Bayside Community Center

Linda Vista is one of San Diego’s six most socio-economically distressed communities, which is compounded by it being a USDA-defined food desert. With more than half of the nearly 34,000 residents considered “low income,” mobility challenges for public transit riders to get to the closest supermarket located in Mission Valley, and lack of access to fresh and affordable healthy foods, it is within Bayside Community Center’s mission to address the situation. 

Bayside’s mission is to empower its diverse community to improve its quality of life through services, education, and advocacy. Bayside leverages its mission to improve food security in Linda Vista. Through services, Bayside hosts weekly food distributions (~70 clients) and bi-weekly deliveries of food boxes to homebound senior citizens (~35 clients) during the pandemic. The items received are a mix of nonperishable items coupled with fresh produce grown in Bayside’s Co-op Garden and local microfarms in partnership with Co-Harvest Foundation. 

Bayside’s Environmental Learning Center is the vessel through which Bayside educates residents of Linda Vista on how to cultivate and implement ways to address food insecurity and to incorporate healthy, nutritious diets on a budget. Bayside also advocates at the local and state levels for changes that have long-term impacts on the food system in San Diego and Linda Vista. 

Through this three-pronged approach, Bayside has made important, positive, and long-lasting changes in Linda Vista that improves food security. One example of this is Bayside’s lead role in advocating for and passing AB551 in 2015 and 2016. Bayside’s role as the co-chair of the San Diego Food Systems Alliance’s Urban Agriculture Working Group played an important role in the bill’s passage, which helps increase access to land in communities for urban agriculture-related purposes. 

Looking ahead, Bayside’s vision for food security in Linda Vista is to cultivate more families who are self-sufficient, who can grow their own food for their families, and who are part of a bigger, systemic shift in pushing our food system in equitable, healthy, and sustainable directions. We see this manifesting as the launch of the Linda Vista Community Garden, a thriving weekly farmers market that brings farmers and shoppers together to celebrate the cultural diversity that abounds in Linda Vista, and increasing access to growing spaces for families and individuals to become self-sufficient. 

We are continually inspired by the community members who come together around a common theme—growing food, healthy eating, and removing socio-economic barriers to food security.

Amy Zink is the Urban Farmer at Bayside Community Center, and a Certified Master Gardener. Amy applies her over two decades of experience growing to coordinate Bayside Community Center's urban agriculture program, including community gardening, garden education, and community food distributions.

Kim Heinle is the Executive Director of Bayside Community Center. Kim has over a decade of experience working in the community of Linda Vista, as a community leader and advocate participating in planning groups, task forces, and the Linda Vista collabortive. Kim's leadership at Bayside Community Center has been critical in serving the community, cultivating a space that is supportive and responsive to community needs.

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