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Only 10 Days Left to Register for ‘Grow Local OC: Future of Urban Food Systems Conference’

October 27, 2016 |

grow-local-oc-future-of-urban-food-systemsThe Grow Local OC: Future of Urban Food Systems Conference presented by Seedstock in partnership with the OC Food Access Coalition is only 10 DAYS away. Slated for Nov. 10 – 11, 2016, at California State University, Fullerton (Hosted by U-ACRE), the conference will explore the community and economic development potential of fostering local food systems in cities.

Day 1 – Conference Day

On day 1 (Nov. 10) of the conference, attendees will convene at the Portola Pavilion at California State University, Fullerton in Orange County, CA for a series of panels and keynotes that will address such topic areas as:

  • Urban farming and the generation of community and economic capital;
  • Finding funding for local food and farming ventures;
  • The potential of hydroponic and aquaponic farming on small city plots;
  • The role and necessity of robust local food policy;
  • The benefits of community and school gardens, and more!

Full Program:

Select Speakers Include:

cdfasecretarykaren-ross_hrKaren Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, has deep leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and here in California. Secretary Ross is passionate about fostering the reconnection of consumers to the land and the people who produce their food, and to improving the access of all California citizens to healthy, nutritious California-grown agricultural products.

Nate Storey is the CEO at Bright Agrotech, a company that seeks to create access to real food for all people through small farmer empowerment. By focusing on equipping and educating local growers with vertical farming technology and high quality online education, Nate and the Bright Agrotech team are helping to build a distributed, transparent food economy. He completed his PhD at the University of Wyoming in Agronomy, and lives in Laramie with his wife and children.


rachel-surlsDr. Rachel Surls is the Sustainable Food Systems Advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County, part of UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR). From backyard gardens, to urban agriculture, Rachel is involved in a variety of projects related to urban food systems. Since 2013, she has worked with UCLA students to conduct the “Cultivate LA” survey of urban agriculture in Los Angeles. She recently led a UCANR team that carried out a state-wide needs assessment of urban farming.

rickey-smithpeace-gardenRickey Smith is founder and principal of Urban Green LLC, a social entrepreneurship dedicated to restoring, developing and promoting “green space” within the communities it serves. Urban Green LLC was designed upon Rickey’s philosophy of Circular Synergy, which seeks to establish a CLEAR path connecting the inter-disciplines of Cuisine, Land-use, Environment, and Architecture into Renewable cycles of self-reliant communities.

Sonora Ortiz is the manager of the Downtown Santa Ana Farmers’ Market, a culinary and nutrition educator, farmer, and future astrobiologist. She works all over the world, but is currently back home in Orange County to help transform the local food system. Sonora draws from permaculture and Transitions principles to guide her work with an emphasis on accessibility and community collaboration.

Register Now!

Confirmed Speakers:

Rishi Kumar – Co-founder and Director of The Growing Club
Tim Alderson – Executive Director at Seeds of Hope
Ed Horton – President and CEO of Urban Produce LLC
Kimi McAdam – Asst. Dept. Administrator for Food & Nutrition Service at Kaiser Permanente
Glenn Tanaka – Owner of Tanaka Farms
Derek Lutz – Asst. Vice President at American AgCredit
Mark Lowry – Director of the Orange County Food Bank
Colin Archipley – Co-founder of Archi’s Acres and the VSAT Program
Chef Adam Navidi – Founder, Future Foods Farms and Oceans & Earth Restaurant
Frank Fitzpatrick – Owner, 5 Bar Beef
Christina Hall – Executive Director of OC Food Access Coalition
Megan Penn – Executive Director of Orange Home Grown
Aaron Fox – Asst. Professor, Urban & Community Agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona
Chris Higgins – General Manager at Hort Americas
Jeremy Samson – Chair of Slow Food OC
Anna Maria Desipris – The Ecology Center/Honeybee Hub
Erik Cutter – Managing Director of Alegria Fresh
Dwight Detter – Executive Director, Slow Money SoCal
Sara E. Johnson – Director of the Urban Agriculture Community-based Research Experience (U-ACRE) program

Register Now!


Day 2 – Future Farm Field Trip (SOLD OUT!)

The Future Farm Field Trip on Day 2 (Nov. 11) of the conference offers an excursion into the diversity of urban and state-of-the-art hydroponic and aquaponic agriculture operations in Orange County. Tour participants will be treated to lectures and sessions from pioneering farmers who are embracing innovative business models and growing systems to both increase food security and take advantage of the escalating demand for local food.

Presently scheduled stops include:

  • Urban Produce LLC – an indoor vertical farming operation based in Irvine, California that uses advanced hydroponic technologies in a controlled environment. Urban Produce currently grows and sells organic microgreens that are available throughout southern California
  • The Riverbed – an aquaponics community farm in Anaheim, California that uses minimal water to operate and produce over 2,000 pounds of food for underserved residents.
  • Alegría Farm – an urban farm that supports more than 60 cultivators growing over 50,000 plants utilizing hydroponic and natural, nutrient-dense configurations. The farm’s resource-efficient technologies demonstrate how urban microfarms can supply communities with locally grown, fresh produce while reducing transportation and preserving natural resources.
  • Future Foods Farms – one of the largest aquaponic farms in the state, Future Foods Farms is located on 25 acres in Brea, California. The farm produces all organically grown products in several 2,000-4,000 square-feet greenhouses.

Register Now!


Thank you to our sponsors:
Kaiser Permanente
Garden Tower Project
OC Food Access Coalition
Bright Agrotech
Grow-Tech LLC
American AgCredit
Agra Tech, Inc.
Oceans & Earth
Tender Greens
UC Irvine
Orange Home Grown
Association for Vertical Farming

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