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USDA Partnering to Conduct Grant Workshops to Support Local Foods

January 27, 2015 |

post_usdalogoWASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced a partnership through the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance (AMSTA) Project to conduct workshops that will help potential grant applicants understand, develop, and submit their Federal grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program.

“The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program is a key to USDA’s efforts to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems,” said AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo. Read More

To Get Kids to Consume Their Fruits and Veggies, Riverside, CA Farm-to-School Leader Goes Local

January 21, 2015 |
A Riverside Unified School District student holds up an apple which he is about to eat. Through the efforts of Rodney Taylor and others, students in the Riverside Unified School District are actively encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables. (photo courtesy of Rodney Taylor/Riverside Unified School District)

A Riverside Unified School District student holds up an apple which he is about to eat. Through the efforts of Rodney Taylor and others, students in the Riverside Unified School District are actively encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables. (photo courtesy of Rodney Taylor/Riverside Unified School District)

In the Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) in Southern California, students enjoy access to locally-sourced salad bars and experiential learning opportunities in agriculture and nutrition.

Much of this success has been spearheaded by Rodney Taylor, a noted farm-to-school expert and Director of Nutrition Services for Riverside Unified School District (RUSD).

In 1997, Taylor led a similar effort in the Malibu and Santa Monica school districts. But while those areas are known for their affluence, Riverside has more economic challenges. So when Taylor wanted to increase healthy food options for public school students in Riverside, there was no shortage of doubters.

Taylor did not see why healthy eating in public schools should be difficult anywhere. His goal is and always has been a simple one: “To get kids to consume their fruits and vegetables.” Through achieving this goal (and then some), he has proved his doubters wrong.

The numbers tell the story. In 2005, the RUSD farm-to-school program was just a pilot project, with one school salad bar. By 2010, all 31 schools in the district offered salad bars. And while the program is revenue neutral for the district, it generates income for the small, local farmers who supply the fruits and vegetables. Read More

From Farm to Fork and Back Again: New California Law Seeks to Close Food Waste Loop

January 19, 2015 |
California State Capitol. Source: Wikimedia Commons

California State Capitol. Source: Wikimedia Commons

California’s regulations governing organic food waste became more stringent on September 28, 2014, as Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1826 into law. The law requires commercial generators of food waste to have it composted or transformed to energy via anaerobic digestion.

One of the main impetuses for AB 1826, according to San Francisco Department of the Environment commercial zero waste senior coordinator Jack Macy, is keeping organic waste out of landfills. Read More

Grow Riverside Conference to Examine Economic, Community Benefits of Local Sustainable Agriculture in Urban Areas

January 14, 2015 |

citrus boxRiverside, CA — January 14, 2015 — Seedstock, in partnership with the City of Riverside, today announced it once again will present the “Grow Riverside” conference slated for June 11-13, 2015.

This year’s conference at the Riverside Convention Center sets its focus on “The Future of Local Food” with the goal of sharing vital lessons and information with many municipalities.

Using Riverside’s significant accomplishments over the past 12 months as a model, the conference will examine the City’s initial steps to build and strengthen its local food system as well as explore solutions to help other cities and local governments establish and bolster their own similar initiatives. Read More

2nd Annual Grow Riverside Conference to Focus on Future of Local Food

December 23, 2014 |

Riverside local foodFollowing on the success of last year’s inaugural Grow Riverside – Citrus and Beyond! Conference, which drew a sold out audience of over 420 entrepreneurs, residents, growers, business execs, non profit participants, researchers and students focused on propelling the growth of urban agriculture and the local food marketplace in cities across the country, Seedstock in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside is happy to announce that it will be hosting the 2nd Annual Grow Riverside Conference – The Future of Local Food.

Building off of the momentum of last year’s conference as well as local food development and growth in the City of Riverside, the conference will explore solutions to help cities establish and bolster their local food system initiatives. Using the City of Riverside as a model, the program will look at the steps the City has taken to begin to build and strengthen its local food system.

Read More

Land Trust Secures Vacant Lots for Urban Agriculture, Recreation in LA’s Underserved Neighborhoods

December 19, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of the LA Neighborhood Land Trust

Photo courtesy of the LA Neighborhood Land Trust

Founded in 2002, the LA Neighborhood Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that identifies underutilized space in a 475-square miles area in and around Los Angeles, and transforms it into green space for urban agriculture and community recreation projects.

Real estate costs are high in Los Angeles, so the work of the Trust moves forward one small lot at a time.

“Our little land trust is good with conserving half-acre properties and creating green space in a community that has never existed before,” says Mark Glassock, director of special projects for the Trust. “In terms of our acreage, we are quite small, but in terms of our impact and our reach in terms of population, I believe we’re actually very, very large.” Read More

Sustainable Momentum and Local Food Demand Drive Co-op’s Development in Riverside

November 19, 2014 |
Riverside Food Co-op’s Crop Box is featured at this Co-op exhibit. The Crop Box, offered monthly to Co-op members, includes numerous in-season fruits, vegetables and greens. (photo courtesy of Diana Hyatt/Riverside Food Co-op)

Riverside Food Co-op’s Crop Box is featured at this Co-op exhibit. The Crop Box, offered monthly to Co-op members, includes numerous in-season fruits, vegetables and greens. (photo courtesy of Diana Hyatt/Riverside Food Co-op)

The Riverside Food Co-op is not only increasing access to locally-produced foods in Riverside, California, but the organization is also bringing other entities together toward this cause.

Riverside was hit hard by the Great Recession, and according to Nick Melquiades, a member of the Co-op’s CORE (Community of Outstanding and Resourceful Entrepreneurs) Team, the Riverside Food Co-op was borne from those difficult times.

“The Co-op formed in response to the recession in Riverside, including real estate foreclosures and a bad economic climate,” Melquiades says. “We needed something more independent.” Read More

To Reinforce Gardens Riverside Brings in Org to Work with Community

November 18, 2014 |
Viviana Franco is founder and executive director of From Lot to Spot, an organization that spearheads efforts for more community gardens and green space throughout Southern California.  photo courtesy of Viviana Franco/From Lot to Spot

Viviana Franco is founder and executive director of From Lot to Spot, an organization that spearheads efforts for more community gardens and green space throughout Southern California. photo courtesy of Viviana Franco/From Lot to Spot

Los Angeles-headquartered From Lot to Spot is true to its name—the organization transforms unused, vacant lots into vibrant spots of green space and parkland.

According to founder and executive director Viviana Franco, From Lot to Spot has spearheaded several urban and community garden initiatives throughout Southern California, including several in Riverside.

Franco says Riverside hired From Lot to Spot as a partner in building up the gardens, specifically in capacity building and leadership processes. These gardens include Tequesquite Community Garden, Arlanza Community Garden, and East Side Community Garden at Emerson Elementary School. Read More

Presentation: The Potential of Regional and Local Agriculture to Generate Economic and Social Returns

May 7, 2014 |

The following presentation, which was given by Dr. Glenda Humiston, California State Director for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, looks at the vast opportunities out there to generate economic and social return by leveraging and promoting local and regional agriculture assets. The presentation was given at the Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! conference on March 19 – 20 at The Riverside Convention in Riverside, CA.

‘Grow Riverside’ Conference Presentations Posted to Growriverside.com; Seattle’s Local Food Action Initiative

April 2, 2014 |

Over the next couple of days, we will be posting the presentations from the conference. For those of you not in attendance, the presentations from the conference explore local food and urban agriculture from the policy, technology, farm-to-school and market opportunity standpoints. The presentation below was put together by Richard Conlin, who served four terms on the Seattle City Council, from 1998 to 2013, and developed the Local Food Action Initiative to increase Seattle’s access to nutritional foods, reduce costs for farmers bringing their produce to markets in Seattle, and strengthen the security of our food supply. He also founded and currently co-chairs the Regional Food Policy Council.

 

Stay tuned for more presentations in the days to come!