Strengthen the local economy through planning, development and infrastructure, protect San Diego’s natural and agricultural resources and promote opportunities for residents to engage in community life and civic activities.




One in five children in San Diego County do not always get enough to eat. Many come from low-income families, and the meals they do get often lack necessary vitamins and minerals. These children grow up suffering from long-term developmental, growth and cognitive delays. Yet up to 40 percent of food produced in the country is wasted. The County is working hard to tip this balance to make sure San Diegans get more food on their plate.


The County created the Live Well San Diego Food System Initiative. Seven different County departments and outside agencies joined forces to reduce food insecurity in the region. Hunger relief organizations, nonprofits, waste disposal companies and food donors all came to the table in May 2017 to start working on a countywide food donation action plan. They will look at infrastructure needs and recommend the action plan to the Board of Supervisors by June 2018.


A Live Well Community Market Program is also underway. This voluntary program works with community markets in underserved neighborhoods and is designed so shoppers can buy healthy, fresh, local, and culturally desirable foods. So far, 15 stores are in the program and more want to join. Residents benefit from the availability of affordable, healthy food. Store owners attract more shoppers and the potential to increase their revenue.


Food Safety First


The County became the first in California to create two food safety permits for local breweries and wineries. The businesses were bringing in catered food for their customers to enjoy but there wasn’t a framework in place to ensure the food’s safety. After a pilot project studying the matter, the Host Facility and Direct Sales Caterer permits were developed and put into effect in January 2017. Together, the two permits enhance food safety and allow the establishments more flexibility in the food they offer to patrons.


Growing the Agriculture Business


Agriculture in the County is valued at about $1.7 billion but local farming faces challenges due to the price of water and its availability, the high cost of operation, conflicts where urban development and agriculture meet, and economic pressures to sell and/or develop agricultural land.


To boost agriculture, the Ag Promo Program was adopted in March 2017 for the County’s unincorporated areas. The program streamlines permitting to allow operations like microbreweries, butter and cheese-making creameries, and aquaponics to draw more visitors and increase revenue. This agri-tourism responds to trends like the “farm-to-table” movement, supports local agriculture and fosters the growth of new ventures.


The Department of Environmental Health oversees


retail food facilities including:






mobile food facilities

$1.7 billion

Total value of

agricultural production on 251,147 acres.


active farmers



growers registered

as organic


new health

permits issued

Protecting the Environment

The County of San Diego is committed to protecting the sustainability of our region. This year we boosted our recycling program, began implementing a three-phase electric vehicle program, made strides in increasing renewable energy and acquired more open space.


When it comes to recycling, the County currently diverts or recycles 62 percent of trash away from landfills, exceeding the state requirement of 50 percent. Now the County has set a new goal: diverting 75 percent of trash from landfills by 2025.


The County also completed phase one of its electric vehicle program. Charging stations were installed at 11 different County facilities and can be used by both the public and employees. Drivers have 37 individual charging ports available along travel corridors like Interstates 5 and 15, and State Route 78. Charging stations are now being installed for fleet vehicles at major County facilities. These stations will power up to 50 vehicles and pave the way for incorporating electric vehicles into the County fleet.


Design efforts are underway to install photovoltaic systems at seven additional County sites. Once in place, these new systems will generate up to 13 megawatts of renewable power, and coupled with existing photovoltaic systems, roughly 20 percent of the County’s total electricity demand will be supplied by clean onsite renewable sources. New system construction could be completed by summer 2018.



Up to 70 electric vehicle charging stations will be installed for fleet vehicles at no cost to the County thanks to Power Your Drive program.

The County opened its second zero-net-energy building. The Imperial Beach Library celebrated its grand opening in April 2017, less than a year after the County’s first zero-net energy building, the Alpine Library, opened in May 2016. Both buildings produce as much energy as they use and were built in response to the state’s goal for 50 percent of all commercial buildings to be zero-net-energy by 2030.


The Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) is designed to preserve native habitats and wildlife for future generations. The County invests approximately $10 million per year to acquire open space. The South County Plan has now reached 77 percent of its preservation goal of 98,379 acres since the plan was developed in 1997. The County is working with wildlife agencies and stakeholders to get input on the North County Plan so a published draft can be completed by December 2017. An East County Plan is also under development.




acres of open space acquired.

million currently invested in MSCP.

Volunteering at the SDCL (San Diego County Library) has been a life changing experience for me. I have volunteered in my school’s library since the first grade, but the fun and educational experience I’ve acquired by the SDCL has allowed me to grow in knowledge, as well as make new lifetime friendships. I love books! I love helping people!  I love️ the SDCL.”


- Sierra H., Santee Library volunteer

Giving Back – to the County and the Community

We can’t thank them enough! What volunteers give in the way of their time and expertise allows the County to deliver just that much more to our residents, creating a better home for all of us.


Volunteers will often tell you they want to make a difference in the community and it gives them personal satisfaction. The County gains from their time, diverse backgrounds and broad wealth of knowledge. Opportunities abound for those interested in volunteering. They range from parks, libraries, the Registrar of Voters to the foster youth mentor program and many more.


One of the County’s most widely known volunteer programs involves the Master Gardeners. The County partners with the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), formerly known as the Farm and Home Advisor, to train volunteers for the Master Gardener program. For over 30 years, the volunteers have used their acquired knowledge and skills to share free home gardening and pest control information to residents. The Master Gardeners also spread their knowledge via their call-in hotline, speakers bureau, school and community gardens committees, and at information booths at local fairs and events. Last fiscal year, 316 Master Gardeners reached more than 180,000 county residents at 218 events. More than 1,200 volunteers donated over 260,000 hours to help administer UCCE’s diverse programs.




volunteers provided a value to the County of over $40.7 million.

The UCCE also administers the 4-H Youth Development program. This long-running program has evolved from a mainly rural focus to include a much more diverse population and young people in urban areas. 4-H offers classes in science, engineering and technology, healthy living and citizenship in an environment where young people feel safe and free to share, learn and grow. Local youth and adult volunteers organize and operate 21 clubs and eight Military Youth Centers in the county. In 2017, 350 4-H volunteers donated their time to help 1,638 youth reach their fullest potential.


The County Library is another popular area for volunteers. More than 3,711 people volunteered to shelve books, read to children or help students with homework. Others teach classes ranging from English as a Second Language and parenting skills to computer applications and yoga. Financial consultants, counselors and attorneys bring their expertise into play to advise library users on housing, retirement, investment and budgeting.


Anyone who is interested in giving their time can check the County’s Clerk of the Board webpage to see which volunteer opportunities best suit their needs, talent and experience.




1600 Pacific Highway

San Diego, CA 92101

© Copyright 2017 San Diego County