Congratulations to our Urban Food Equity - Nutrition Pantry Program on receiving a 2022 Mayoral Community Award!

UC San Diego Center for Community Health Urban Food Equity, housed under ACTRI received a well-deserved acknowledgment for their Imperial Beach Neighborhood Center pantry and garden revitalization at the 2022 Imperial Beach Mayor Dedina’s State of the City Address.

The UC San Diego Center for Community Health Urban Food Equity and Nutrition Pantry Program (NPP) supports small grocery markets, urban farms, farmers’ markets, food pantries, and community members in building an inclusive, equitable, and economically thriving local food landscape. Over the past year, they have been instrumental in transforming the Imperial Beach Neighborhood Center (IBNC) pantry and garden into a space that is grounded in trauma-informed principles and processes that promote a vibrant Imperial Beach community.

The idea of implementing trauma-informed principles means that people should not only have access to healthy food, but they also receive and learn about it in a way that recognizes how stress and adversity affect human health and behavior; promotes resilience, and avoids shame, stigma, and blame.

In 2018, IBNC was founded to address the food insecurity needs of the city’s residents and to provide them with healthy food options. In 2021, IBNC became a part of NPP and is the 18th pantry to follow Leah’s Pantry curricula to address food insecurity in a trauma-informed way.

Over the second weekend in December 2021, our Urban Food Equity team worked with IBNC, SD Co-Harvest, local artists, and Imperial Beach (IB) volunteers from various organizations to transform the basement pantry into a welcoming, community-focused space. Artist added a fresh color scheme with a welcoming mural inside the heart of the pantry. Custom shelving wraps the walls, providing a space that encourages dignity and choice. In addition, new signage was added to the space’s entrance and outside, visible to passing cars and community members.

IBNC had some garden boxes that needed some considerable TLC. NPP teamed up with SD Co-Harvest to make a lasting impact on IBNC. In addition to adding over 100 square feet of gardening space, SD Co-Harvest will maintain this new micro-farm at no cost to the pantry, providing the freshest produce for IB residents facing food insecurity. To conserve water, a 265-gallon rainwater collection system was installed.

We are excited to see more from this collaboration and congratulate the Urban Food Equity team especially Lakisha McZeal, the Nutrition Pantry Program’s Project Manager, in leading this great work.


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