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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!

UC Riverside Takes Active Role in Promoting Community and Local Food Systems at ‘Grow Riverside’ Conference

March 26, 2014 |

UC Riverside CNASUC Riverside, a sponsor of last week’s ‘Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond’ Conference, played a large role in shaping the conference proceedings and contributing concrete ideas and steps to help the City of Riverside develop local agriculture strategies and solutions to reconnect with its agricultural roots and foster a robust and sustainable local food future.

Fortino Morales III, Director of the UC Riverside Community Garden, a 3-acre community garden on UCR’s campus, participated on the ‘Local Ag Growth Strategies’ panel on day one of the conference. The panel looked at the infrastructure needed to grow new farmers from educational programs and farmer training to incentives for entrepreneurs and more. Read More

Over 400 Attendees Gather at Sold Out Grow Riverside Conference to Drive Local Food System Development in City

March 21, 2014 |

If ever there was doubt about the interest, desire and motivation among the citizens of the City of Riverside to develop local agriculture strategies and solutions to reconnect with their agricultural roots and create economic opportunities that growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders can leverage to foster a robust and sustainable local food future, it was allayed at the SOLD OUT ‘Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!’ Conference Conference that took place at the Riverside Convention Center on March 19 – 20.

A diverse array of over 420 attendees from growers, ag entrepreneurs, local food advocates and distributors to City of Riverside officials, university students and professors from across California, business executives and California FFA members from Horte Vista High School were on hand to hear from some of the most innovative thinkers, experts and practitioners in the local and urban agriculture sphere.

The conference will return next year on March 5 – 6, so mark your calendars! In the interim, please stay tuned to GrowRiverside.com to learn about outcomes-focused activities, actions and initiatives that you can be involved with to help shape the future of the local food and agriculture in the City of Riverside.

Below is a gallery of images, tweets, facebook and instagram posts that summarize what took place at the game-changing Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! conference.

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Grow Riverside is SOLD OUT!!!!! Live Streaming!

March 18, 2014 |

Grow Riverside has sold out! The event will, however, be streamed live via Ustream. So, if you can’t be there in person, you’ll still be able to watch the proceedings!

To stream the event live, go to https://new.livestream.com/accounts/6862664/events/2851208 at 8:30am tomorrow!

‘Grow Riverside’ Conference Featured in Press Enterprise: Officials Hope Conference Plants Seeds for Local Farms

March 16, 2014 |

Alicia Robinson, staff writer for the Press Enterprise writes, “Though acres of concrete and buildings outnumber farms and citrus groves in the Inland area today, farmers and local officials want to get back to the area’s agricultural roots.

A conference scheduled in Riverside for Wednesday, March 19, and Thursday, March 20, aims to explain the value of locally-grown food, show there’s a market for it, and help people navigate the challenges of setting up a small farm.” Read more here!

“Grow Riverside” Urban Ag Conference Cultivates CURE Scholarship Competition Opportunity for Students

March 14, 2014 |

Scholars aching for an opportunity to help the environment, stimulate local urban agriculture, and, perhaps, win some financial compensation along the way have been offered a sustainable CURE.

Sponsored by the Citizens United for Resources and the Environment (CURE), in partnership with Seedstock’s “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” conference, the CURE Challenge is open to full-time high school, college and university students. The contest charges participants with the task of developing economically viable strategies or land use plans to transform the future of local agriculture in Riverside. Scholarships in the amount of $1000, $500, and $250 will be awarded for the three best submissions.

“A young person’s ideas could be just the catalyst needed to revolutionize sustainable urban agriculture in the Riverside area,” said Malissa McKeith, CURE president. “By tapping into their passion for protecting the environment and developing a creative action plan, three students will secure scholarships for their efforts. It’s a winning opportunity for the students, the city, and the environment.”

Designed as a grassroots, community outreach program to engage youth creativity and entrepreneurship, the CURE Challenge will be launched at the “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” conference, March 19-20 at the Riverside Convention Center. For additional information and competition rules, please visit http://www.growriverside.com/take-the-cure-grow-riverside-challenge/.

In addition to CURE, other sponsors providing support for the “Grow Riverside” event, include: Salted Pig Restaurant, Kaiser Permanente, Western Municipal Water District, UC Riverside, Riverside County Economic Development Agency, Riverside Public Utilities, Wicks Brewing Company, Galleano Winery, Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District, California Baptist University, Riverside Community Health Foundation, Netafim USA, Adkan Engineers, Burrtec, Gless Ranch, Gresham Savage, and CR&R.

Organized for the city of Riverside by Seedstock co-founder Robert Puro, the conference has been formulated as a model for cities looking to enhance local agriculture. Conference registration is filling up fast and reservations for the opening night “Citrus Circle Dinner” are limited. To register for the conference, please visit http://growriverside.eventbrite.com

About Seedstock

Seedstock is a social venture that fosters the development of robust and sustainable local food systems through consulting services and the use of a variety of tools, including the news and information blog Seedstock (http://www.Seedstock.com ) and live events. Seedstock works with government agencies, municipalities and all private sector stakeholders to create a sustainable food ecosystem of innovation, entrepreneurship and investment.

About the City of Riverside

The City of Riverside made the navel orange a symbol of bounty and a household staple in California. Today the City maintains more than 1,000 acres of citrus groves. As Riverside continues to grow, so does local pride for the City’s rich agricultural history and consumer demand for healthful local foods. A full 11 percent of the city’s total acreage is designated for agricultural use, unparalleled for a Southern California city of its size. Riverside’s growers, local government officials, and residents are at the forefront of innovation as a city devoted to sustainable local agriculture.

Limited Seats Remain: Only Six More Days Until Seedstock’s Urban Ag-Focused ‘Grow Riverside’ Conference

March 13, 2014 |

grow riverside conference speakers Only SIX more days remain to obtain tickets at for Seedstock’s urban ag-focused “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” conference. The event, to be held Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-20, at the Riverside Convention Center, will focus on the development of urban agriculture strategies and solutions that cities, Riverside in this particular case, can use to reconnect with their agricultural roots and create economic opportunities that citizens, growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders can leverage to foster a robust and sustainable local food future.

PRESENTED in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside by Seedstock, a social venture that fosters the development of robust and sustainable local food systems through the use of a variety of tools, including the news and information blog seedstock.com, live events and consulting services.

The event will feature a broad lineup of speakers ranging from urban agriculture entrepreneurs, USDA representatives from the Farm Service Agency, Rural Development program and Natural Resources Conservation Service to investors, funding and policy experts, sustainable farmers and aquaponics practitioners and buyers and distributors of local produce; Read More