About Isla Vista Food Cooperative
Isla Vista Food Co-op is located in Isla Vista, California whose mission as a natural and organic foods consumer cooperative is to provide the residents of Isla Vista and neighboring communities of Santa Barbara County with reasonably priced foods, products and services that promote a healthier lifestyle and environment. The co-op’s produce department provides organic, locally grown produce that helps support farmers in the Santa Barbara community while providing the community the healthiest and freshest produce available. The Co-op is an independent establishment that is owned and democratically controlled by the people who shop there.
Isla Vista has a robust outreach program where they host a number of events and workshops on themes of art, sustainability, social justice, budgeting, gardening and more. They host gardening and composting workshops, community food distribution programs, and provide monthly arts workshops for children.
How Isla Vista Food Co-op is Utilizing Their Solar Savings
Isla Vista Food Co-op went solar with RE-volv in 2017 with a 25 kW solar system that will save the Food Co-op more than $154,000 off the cost of electricity over the life of the system. By going solar with RE-volv, Isla Vista Food Co-op’s monthly electricity bills will be stable throughout the life of their solar system, ensuring the Co-op greater financial stability. With the savings from going solar, the Food Co-op will be able to invest these savings back into their mission, including continuing to produce low-cost, organic food to the community, participating in more food distribution programs, and hosting more community engagement and educational events.
Solar Ambassadors Bring Solar to Isla Vista Food Co-op
The Solar Ambassador team at the University of Santa Barbara (UCSB) is an eight person team with students from a variety of majors and backgrounds that worked together to bring solar to Isla Vista. Through the year long Solar Ambassador Fellowship, students learn about solar policy, finance, and technology, project management, and community education and outreach.
The Solar Ambassadors at UCSB helped bring solar to the Food Co-op by leading the project from start to finish, including the initial outreach to the nonprofit about going solar with RE-volv, leading a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to pay for the up-front cost of going solar, and hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the co-op’s new solar system. View the crowdfunding video for this campaign below.
The Solar Ambassadors at UCSB says, “Our goal is to outfit the Isla Vista Food Co-op with solar panels and to educate our community about the benefits of solar energy.” Throughout the campaign, the Solar Ambassador team hosted a variety of public events to educate the community about solar and empower the community to take action on climate change.
Community Involvement to Bring Solar to Isla Vista
Thank you to the 124 generous donors who donated to this crowdfunding campaign to pay for the upfront cost to bring solar to the Isla Vista Food Co-op! All the donations for this campaign were matched, thanks to the generous donation from the 11th Hour Project! Through this crowdfunding campaign the money raised went to paying for the up-front cost of Isla Vista’s solar array. As Isla Vista Food Co-op pays RE-volv back for the cost of the solar system, these monthly solar payments will go into RE-volv’s Solar Seed Fund, a revolving fund for solar that is used to help more nonprofits across the country go solar.