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Event in San Diego, CA to Explore Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship in Southern California

November 1, 2011 |

A burgeoning crop of agricultural entrepreneurs is beginning to sprout, poised to develop sustainable and profitable solutions to meet the food and energy demands of a world population forecast to peak at 9 billion by 2050. To explore this flight to innovation in agriculture, Seedstock, a company that promotes entrepreneurship and sustainability in agriculture through its website, in association with the Rady Entrepreneur Club, an affiliate organization of the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, will host a panel discussion with a number of Southern California-based agricultural entrepreneurs.

Please join us Wednesday, November 30, from 6pm – 9pm at the Rady School of Management, for ‘Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship in Southern California.’ This event will be the first in a series where Seedstock brings entrepreneurs, students, investors and other professionals from around the country together to discuss and explore solutions to the challenges faced by modern agriculture.

The event will feature networking opportunities as well as a moderated panel with several sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs as they discuss their companies, their perceptions of the marketplace opportunity for sustainable agriculture, challenges that they face and more. Confirmed panelists include:

Colin Archipley: CEO of Archi’s Acres and the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program. Archi’s Acres is a small-scale organic farm in Southern California established in 2007 by decorated Marine Sergeant Colin Archipley and his wife Karen. At Archi’s Acres the couple has created the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program to offer combat veterans meaningful opportunities in the high-growth industry of sustainable farming.

Dan Gibbs: CEO and Co-founder of Home Town Farms, a leading company in the emerging field of vertical organic urban farming, providing an integrated food growing system to grow and sell fresh, nutritious food in urban areas. The company’s model combines proven and profitable high efficiency vertical growing systems that drastically reduce the amount of water, fuel, land, fertilizer, processing and transportation needed to grow and sell produce, and makes the produce available for sale at the same high-traffic urban location where it is grown.

Seth Burns: CEO and CFO of Biogas & Electric, a for profit company that develops intellectual property to significantly improve the anaerobic digestion process, thereby increasing the economic viability, sustainability, and social impact of agricultural industries. Biogas & Electric is funded by Waste Management, Inc. (ticker: WM) and an SBIR grant.

Ralph Crevoshay: President of VermiVision, a company whose mission is based on fulfilling the potential of vermicompost (VC) as the essential input for success in sustainable agriculture. The company is dedicated to enhancing farmers’ access to VC through scaled-up production, promotion of innovative technologies, and training a new generation of worm farmers.

Thomas Del Monte: President and General Counsel of Interra Energy, a development-stage company engaged in the design, manufacture, sales, marketing and deployment of a biochar and power production system called the Interra Energy Forge. This system is a 2nd generation carbonization and energy hybrid technology that converts yard waste and other clean biomass wastes into agricultural biochar and clean energy.

Jeff Robbins: Co-founder of San Diego-based Revolution Landscape, a company that designs, builds and maintains sustainable “edible landscapes” for area residents and businesses.

Don Nishiguchi: Regional local produce buyer for Whole Foods Market for the Southern Pacific region

Location: The event will be held at the Rady School of Management’s Otterson Hall, Multipurpose Room 2 (MPR2) on UC San Diego’s La Jolla campus. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres provided by event sponsor Whole Foods Market, La Jolla will be served.

To register for the event, please click on the following event registration link

Tickets for the event are limited, so make sure to reserve your spot early.


About Seedstock

Seedstock is the sustainable agriculture blog focusing on startup companies, university research, urban agriculture, innovative farmers, aquaculture and news. Through information aggregation and propagation (both online and off), Seedstock strives to play a role in connecting innovators and investors toward the end of encouraging the growth of the sustainable agriculture market ecosystem.

About Rady Entrepreneur Club

The Rady Entrepreneur Club is a student-led affiliate association of the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego. The club’s mission is to spur creativity and innovation in the creation of business ventures via cross-disciplinary networking of students, alumni, faculty, and local entrepreneurs. 

Expanded Speaker Bios

Colin Archipley – Archi’s Acres

Decorated Marine Sergeant Colin Archipley brings his leadership skills and his passion for sustainable agriculture technology to the Archi’s Acres VSAT program. Colin and his wife Karen created the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training Program as a way to welcome home service members to the private sector, while connecting them directly to their communities through Organic crop production.  Colin is now leading the way to establish  Archi’s Acres, VSAT across the Country.

Dan Gibbs – Home Town Farms

Gibbs brings more than 30 years of experience as an Entrepreneur, Board member, CEO, VP and business development expert. Dan was a Co-Inventor of the Self Heating Container technology and served as Vice President of Business Development for OnTech Inc. Dan played a leading role in negotiating and closing product development contracts with Procter & Gamble, Kraft and other multi-national corporations and closed the first $300 million in sales for the company. While Dan was Vice President of OnTech Inc, Fortune magazine picked OnTech as one of the top 25 breakout companies of the year. Dan is also named on numerous utility patent claims issued in over 35 countries.

As CEO of Gold Mine Natural Foods, Dan developed strategic relationships and implemented and created growth initiatives that lead to the fastest growth in the Company’s 21 year history. Dan was also the Co-Founder and Board member of Predict Power LLC. Predict power offered real-time energy price and consumption forecast information systems, specifically-designed for commercial and industrial (C&I) facilities. Predict Power’s technology was acquired by another company in early 2007.

Dan is a junior partner of ClearDome Solar Thermal LLC. ClearDome produces a line of solar thermal products for residential and commercial use. In particular the company invented the most efficient Solar Forced Air Heater in the world. Dan is a current Advisory Board member of Compass Auto Finder LLC. The Compass Auto Finder is a revolutionary patented product made up of the world’s smallest directional antenna in two small transceivers; an in-car and mini hand-held transceiver, not much bigger than a standard key fob. This technology will help people find their automobiles in parking lots at Malls, sporting events or any other large parking area. Dan has been involved in raising over $35 million dollars for various companies.

Dan is a current Board Member and past vice-Chairman of the San Diego Renewable Energy Society, which is the local chapter of American Solar Energy Society, one of the largest and oldest solar groups in the US.

Seth Burns – Biogas & Electric

A 4th generation cattle rancher from Big Timber, Montana, Seth has successfully launched three companies, one of which was an INC 500 company. Mr. Burns received a BA in economics from Williams College, an MS from SDSU and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Ralph Crevoshay – VermiVision

Ralph Crevoshay’s career in horticulture has featured research, production, marketing, online commerce, and certification. He has worked for universities, a farmers’ cooperative (Calavo Growers), small business (S.C.S.), and corporate business (Dole) involving a diversity of crops from mushrooms to tropical fruits to floriculture. He holds a degree in Horticulture as well as certification in International Agriculture development (U. of Wisconsin) and senior-level studies in Agribusiness Management (Cornell).

As a leader and participant in international trade missions sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture he has guided growers toward success in export marketing.

While serving as Vice President of Sustainability for Scientific Certification Systems (S.C.S.,Emeryville, California) he challenged cut flower growers to qualify for sustainability certification under the VeriFlora™ program. Dozens of floriculture farms have subsequently achieved certification, embracing organic farming as the core paradigm of “best practices”. The program since became a model for the National Draft Standard for Sustainable Agriculture.

Mr. Crevoshay was a co-founder of the Fund for Sustainable Agriculture, an enterprise that was dedicated to supporting projects committed to sustainable agriculture.

In his capacity as director of commercial activities for a certified organic produce farm in Baja California Sur Ralph brings fresh heirloom tomatoes to U.S. consumers.

Thomas Del Monte

Thomas Del Monte – President, General Counsel– In building Interra Energy, Thomas brings together experience as a climate change and renewable energy attorney, an innovative MBA, a nurseryman, a cleantech inventor, and a proven leader. This unique combination of skills and knowledge enabled the creation of the Interra Energy Forge—a system that converts waste biomass like yard trimmings and clean construction wood waste into renewable power, clean water, and biochar. Biochar is a carbon rich soil enhancer that permanently locks away atmospheric carbon into agricultural soils.  The biochar sustainably enhances the soil’s nutrient and water holding capacity, while also boosting the soil’s beneficial microbial life and biodiversity. These soil qualities can greatly increase crop yields and nutrition without chemical fertilizers and other unsustainable cropping inputs.  Thomas has over three years of biochar research experience, and has been selected twice at major conferences to speak on biochar market related subjects – first in Newcastle, England (2008) and also at Iowa State University in Ames, IA (June 2010).  Thomas holds a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, is a licensed attorney, and has an MBA from UCSD’s Rady School of Management.  He took Interra Energy to the finals in this year’s Entrepreneur Challenge Full-Business Plan competition, won the CleanTech/Sustainability track two years in a row.  Interra is currently in its second round of fundraising to complete the build of the Interra Energy Forge prototype.

Jeff Robbins


San Diego native Jeff Robbins is leading the way in sustainable urban land use with his company Revolution Landscape.  Jeff studied entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan and co-founded Revolution in 2008.  Since then, Revolution has created over 50 landscapes you can literally live on.  Fruit trees provide shade but also yield organic fruit and clients enjoy a weekly harvest of fresh veggies from their garden.  Jeff’s strong understanding of business and organization has steered this new company in a direction that not only focuses on sustainability for our community and the environment but that also illustrates a sustainable business model creating real green jobs and work for outdoorsman. 

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