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.
Limited Seats Remain: Only Six More Days Until Seedstock’s Urban Ag-Focused ‘Grow Riverside’ ConferenceMarch 13, 2014 | Robert Puro
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;
Notable experts in urban agriculture, new farm financing, local food systems development, vegetable crop cultivation, food hubs and digital technology have been added to what’s shaping up to be a blockbuster slate of speakers for the Urban Ag-focused Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! Conference, which will be held at the Riverside Convention Center on March 19 – 20, 2014 in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside.
The conference will focus on the development of urban agriculture and local food system strategies and solutions that cities, Riverside in this particular case, can use to reconnect with their agricultural roots and create economic opportunities that investors, citizens, growers, government officials and other major stakeholders can leverage to foster a robust and sustainable local food future.
Register now to receive the Seed Saver Discount rate at: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com
New additions to the program include:
Martin Anenberg, founder of So Cal Farm Network, started buying and selling locally grown produce in 2004. His first customer was a school district in Los Angeles County that ordered once a week for many of its elementary school’s salad bars.
After growing his business to include restaurants and institutions, Martin joined forces with one of the major produce distributors in downtown Los Angeles. It was this experience where he gained first hand knowledge of how large scale agriculture and distribution worked.
Martin’s mission is to develop a local produce supply chain that resembles the efficiency and positive aspects of mainstream agricultural distribution. By creating a one stop solution for wholesalers, restaurants, institutions, and CSA’s , businesses can focus on what they do best and easily purchase source-verified farm products.
Martin’s past work experiences include Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the University of Massachusetts, Locally Grown Manager for Worldwide Produce, and Business Development Manager for Freshpoint of Southern California. Martin currently serves as a member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council and as a member of the Los Angeles Regional Food Hub Group, which is headed by the Center of Food and Justice at Occidental College. Martin’s work has been featured on PBS’s former series “Life and Times.”
Don Webber, Partner, Cultivating Good, Inc. brings more than 20 years experience in both corporate and non-profit management, leadership and governance to the Cultivating Good team. He has applied his entrepreneurialism to start-up, local and national companies and non-profit organizations. Don is currently a Board Member of Slow Food Temecula Valley.
After creating Harvest 2U, a successful third party CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivering locally grown organic produce in Riverside and San Diego Counties, Don joined forces with E.A.T Marketplace to form Cultivating Good. The purpose of Cultivating Good is to promote awareness, foster education, improve health and create jobs in our communities through a focus on sustainable agriculture and the craft-food industry. Cultivating Good brings an entrepreneurial approach to managing and distributing good, clean, local food literally from the ground to the plate.
Leah Di Bernardo is the award-winning Chef of E.A.T Extraordinary Artisan Table, a locally grown Eatery in the Temecula Valley. Dedicated to providing farm foraged, hand crafted fair, since 2002. E.A.T’s business-mission statement champions purchasing local and supporting your neighbors, as this stimulates the region’s economy and creates conviviality, loyalty & community.
Di Bernardo learned how important small farmers were at a young age while helping her dad on their Oregon farm. It was at this time that she truly fell in love with the art of scratch cooking and the idea that creating a wholesome meal does more than just feed the body – it feeds the soul. After more than 10 years as an accomplished producer in the film and television industry, Leah wanted to pass along these core values to her own daughter, Gabrielle Rose, who’s now 11 years old, and a food advocate in her own right!
So with her sass, her creativity, her ever-present warmth and compassion, Leah now produces great food and phenomenal events- all this while championing, and fighting for small farmers rights and Artisan food producers growth! The Slow Food Movement is at the heart of everything Leah does. She is passionate about the world community of farmers as well as the local food movement and strives to keep traditions and family food heritage alive within all of this. “The food we eat affects how we think, feel and treat others. So eat good, clean food,” she regularly tells customers, family, and friends.
Jenna Smith is the Executive Director of Central Coast Grown, a non-profit organization that works to develop a sustainable regional food system in San Luis Obispo County. Over the last several years she has collaborated directly with the City of San Luis Obispo to bring a 20-acre, multi-enterprise educational farm into production. Currently she serves as the Chair for the San Luis Obispo County Food Systems Coalition and sits on the state-wide California Food Policy Council. Jenna holds a dual M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from American University (Washington, D.C.) and the United Nations-Mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica).
Milt McGiffen is UCR’s Extension Vegetable Specialist and Vice Chair for Extension. He grew up in the rolling farmland and forests of rural western Pennsylvania, earning his BS from Penn State and MS from NCSU. After graduating with his PhD from the University of Illinois, Milt worked as a Research Agronomist for the North Central Soil Conservation Laboratory before beginning his 22 years at UCR. He conducts applied research on crop production, weed management, organic agriculture, and the ecosystem services provided by agriculture. His extension program covers the full range of crop production issues, including training Master Gardener’s and pest control advisors. He has worked in Ukraine, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, China, and several other countries as part of USAID and other programs for small farmers. Dr. McGiffen is particularly interested in bringing together urban dwellers and farmers to sustain agriculture, provide healthy local food, and maintain the environment.
Erika Block is the Founder and CEO of Local Orbit, which provides sales and business management tools for the entrepreneurs & organizations building the New Food Economy. Local Orbit helps build profitable businesses and healthier communities.
Prior to Local Orbit, Erika founded and ran an entrepreneurial arts organization, producing cross-sector partnerships in the US, Great Britain and South Africa. She also led the renovation of a vacant building in Detroit into a theater, gallery and bar where she worked with vendors to source local food for events. Throughout her career, Erika has created collaborative environments that facilitate learning and action. She has an MFA from Columbia University, and did graduate work in Interactive Technology at NYU. Erika comes from a family of fruit peddlers, meat processors, restaurant owners and wholesalers. She is a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow. Other awards include Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40.
Curt Covington is a Managing Director and Area Manager for the Agribusiness Banking Division at San Francisco-based Bank of the West. Bank of the West ranks as the 3rd largest agricultural lender among commercial banks in the United States.
With 34 years of agricultural banking experience, Curt is responsible for managing the growth and performance of the bank’s $1.5 billion regional agricultural loan portfolio.
Prior to joining Bank of the West in 2006, Curt spent a good part of his early banking career in the Farm Credit system followed by a period as a credit administrator with Rabobank. He is the past chairman of the American Bankers Association Ag and Rural Bankers Committee in Washington DC and is the present chairman of the RMA Agricultural Bankers Committee. Curt serves as co-chair and manages two agricultural Lender programs: The Agricultural Lending Institute, a joint venture with California State University, Fresno, and, The Agricultural Banking Institute of the Americas, a joint venture with Universidad del Pacifico, in Peru.
Daniel Allen is the CEO of Farmscape, an urban farming venture based in Los Angeles that has setup more than 350 gardens at homes, schools and restaurants and maintains 125 on a weekly basis. Dan is a Master Gardener and a member of the LA Food Policy Council’s Working Group on Urban Agriculture. He is also a periodic contributor to The Huffington Post and Seedstock.
Register now to receive the Seed Saver Discount rate at: http://growriverside.eventbrite.com
Interested in learning from Cooperative Extension experts about how to set up an economically viable small scale urban farm? Or exploring the future of urban and local agriculture in American cities? Then grab one of the limited Seed Saver Special Tickets (offer expires January 17; so hurry!) and come to Seedstock’s inaugural Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! conference that will be held at the Riverside Convention Center on March 19 – 20 in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside. The event will be a two-day, outcomes-based conference designed to examine and develop solutions that will enable cities, Riverside in this particular case, to reconnect to their agricultural roots and galvanize citizens, growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders around the economic opportunities that can result from employing sustainable urban agriculture.
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; and will cover a variety of topics, including: How to Set up an Economically Viable Small-scale Urban Farm; Local Agriculture Grow Strategies, Urban Agriculture Policy, The Market Opportunity for Urban Agriculture, Innovative and Economically Viable Small-scale Agriculture Solutions and more!
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
Glenda Humiston – California State Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development
Bob Knight – Founder of Inland Orange Conservancy and Old Grove Orange, Inc.
Val Dolcini – State Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA)
Colin and Karen Archipley – Archi’s Acres and Veterans for Sustainable Agriculture Training program (VSAT)
Mark Hoddle – Biological Control Extension Specialist at UC Riverside
Erika Block and Noah Fulmer – Local Orbit
Paula Daniels – Founder of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council
Don Webber – Partner, Cultivating Good, Inc. and Owner of Harvest 2U
Leah Di Bernardo – Exec. Chef & Founder of E.A.T. Extraordinary Artisan Table and Partner, Cultivating Good, Inc.
David Rosenstein – Founder of EVO Farm and Chair of the Aquaponics Association – Western Region
Milt McGiffen – Cooperative Extension Vegetable Crops Specialist & Plant Physiologist at UC Riverside
Pierre Sleiman – Founder of Go Green Agriculture
Rickey Smith – Founder of Urban Green
Rodney K. Taylor – Director of Nutrition Services, for the Riverside Unified School District
Dwight Detter – Local Forager for Whole Foods Market
Hassan Ghamlouch – The Grove
Gabriel Ruiz – Unity Farm
Daniel Aaron Francis – Riverside Permaculture Guild
Etaferahu Takele – Riverside County Director/Area Advisor Farm Management/Agricultural Economics for UC Cooperative Extension
Robert Hewitt – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Clay Monroe – Principal Account Manager for the City of Riverside Public Utilities Department
Fortino Morales III – Community Garden Coordinator at University of California, Riverside
Rick Pruetz (FAICP) – Founder of Planning & Implementation Strategies
REGISTRATION & TICKETS: A limited number of Early Bird Tickets remain, so register quickly to reserve your spot! http://growriverside.eventbrite.com
Seedstock “Grow Riverside” Conference to Provide Template for Cities Developing Urban Sustainable AgricultureDecember 11, 2013 | seedstock
If you are an elected official, county supervisor, council member, city manager, planning director, community development director or finance director looking to bring the budding concept of local sustainable agriculture to your community, “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” is the conference to attend!
The event, to be held at the Riverside Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-20, 2014, will feature keynote speakers Dr. Glenda Humiston, California director for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, and Val Dolcini, California executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.
An expert in environmental and agricultural issues, Dr. Humiston will share her insights of more than 25 years working on public policy development and program implementation supporting rural development and sustainable communities. Dolcini, who oversees 30 county offices from Mt. Shasta to the fields of the Imperial Valley, will elaborate on his primary mission of delivering USDA programs such as farm loans, commodity price support, conservation support and other available resources to California’s farmers and ranchers.
Other notables presenting keynote addresses will be Paula Daniels, former senior advisor to the Mayor of Los Angeles on Food Policy and Special Projects in Water and founder and present chair of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council; and Rodney Taylor, Director of Nutrition Services for the Riverside Unified School District.
“The Grow Riverside conference is designed as a template for regions seeking to identify the economic and community advantages of local urban sustainable farming,” said Robert Puro, Seedstock co-founder and Grow Riverside event organizer. “We are thrilled to present our attendees with these illustrious keynote speakers and the opportunity to hear from some of the most respected experts in the arenas of agriculture, food policy, and nutrition.”
The conference will explore solutions to sustainably increasing local food in an economically viable manner and developing practical next steps to leverage an area’s agricultural assets. The underlying objective is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable agriculture and forge new partnerships to develop creative solutions to building and expanding local urban agriculture.
This conference is being organized by Seedstock in partnership with the City of Riverside. For additional information and to purchase early bird tickets, please visit http://www.growriverside.com
Riverside, CA – How can cities leverage unused agricultural land to increase the supply of locally available and create new jobs and farmers? What small scale urban agriculture solutions are bearing fruit? Is it possible to create an economically viable farming business on one or two acres of land? How can the USDA help? What are innovators in the sustainable urban agriculture space doing? What policy needs to be put into place to facilitate an active agricultural economy in a city and on its fringes?
These and other questions will be the focus of Seedstock’s upcoming Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! conference, which is set to take place on March 19 – 20 at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, CA. The event will feature urban agriculture innovators, key policy makers, nutrition experts, and investors, who will partake in a two-day, outcomes-based conference to examine solutions to help cities, Riverside in this particular case, to galvanize their citizens, growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders around the economic opportunities that can result from employing sustainable urban agriculture.
Some of the innovators and noteworthy presenters who will address these issues include:
Pierre Sleiman is a young entrepreneur who 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 is the founder and CEO of Go Green Agriculture, a local farming business that grows local, high-quality leafy greens. He has been named as one of the “50 People to Watch in 2013” by San Diego Magazine and has been featured in over two-dozen other publications and live news broadcasts. He holds a Masters degree in Business from UC San Diego and a double Computer Science/Business bachelor’s degree from UC Riverside. Pierre was also recently elected to the Board of Directors of the San Diego Farm Bureau.
“Grow Riverside” Conference to Examine Economic, Community Benefits of Local Sustainable AgricultureNovember 21, 2013 | seedstock
News Release: Riverside, CA – November 21, 2013 – Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!, slated for Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-20, 2014, will reconnect the City of Riverside to its agricultural roots as well as provide a template for other cities interested in identifying the economic and community advantages of local sustainable farming.
The objectives of the conference, to be held at the Riverside Convention Center, will define opportunities for food production within Riverside’s environs, explore solutions to sustainably increase local food in an economically viable manner, and develop practical next steps to leverage the area’s rich agricultural assets.
“One of society’s burgeoning challenges is the need to establish local, sustainable food sources,” said Seedstock co-founder and Grow Riverside event organizer, Robert Puro. “The conference seeks to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable agriculture by uniting citizens, growers, advocates, government officials, and other major stakeholders to forge new partnerships and, ultimately, develop creative solutions to building and expanding local urban agriculture.”
Keynote addresses and panel discussions will afford conference attendees the opportunity to explore a variety of topics, including: Building a Local Agriculture Future; Developing Economically Viable Small-scale Farming Solutions; Health and Community Benefits of Local Food; Funding the Future of Farming; Citrus and Beyond; The Local Food Landscape; Urban Farming; and, Forming a Local Food Alliance.
“Our conference, although designed with the city of Riverside in mind, can be a model for any and all cities looking to enhance local agriculture and assist growers and farmers in their success,” said Councilmember Chris MacArthur, who represents Riverside’s historic greenbelt area. “We encourage farmers, entrepreneurs, food service businesses, city planners and all other interested parties to join us and share their innovative ideas at the conference.”
To purchase early bird tickets, please visit http://growriverside.eventbrite.com.
Seedstock is a social venture focused on innovation and sustainability in agriculture. Through the use of a variety of tools, including the news and information blog Seedstock (http://www.Seedstock.com) and live events, the company promotes agricultural startup companies, university research, urban agriculture initiatives, and farmers employing innovative new techniques and approaches.
About the City of Riverside
The City of Riverside made the navel orange a symbol of bounty and a household staple in California, and 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 total acreage of the city is designated for agricultural use, unparalleled for a Southern California city of its size. Riverside’s growers, local government officials, and residents are eager to be at the forefront of innovation as a city devoted to sustainable local agriculture.