Farm to Bay Food & Wine Classic Raises $85,000 for Living Coast Discovery Center

CHULA VISTA, CALIF. (SEPT. 18, 2014) – The Living Coast Discovery Center, a nonprofit zoo and aquarium on San Diego Bay in Chula Vista, announced today that its 2014 Farm to Bay Food & Wine Classic event, held on Aug. 2, raised over $85,000 (net), making it the single largest fundraiser in the center’s 27-year history.

Much of the event’s funds were generated from corporate and community partnerships with San Diego Gas & Electric; Mission Federal Credit Union; Sprouts Farmers Market Chula Vista/Eastlake; Unified Port of San Diego; BAE Systems; McKenna, Long & Aldridge; Republic Services; Baldwin & Sons; City of Chula Vista Environmental Services Department; Essential Support Services; Hoffman Hanono Insurance; The Securities Center; General Dynamics NASSCO; North Island Credit Union; San Diego Tourism Authority; Loews Coronado Bay Resort; Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians; and Nancy and Tom Pilcher. The event also included extensive in-kind media sponsorships from San Diego Magazine, San Diego CityBeat, Edible San Diego, San Diego Zoo’s ZooNooz Magazine and Easy 98.1 FM.  

The remaining funds were raised through the event’s live and silent auctions and ticket sales. This is the second year that the event completely sold out at 500 guests. Acclaimed local chef and restaurateur Joe Busalacchi served as this year’s culinary chair. The event’s proceeds will support coastal wildlife, conservation and education programs at the center throughout the year.

Farm to Bay is the only food and wine event in San Diego held within a national wildlife refuge. In keeping with the center’s commitment to environmental conservation, Farm to Bay event committee, led by City of Chula Vista’s master composters, took the necessary steps toward producing a Zero Waste event. As a result of their efforts, 77 percent (or 516 pounds) of waste was recycled or composted and diverted from landfills. This represented a 46 percent reduction in waste over 2013. The team hopes to build on this success each year as more earth-friendly materials and processes become available.  

“This was truly a community-wide effort, from our corporate partners, to the food and beverage partners that donated their time and talents, to everyone who came out to support the event by buying tickets and supporting the auctions, to our outstanding volunteers and staff,” said Executive Director Ben Vallejos. “We couldn’t be more proud of the team effort, which will allow us to further our mission of environmental stewardship and serve the San Diego community with meaningful wildlife and educational experiences.”

Farm to Bay represents the Living Coast Discovery Center’s largest and most critical fundraiser of the year. However, a number of additional revenue-generating events and programs are held throughout the year, including day camps for kids and teens, school field trips, group Overnight Adventures, lectures, art workshops, holiday celebrations and more. To learn more about corporate partnerships and other opportunities to support the center, contact Director of Development Lori Coons at (619)409-5902 or

About the Living Coast Discovery Center

The Living Coast Discovery, a 501(c) 3 educational zoo and aquarium located within the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge on the southern edge of San Diego Bay in Chula Vista, began operating as a non-profit in 2010 after assuming operations of the Chula Vista Nature Center. The Living Coast Discovery offers hands-on exhibits and up-close encounters with more than 350 plant and animal species native to Southern California coastal habitats, including endangered sea turtles, sting rays, leopard sharks, jellies, shorebirds, reptiles and a large collection of raptors such as hawks, falcons, owls, American bald eagle, golden eagle, and more. More information about the Living Coast Discovery Center is available at or (619) 409-5900.