Closing the Local Organic Waste Loop! The Present and Future of Organics Recycling in Santa Barbara 

A roundtable discussion representing the County of Santa Barbara, the City of Santa Barbara, and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will discuss existing organic waste diversion and recycling programs, as well as their future. The panelists from the County will discuss the implementation of new state laws on organics recycling, including SB 1383; new state of the art organics recycling facilities such as the County-owned ReSource Center; and food recovery programs. Foodbank staff will expand on the description of food recovery programs describing their scope and need, as well as the Foodbank’s partnerships with dozens of non-profits, public agencies and businesses in our community. Finally, City of Santa Barbara staff will describe their programs with businesses and schools that have been key in recycling organic waste from commercial sources. 


Carlyle A. Johnston, Project Leader, Public Works Department, Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division, County of Santa Barbara
Carlyle Johnston is a Project Leader for the County Department of Public Works, specializing in sustainability and waste policy. For over 15 years, Carlyle has been a key team member involved in the development of the County’s state-of-the-art recycling and organics processing facility, the ReSource Center. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Carlyle has a bachelor's degree from UC Santa Cruz and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Policy at Syracuse University. Carlyle has been working in environmental policy for over 25 years and working with the County for the past 20. 

Sam Dickinson, Senior Program Specialist, Public Works Department, Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division, County of Santa Barbara
Sam Dickinson was born and raised in Santa Barbara and is grateful to have a career where he can help his community of over 30 years.  Growing up immersed in beautiful outdoor settings, Sam learned to love and appreciate our natural resources and wanted to do work to help protect the environment and change behavior. After majoring in Environmental Studies at UCSB and completing various internships, Sam landed his first waste industry career jobs with and the City of Oakland. After several years, it was time to come home to Santa Barbara. Nine years later, Sam continues his work at the County Department of Public Works, now as a Senior Program Specialist. Sam initiated his career by specializing in backyard composting, school waste reduction, and various environmental education efforts. Sam has grown in his career, now overseeing the County’s SB 1383 implementation and public education for the County’s new ReSource Center.

Kaitlyn Haberlin, Program Specialist, Public Works Department, Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division, County of Santa Barbara
Kaitlyn Haberlin is a Program Specialist at Santa Barbara County Department of Public Works, Resource Recovery and Waste Management Division. Kaitlyn graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2018 with a degree in Environmental Studies. At UCSB, Kaitlyn worked for the Department of Public Worms, helping compost campus food scraps to be used on campus gardens, and delivering produce from the gardens to the UCSB food pantry.. After her time at UCSB, Kaitlyn began working at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County in the Backyard Bounty program assisting residents harvest their fruit trees and bringing the harvest back to the Foodbank. Now, Kaitlyn works with local businesses and food recovery organizations to help prevent food waste county-wide. 
Daniela Rosales, Environmental Specialist II, Sustainability & Resilience, City of Santa Barbara
Daniela joined the City of Santa Barbara’s Environmental Services Division in 2017 after earning a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara. Her role is to implement and monitor solid waste management programs. Over the past 5 years, Daniela has worked closely with businesses, schools, and residential customers to increase participation in the City’s recycling and food scraps diversion programs. Daniela has also worked on the City’s single-use material bans by educating businesses on alternative materials. As a fluent Spanish speaker, Daniela aims to be inclusive in her education and outreach efforts by offering bilingual assistance.

Hillary Allen, Environmental Specialist I, Sustainability & Resilience, City of Santa Barbara
Hillary is an Environmental Specialist for the City of Santa Barbara and has worked for the City’s solid waste division for 14 years. Hillary is a Santa Barbara native, and cares deeply about helping our residents build a resilient environmental community. She specializes in education and has developed diversion education for residents and businesses which she delivers through presentations, print material, and on-site trainings, as well as advising businesses on how to comply with local and state environmental legislation. Hillary is the Solid Waste auditor for the California Green Business Network, and is Zero Waste Certified through the California Resource Recovery Association.

Jesus Lopez, Warehouse Manager, Operations/Logistics/Procurement, Foodbank Santa Barbara County
Jesus Lopez is the Operations Warehouse Manager at the Foodbank Santa Barbara County. Jesus comes with a background in operations, logistics and procurement, and has been working in food distribution for 15 years. At the Santa Barbara Foodbank, Jesus has been able to grow the Grocery Rescue program and at the same time implement a composting program. Along with Operations, Jesus has been able to build these programs and keep them successful at the Foodbank. 

Food Rescue Collaborations Contributing to a Closed Loop Economy

Veggie Rescue partners with farms, food producers and distributors to rescue food that would otherwise go to waste. We also partner with over 60 nonprofits, schools and churches throughout SB County to provide access to nutrient dense food to the most vulnerable in our community. Through strategic collaborations we are reducing the negative environmental impacts of food waste food waste, while improving the nutrition and quality of life for community members struggling with food insecurity. Our timely, flexible and local solution compliments the work done by food banks. We will share examples of strategic partnerships that support long-term mental and physical health, while empowering community members to move their lives forward positively as a result of diminished stress around food access. 


Diana O’Connell, Executive Director, Veggie Rescue
A Santa Barbara native, Santa Ynez Valley resident and UCSB graduate, Diana returned to Santa Barbara in 2012 after a successful career in corporate finance in Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas.  With a strong desire to have a direct impact and make a difference, Diana transitioned her career into working with nonprofit leaders by leveraging her financial and strategic leadership experience. Since returning to Santa Barbara County she has held several nonprofit leadership roles as well as provided Contract CFO and Executive Director coaching to numerous small nonprofits. As a nonprofit board member and volunteer Diana has actively pursued her personal interests in health and nutrition, especially the connection between access to whole foods and health. Diana is excited to bring her worlds together as the Executive Director of Veggie Rescue.