Posts By Robert Puro
Just 16 more days remain to register for the 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference – The Future of Local Food, which begins on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at The Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, California.
The conference will assist cities in examining and developing solutions to develop and strengthen their local food and urban agriculture infrastructure. Experts in farming small plots, new business creation, local food marketplace development and community food access will come together to offer solutions on how Riverside can become a model for other cities to follow.
From droughts and global food price shocks to climate change and resource constraints, disruptive events continue to rattle an ever shifting agricultural landscape that must increase worldwide food production by 70% in the next 35 years to feed an estimated 10 billion by 2050. While many paint these disruptive events as cataclysmic, others rise to meet them with technological solutions – form high tech irrigation systems and innovative soil monitoring tools to hydroponics and aquaponics and novel GIS mapping tools – that seek to fill gaps, or else make growing even more efficient and sustainable.
To discuss how growers and entrepreneurs are using technology to combat the challenges posed by disruptive events while simultaneously bolstering a growing local food marketplace, the 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: The Future of Local Food will feature a breakout session entitled “Disruption and Technology in Agriculture”. The session will be run by the following noteworthy growers and agricultural technology experts:
The future of local food will not be restricted to produce grown in fields. Arable land grows scarcer and consequently more expensive by the year. Thus, many new farmers and entrepreneurs are opting to explore and pursue growing produce in controlled environments. Utilizing hydroponic technologies that typically require only 10% of the water necessary to grow similar crops outdoors, these indoor farmers can often produce more than 20 times the traditional field-crop yield in the same amount of space.
Indoor farms can also be placed anywhere – including in the middle of a city, in vacant warehouses and on land that is often much cheaper than arable land. That indoor farms can be placed in cities also enables them to provide more local food access to buyers – from restaurants and institutions to wholesalers and supermarkets.
Across Southern California, a new breed of small farmer is emerging to not only take advantage of the growing demand for local food, but also to connect urban communities to their food. These farmers are nimble, resourceful and pushing the limits often working on backyard plots within or on the outskirts of cities that are less than 1-acre in size. Yet they are creating economically viable business models by growing salable produce on every inch of their land.
To learn more about how farmers are successfully growing on small lots and how this type of small plot agriculture might benefit your city and community, or even find a place in your own backyard, you won’t want to miss the GrowRIVERSIDE Conference breakout session entitled “Developing Urban Farms that Benefit City, Economy and Community” featuring:
(Riverside, CA) – Edward Avalos, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, and Arthur “A.G.” Kawamura, former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, have been added as featured speakers for the 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: The Future of Local Food, conference organizers announced today.
The inclusion of these nationally known experts intensifies an already strong line-up of sustainable urban agriculture experts, city planners, farmers and others slated to speak at the June 11-13 event. Presented by Seedstock in partnership with the City of Riverside, the conference fosters the growth of a sustainable local food and agriculture system that directly benefits Riverside as well as provides blueprints that communities across the country can utilize, officials said. Avalos and Kawamura join Mark Winne, a nationally recognized expert in community food policy and systems, as conference featured speakers.