlighten. Many also help us raise funds for our ongoing initiatives.
Education – Raising Awareness
Future Thought Leaders. Free and open to the public, this award-winning and thought-provoking series of multidisciplinary panels presents varying viewpoints on sustainability-related topics, such as food waste, sustainable seafood, the ethics of meat production, and healthy soil. University of California Television (UCTV) videotapes the panel discussions, distributing the broadcast through its networks. Watch video and read recaps of all our panel discussions here.
Food Tank. In November 2018 we were thrilled to bring the world-renowned Food Tank: The Think Tank for Food to San Diego for the first time ever with the goal of making it an annual symposium. The all-day event at the Illumina Theater in Torrey Pines hosted 300 attendees and featured more than 30 speakers and panelists on the cutting edge of sustainable food advancement. More than 19,000 people tuned into the livestream broadcast and 50 million people were reached on social media. Watch video of the discussions here.
Berry Good Food Academy. Led by BGF board member and Chef Christina Ng, and held at Studio Kitchen by Specialty Produce, these affordable hands-on classes teach attendees to make bread, chicken, seafood, pasta, as well as canning and fermentation—old-world skills that gain modern relevance as students learn to use local, seasonal ingredients efficiently and minimize food waste. Empowering people to maximize their food budgets is an important part of changing food-buying and preparation behavior. Plus, making your own cheese is a blast! Scholarships and volunteer opportunities are available and free classes are offered to farmers and members of the food industry. To attend, please see our calendar of events for the upcoming class schedule.
Connect – Building Relationships
School Garden Grants. Thanks to incredible 2018 fundraising dinners in San Diego and Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe with the participation of highly acclaimed chefs and local food and beverage producers, BGF raised a combined $31,000 for school gardens in our bio-region. Grant applications were reviewed and funds dispersed to various schools and educational organizations for the Fall 2018 curriculum. Stay tuned for details on how you can attend an upcoming dinner here or apply for the next round of grants here.
Farmer and Fisherman Scholarships. In coordination with the annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, BGF has been awarding scholarships to outstanding members of San Diego’s sustainable farming and fishing community since 2016. Many of the recipients are still in high school with goals of working in agriculture for their careers. With the average age of farmers climbing to 59 years, BGF hopes to support and encourage the next generation to look to farming as a viable career and as stewards for regenerative agriculture.
Support – Reinforcing Positive Change
Berry Good Night for the Foundation. Be a part of the movement! Since 2009 Berry Good Night and BGF’s founder Michelle Ciccarelli Lerach and her husband Bill host the annual Berry Good Night for the Foundation, an exclusive fundraiser to support our ongoing initiatives and program development. In 2018 Berry Good Night crossed the border as “Berry Good Noche” to raise money for school gardens in Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe. Next year’s dinner will surely be as spectacular—stay tuned!