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Only Two Weeks Remain Until Local Food-Focused GrowRIVERSIDE Conference!

May 27, 2015 |

Just TWO WEEKS remain to REGISTER for the 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference – The Future of Local Food, which begins on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at The Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, California. The conference will assist cities in examining and developing solutions to develop and strengthen their local food and urban agriculture infrastructure.

The event will feature a broad lineup of speakers ranging from urban agriculture entrepreneurs, USDA representatives from Marketing Services and Rural Development, startup business experts from the Small Business Administration, SCORE and the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program, local food policy experts, sustainable farmers and hydroponic practitioners as well as numerous buyers and distributors of local produce.

Limited Tickets Remain! Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

The conference will cover a number of topics that will appeal to a diversity of audiences from growers and entrepreneurs to city planners, researchers and citizens interested in learning about how they can play a role in building their local food system. Select topics include:

Read More

Water Usage, Policy and Technology and the Impact on Agriculture in Riverside and Beyond

May 27, 2015 |

California is in a drought crisis and urban water providers have been ordered to reduce demands by as much as 36%. Statewide, farmers are facing curtailments to their surface water rights and are rapidly depleting their local groundwater basins. Riverside, fortunately, is blessed with a secure, local, and sustainable groundwater supply, in no small part due to its agricultural heritage.

To explore the latest water challenges and opportunities for local agriculture in Riverside and beyond, please join us at the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: The Future of Local Food where a panel of water experts will come together to discuss current water policy, the impact of the drought on growers in the city, region and state, and how growers can use water efficiently and economically.

water policy panelists

Register here to attend this session: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

Kevin S. Milligan was named the Deputy General Manager for Riverside Public Utilities in December 2014. He also serves as the Assistant General Manager in charge of Water Delivery. He started his career with RPU in 1984 as an entry level engineering aide, advancing steadily to principal water engineer before joining the executive management staff in 2005.

Craig Miller, a veteran engineering professional with more than 25 years of experience, serves as Western’s deputy general manager. He’s responsible for assisting with managing the day-to-day activities of the District, including oversight of Operations, Engineering, Community Affairs and Water Resources.

Justin Scott-Coe, Public Affairs Director for the Monte Vista Water District, has over 11 years of experience in water resource management and public affairs program development. During his eight years at the District, Mr. Scott-Coe has served in and now manages the Public Affairs Department, providing public information, water resource planning, and demand management services.

Celeste Cantu is the General Manager, for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority and the Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plan called One Water One Watershed (OWOW) that addresses multiple issues and achieve sustainability in the Santa Ana River Watershed. Ms. Cantu has served as the Executive Director for the California State Water Resources Control Board and served as the USDA Rural Development State Director for California during the Clinton Administration.

The conference begins in 15 days. Register now to attend this session and many others to learn how to build and strengthen the local food and agriculture in the City of Riverside and beyond.

Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

Disruptive Events and Their Impact on the Emergence of Technology in Agriculture

May 25, 2015 |

From droughts and global food price shocks to climate change and resource constraints, disruptive events continue to rattle an ever shifting agricultural landscape that must increase worldwide food production by 70% in the next 35 years to feed an estimated 10 billion by 2050. While many paint these disruptive events as cataclysmic, others rise to meet them with technological solutions – form high tech irrigation systems and innovative soil monitoring tools to hydroponics and aquaponics and novel GIS mapping tools – that seek to fill gaps, or else make growing even more efficient and sustainable.

To discuss how growers and entrepreneurs are using technology to combat the challenges posed by disruptive events while simultaneously bolstering a growing local food marketplace, the 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: The Future of Local Food will feature a breakout session entitled “Disruption and Technology in Agriculture”. The session will be run by the following noteworthy growers and technologists:

robert robert and ag kawamuraRobert Tse creates and implements innovative strategies to benefit California’s regional and rural economies. He integrates policies, resources and initiatives through federal, state, local government and public-private partnerships. He is the USDA lead for the Strong Cities – Strong Communities, (SC2) White House pilot initiative in Fresno. He is driving strategies for urban-rural broadband infrastructure and development of regional agriculture technology economic clusters in areas such as Fresno and Sacramento. His broad strategic reach also includes goods movement, international trade, health-food-agriculture systems, veterans and farming, water, and energy.

A.G. Kawamura is a third generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County. He is co-chair of Solutions From the Land, a non-profit organization that collaborates with farmers, ranchers, foresters and stakeholders to implement climate smart land management practices and strategies.

Bob Knight is a fourth generation farmer in the Inland Empire, Bob Knight grows oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, kiwifruit, vegetables, two kids, and two dogs on his 67-acre farm in Redlands. His mission is to make SoCal small farms sustainable by connecting local growers to family, school, and college eaters through CSAs and Farm2School.

The conference is less than three weeks away and limited tickets remain.

Register here to attend this session: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

More Information on the conference: http://growriverside.com/

SCORE Mentors to Provide Free One-on-One Business Guidance at GrowRIVERSIDE Conference

May 23, 2015 |
cooking block score image

John Schrader, owner of the Cooking Block in Redlands, California, benefited from SCORE counseling in making his new business a success. (photo courtesy of Ann Oliver/SCORE Inland Empire)

While the demand for entrepreneurs in the realm of sustainable and innovative food and agriculture is strong, often, new entrepreneurs need guidance. The SCORE Inland Empire chapter is looking to fill this need with free face-to-face business counseling services at the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE conference, scheduled June 11-13, 2015 in downtown Riverside, California.

SCORE, which has chapters all across the United States, uses mentors to guide and coach new and budding entrepreneurs. SCORE mentors draw from a wealth of business experience to guide and advise new businesspeople.

SCORE will engage with GrowRIVERSIDE for the first time this year. Thomas Evans, an Inland Empire SCORE mentor from Riverside, serves on the board of directors of a local water agency. It was through his connections there that he learned of GrowRIVERSIDE, and later he was able to connect SCORE to GrowRIVERSIDE. Read More

Limited Tix Remain for June 11 Citrus Circle Farm-to-Table Dinner; Reserve your spot now!

May 21, 2015 |

citrus circle dinnerIf you missed the first two “Dinners in the Grove”, don’t fret. The Citrus Circle Dinner on Thursday, June 11 in association with the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE Conference promises a divine local farm-to-table dining experience. There are still a few tickets left, so grab yours now!

The dinner will take place in the Sunkist Center at California Citrus State Historic Park and feature a farm-to-table dining experience from sponsor The Salted Pig featuring food and drinks concocted and cooked up using local Riverside ingredients, including citrus from nearby groves. The dinner will also feature beer from sponsor Wicks Brewing Company and wine from Galleano Winery. There will also be a live band.

Register Here: http://citruscircledinner.eventbrite.com

The dinner will also feature a keynote address from Robert Egger, the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen, which recovers fresh fruits and vegetables to fuel a culinary arts job training program for men and women coming out of foster care and older men and women returning from incarceration. L.A. Kitchen is currently holding a pilot program at St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, and will move into its own kitchen facility in 2015.

Robert pioneered this model during his 24 year tenure as the President of the DC Central Kitchen, the country’s first “community kitchen”, where food donated by hospitality businesses and farms is used to fuel a nationally recognized culinary arts job training program. Since opening in 1989, the Kitchen (which is a $10 million a year, self-sustaining, social enterprise) has produced over 26 million meals and helped 1,000 men and women gain full time employment.

Seats are limited for the dinner, so register now to reserve your spot for a special night to support GrowRIVERSIDE and celebrate local food and citrus in Riverside.

Register Here: http://citruscircledinner.eventbrite.com

The Local Food Potential of Indoor Hydroponic Farming in Cities

May 20, 2015 |

The future of local food will not be restricted to produce grown in fields. Arable land grows scarcer and consequently more expensive by the year. Thus, many new farmers and entrepreneurs are opting to explore and pursue growing produce in controlled environments. Utilizing hydroponic technologies that typically require only 10% of the water necessary to grow similar crops outdoors, these indoor farmers can often produce more than 20 times the traditional field-crop yield in the same amount of space.

Indoor farms can also be placed anywhere – including in the middle of a city, in vacant warehouses and on land that is often much cheaper than arable land. That indoor farms can be placed in cities also enables them to provide more local food access to buyers – from restaurants and institutions to wholesalers and supermarkets.

To discuss the potential of indoor farming in cities Pierre Sleiman, founder and CEO of Go Green Agriculture, an innovative company that grows local, premium quality leafy greens inside high-tech greenhouses using hydroponics, will participate in a session at the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE: Future of Local Food Conference entitled “The Local Food Potential of Indoor Farming in Cities.”

pierre sleiman headpierre sleiman titlePierre has become involved in the mission of accelerating the movement towards local and sustainable farming and fostering interest in youth to choose agriculture as an exciting career. Pierre was recently named a “Champion of Change” in the “Future of Agriculture” by President Obama. He was named as one of the “50 People to Watch in 2013″ by San Diego Magazine and was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the San Diego Farm Bureau.

GrowRIVERSIDE is only 23 days away, so click on the image below to reserve your spot to hear Pierre discuss how he developed a successful hydroponic growing operation in the Southern California and the potential for indoor agriculture in cities:

23 days untilAdditional Confirmed GrowRIVERSIDE Speakers:

Edward Avalos – Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA
Craig Miller – Deputy General Manager at Western Municipal Water District (WMWD)
Kevin Milligan – Deputy General Manager at Riverside Public Utilities (RPU)
Fortino Morales III – UC Riverside Community Garden Coordinator
Bob Knight – Founder of Inland Orange Conservancy and Old Grove Orange, Inc.
Cheryl Garner – Executive Director of Dining, Conference and Catering Services at University of California, Riverside
Gene Giacomelli – Director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at University of Arizona
Justin Scott-Coe – Public Affairs Director for Monte Vista Water District
Kathleen Reed – Sustainable Food Program Manager for Kaiser Permanente
Tracy Kahn – Curator of the UCR Citrus Variety Collection
Daniel Francis – Owner of Daniel Francis Design and Consulting
Mark Winne – Co-founder of the Connecticut Food Policy Council
Robert Egger – Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen
Dwight Detter – Local Forager for Whole Foods Market
Viviana Franco – Executive Director of From Lot To Spot
Robert Tse – State Broadband Coordinator for USDA CA Rural Development
… And more!

Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

Climate Smart Agriculture for Small and Urban Farmers; 25 days till GrowRIVERSIDE!

May 18, 2015 |

Droughts, above average temperatures in winter and unexpected frosts. The climate is in an unprecedented state of flux and unpredictable weather is having an outsized impact on farmers and their ability to produce food efficiently. Riverside farmers as well as farmers across the country and world face similar challenges related to climate change and must look to adopt new practices and technologies to farm smarter.

To learn more about how farmers and agriculture communities can develop long-term strategy and production improvements that can help to mitigate the risks of changing climate conditions, A.G. Kawamura, a local farmer and former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, will give a talk entitled “Climate Smart Agriculture for Small and Urban Farmers” at the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE: The Future of Local Food Conference on June 11 – 12 (with community day on June 13) at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, CA.

AG Kawamura Just headAG Kawamura title

Register now to hear A.G. Kawamura discuss the role Climate Smart Agriculture will play for small and urban farmers by clicking on the link below:

Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

A.G. Kawamura is a third generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County. He is co-chair of Solutions From the Land, a non-profit organization that collaborates with farmers, ranchers, foresters and stakeholders to implement climate smart land management practices and strategies. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100 acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA. AG served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 2003-2010. Read More

A Case for Economically Viable Small Farms that Benefit Community and Economy; 28 day till GrowRIVERSIDE!

May 15, 2015 |

Across Southern California, a new breed of small farmer is emerging to not only take advantage of the growing demand for local food, but also to connect urban communities to their food. These farmers are nimble, resourceful and pushing the limits often working on backyard plots within or on the outskirts of cities that are less than 1-acre in size. Yet they are creating economically viable business models by growing salable produce on every inch of their land.

To learn more about how farmers are successfully growing on small lots and how this type of small plot agriculture might benefit your city and community, or even find a place in your own backyard, you won’t want to miss the GrowRIVERSIDE Conference breakout session entitled “Developing Urban Farms that Benefit City, Economy and Community” featuring:

Rishi Hop Imagerishi hop titles

Hop Hopkins, co-founder of PANTHER RIDGE FARM, is a certified Arborist, a Master Gardener, has his Basic Permaculture Design Certificate and is a certified Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) instructor. He received his BA from New College of California as a graduate in the Culture Ecology & Sustainable Communities program. He and his wife, Adalila Zelada-Garcia, steward a quarter of an acre of land inhabited with chickens, honey bees, and multiple compost piles. Hop is an active member of the Urban Agriculture Working Group of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.

Rishi Kumar is an ecological designer, urban farmer, and educator. Since 2011, he has operated The Growing Home, an urban farm and model of suburban sustainable living based near Los Angeles. Rishi’s work has been featured by the Los Angeles Times, GOOD Magazine, KPCC, KPFK, KCRW, and the urban farming documentary “Urban Fruit”. Rishi has a background in Computer Science, with degree from UC San Diego.  He has apprenticed at Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya Farm in Dehradun, India. Rishi is a Master Gardener and Permaculture Design Certificate holder.

GrowRIVERSIDE is only 28 days away, so click on the link below to reserve your spot to hear Rishi Kumar and Hop Hopkins discuss how you can leverage small plots from your backyard to a vacant lot to create thriving urban farms that benefit the city, economy and community:

http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

Additional Confirmed GrowRIVERSIDE Speakers:

A.G. Kawamura – Former Secretary of the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture (2003 – 2010)
Cheryl Garner – Executive Director of Dining, Conference and Catering Services at University of California, Riverside
Tracy Kahn – Curator of the UCR Citrus Variety Collection
Bob Knight – Founder of Inland Orange Conservancy and Old Grove Orange, Inc.
Fortino Morales III – UC Riverside Community Garden Coordinator
Kathleen Reed – Sustainable Food Program Manager for Kaiser Permanente
Justin Scott-Coe – Public Affairs Director for Monte Vista Water District
Mark Winne – Co-founder of the Connecticut Food Policy Council
Ramiro Lobo – UCCE Small Farms & Agricultural Economics Advisor
Gene Giacomelli – Director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at University of Arizona
Robert Egger – Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen
Dwight Detter – Local Forager for Whole Foods Market
Viviana Franco – Executive Director of From Lot To Spot
Robert Tse – State Broadband Coordinator for USDA CA Rural Development
Pierre Sleiman – Founder of Go Green Agriculture
… And more!

Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

 More information on the conference: http://growriverside.com

Farm-to-school luminary to discuss local food in school lunches; 29 days till GrowRIVERSIDE!

May 14, 2015 |

Curious about how Riverside Unified School District’s (RUSD) Nutrition Services team is leading the way in the farm-to-school movement to provide healthy and fresh local to 43,000 students spread across 31 schools located in the district while simultaneously helping local farmers to grow their businesses and the local economy?

Then you won’t want to miss RUSD Nutrition Services Director Rodney Taylor’s keynote address at the upcoming 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: The Future of Local Food on June 11 – 13 at The Riverside Convention Center with Community Day on June 13.

Currently RUSD students enjoy access to locally-sourced salad bars and experiential learning opportunities in agriculture and nutrition and much of the farm-to-school program’s success in Riverside has been spearheaded by Rodney and his team.

Rodney Taylor (above), Nutrition Services Director for Riverside Unified School District will deliver a keynote address at the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE Conference on the impact of the farm-to-school program on not only RUSD's 43,000 students, but also on the local farmers that grow and supply the food

Rodney Taylor (above), Nutrition Services Director for Riverside Unified School District will deliver a keynote address at the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE Conference on the impact of the farm-to-school program on not only RUSD’s 43,000 students, but also on the local farmers that grow and supply the food

In 1997, Rodney 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 he wanted to increase healthy food options for public school students in Riverside, there was no shortage of doubters.

Rodney 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.

Rodney Taylor is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. In 2013 he received the Center for Ecoliteracy’s “ Leadership Award”, The California Endowment’s “Health Heroes” Award, Loma Linda University Award for “The Promotion Of Healthy Lifestyles—For Outstanding Commitment To The Public’s Health,” The Riverside Human Relations Commission “Heroes Award” and the N.A.A.C.P. “Education Award,” just to name a few.

GrowRIVERSIDE is only 29 days away, so click on the following link to reserve your spot to hear Rodney Taylor discuss the future of local on RUSD students across the region:

 http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

Additional Confirmed Speakers

Kathleen Reed – Sustainable Food Program Manager for Kaiser Permanente
Justin Scott-Coe – Public Affairs Director for Monte Vista Water District
Mark Winne – Co-founder of the Connecticut Food Policy Council
Fortino Morales III – UC Riverside Community Garden Coordinator
Tracy Kahn – Curator of the UCR Citrus Variety Collection
Celeste Cantu – General Manager at Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA)
Ramiro Lobo – UCCE Small Farms & Agricultural Economics Advisor
Gene Giacomelli – Director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at University of Arizona
Robert Egger – Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen
Dwight Detter – Local Forager for Whole Foods Market
Viviana Franco – Executive Director of From Lot To Spot
Robert Tse – State Broadband Coordinator for USDA CA Rural Development
Erika Block – Local Orbit
Bob Knight – Founder of Inland Orange Conservancy and Old Grove Orange, Inc.
Pierre Sleiman – Founder of Go Green Agriculture
… And more!

Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

More information on the conference: http://growriverside.com

What is the Future of Local Food in Riverside and Beyond?

May 11, 2015 |

Riverside local foodTo help answer this question and explore solutions to create a vibrant marketplace for local agriculture in Riverside and cities and counties across the country, please join us at The Riverside Convention Center on June 11-12 for the 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: The Future of Local Food with Community Day on June 13.

What are the objectives of GrowRIVERSIDE?

  • To create a vibrant local food marketplace in which a greater percentage of the food available in restaurants, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and other institutions comes from local growers;
  • To develop an infrastructure of local food production, distribution and marketing that generates new jobs and benefits the community and local economy
  • To aid aspiring farmers and entrepreneurs leverage agricultural assets to grow businesses that benefit the local economy and community;
  • To insure access to healthy local food for all

Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

Who will be there?

Experts in local food business creation; water management professionals to address growing in a drought; practitioners in food marketing and distribution; farmers adept in growing profitably on small plots of land; community food access experts; and more!

Featured Keynote Speakers
GrowRIVERSIDE Keynotes
Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

Additional Confirmed Speakers

Kathleen Reed – Sustainable Food Program Manager for Kaiser Permanente
Justin Scott-Coe – Public Affairs Director for Monte Vista Water District
Mark Winne – Co-founder of the Connecticut Food Policy Council
Fortino Morales III – UC Riverside Community Garden Coordinator
Tracy Kahn – Curator of the UCR Citrus Variety Collection
Celeste Cantu – General Manager at Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA)
Ramiro Lobo – UCCE Small Farms & Agricultural Economics Advisor
Gene Giacomelli – Director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at University of Arizona
Robert Egger – Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen
Dwight Detter – Local Forager for Whole Foods Market
Viviana Franco – Executive Director of From Lot To Spot
Robert Tse – State Broadband Coordinator for USDA CA Rural Development
Erika Block – Local Orbit
Bob Knight – Founder of Inland Orange Conservancy and Old Grove Orange, Inc.
Pierre Sleiman – Founder of Go Green Agriculture
… And more!

Register here: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

More information on the conference: http://growriverside.com