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Can Local, Urban Agriculture Scale? Hydroponic Farm Urban Till Says, ‘Yes’

January 20, 2016 |
Photo courtesy of Urban Till

Photo courtesy of Urban Till

Sustainable growing methods are part of the very fiber of Urban Till’s operations, but the Chicago-based hydroponics farm isn’t an outgrowth of the organic food movement. In fact, it actually has roots in the traditional food industry.

Founder Brock Leach comes from a background in food distribution. Before starting Urban Till with his friend, hydroponics expert Todd Williamson, he worked as manager of continuous improvement over at Martin Brower, a multinational company that provides supply chain management services to restaurants operators around the globe. Watching the increasing costs of moving edible goods along the supply line, he came to the conclusion that local production of food could be profitable, if it was done right. Read More

Keynote Speakers Set for 3rd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: Cultivating the Future on March 21 – 22

January 20, 2016 |

Keynote speakers with expertise in local economics, urban farming, innovation and growing local food systems are set to converge on the City of Riverside for the upcoming 3rd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: Cultivating the Future, which will take place on March 21 – 22, 2016 in the Highlander Union Building at University of California, Riverside. The keynote speakers include a who’s who list of agriculture luminaries in the state of California – from current California Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture, Karen Ross, and Vice President of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Glenda Humiston, to Solutions from the Land chair and former California Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, and Michael Shuman, Founding Fellow at Cutting Edge Capital.

This year’s conference is being organized by the City of Riverside. The event’s objectives according to the City of Riverside’s registration page are as follows:

  • Equip attendees with knowledge and tools to create vibrant local food systems
  • Generate opportunities for economic development and community engagement
  • Advance public policy related to food and agriculture
  • Provide a venue for stakeholders to network
  • Present undergraduate and graduate research projects in food and agriculture

Here is more detail on the 3rd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: Cultivating the Future keynote speakers: Read More

GrowRIVERSIDE Conference Streaming Live!

June 10, 2015 |

If for some reason you can’t make it to the GrowRIVERSIDE Future of Local Conference, which starts tomorrow, don’t fret. You can catch the entire event, streamed live right here:

Check it out!

We will also be recording all of the conference sessions for later viewing.

If you’re looking for more information on the 2016 3rd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: Cultivating the Future, you can find out more about the program here and register here!

Limited Tickets Available for “GrowRIVERSIDE” Conference June 11

June 1, 2015 |

Riverside, CA (PRWEB) June 01, 2015 – This is the final call for registration to attend the 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: The Future of Local Food, June 11 – 13 at The Riverside Convention Center. The conference will assist cities in examining and developing solutions to strengthen their local food systems and urban agriculture infrastructure.

Organized for the city of Riverside by Seedstock co-founder Robert Puro, the conference 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 U.S. Small Business Administration, local food policy experts, sustainable farmers and hydroponic practitioners as well as numerous buyers and distributors of local produce. Read More

GrowRIVERSIDE Homegrown Riverside Recipe Contest

May 5, 2015 |


The “Homegrown Riverside Recipe Contest” is entering its inaugural year. The contest seeks to highlight the abundance of local food in Riverside and inspire new recipes and ways of cooking throughout our greater Riverside community. The “Homegrown Riverside Recipe Contest” aims to connect chefs, food entrepreneurs, cottage food providers and home cooks. Contest winners will be announced at the GrowRIVERSIDE Conference. The 1st place winner will have their recipe featured for distribution at Community Day on June 13. Applications will be received according to the contest instructions and rules from now until the end of May!

Contest Rules and Details:

Home cooks are encouraged to submit a recipe that features at least one (1) local item of produce purchased at a farmer’s market or farm stand in Riverside or San Bernardino Counties. Read More

‘Dinner in the Grove’ to Highlight Importance of Local Food and Farmers to Riverside Unified School District

May 1, 2015 |
Fox Farm in Riverside is the site of an upcoming Dinner in the Grove on May 16—proceeds will benefit GrowRIVERSIDE. The farm is home to numerous citrus trees. (photo courtesy of Scott Berndt)

Fox Farm in Riverside is the site of an upcoming Dinner in the Grove on May 16—proceeds will benefit GrowRIVERSIDE. The farm is home to numerous citrus trees. (photo courtesy of Scott Berndt)

Farm-to-school guru and Riverside Unified School District director of Nutrition Services Rodney Taylor oversees the daily food needs of 43,000 students, but on May 16, Taylor and his culinary team will prepare and serve food to 60 guests at the 2nd Dinner in the Grove, which benefits GrowRIVERSIDE.

This event, set at Fox Farm in Riverside, will support the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE conference, slated for June 11-13 in Riverside, California. Additionally, the dinner will celebrate the RUSD Nutrition Team’s accomplishments and continuing efforts in feeding healthy, local food to students in the district, as well as Riverside County’s rich citrus and agricultural heritage.

RUSD Nutrition Services won’t merely prepare the food—Taylor and others on his staff will speak on the importance of local food and farmers to the district. Host farmer Scott Berndt of Fox Farm and Lana Hapeman of Hapeman Ranch will also speak about the importance of preserving urban farmland in Riverside and elsewhere. Read More

Commercial Kitchen Incubator Grows Small Food Startups in Southern California

April 29, 2015 |
Photo Credit: ShareKitchen

Sylvia Garza and her company, Que Mami Organics, got their start in ShareKitchen Photo Credit: ShareKitchen

Starting a small food business isn’t easy; high start-up costs and strict regulations can prevent even the savviest of small food entrepreneurs from realizing their dream. If you live in California’s Coachella Valley, however, starting a small food business has gotten a bit easier thanks to ShareKitchen, a commercial kitchen incubator in Cathedral City.

Angela Janus started ShareKitchen in 2012 after years of watching her friends in the food business struggle to get good ideas off the ground. Janus, who had 25 years of experience in the hospitality and food industry, recognized that there were many barriers to starting a small food business, some of which were too hard for small food entrepreneurs to overcome on their own. Read More

Open to Community, GrowRIVERSIDE Gathering on Thursday, May 7 to Focus on Value-added Food Business

April 23, 2015 |

On the heels of the success of the first GrowRIVERSIDE Community Gathering comes the second in the series of gatherings, which will take place on Thursday, May 7 at Stewarts Boathouse at Fairmount Park from 6:00pm – 8:30pm and focus on the development of value-added local food businesses. Register here for the free event:

The event will feature a panel discussion with local Riverside value-added food business owners and presentations by Angela Janus, Founder of ShareKitchen, on how the company’s incubator program works to help value-added local food businesses grow and thrive in Riverside, and Nick Melquiades of the Riverside Food Co-op, who will discuss how the group works with the community and provides new market access for local farmers.

There will also be an open forum discussion in which attending community members will have the floor to discuss any local food initiatives that they are working on and how others in the community can get involved.

Read More