Last month, over 250 people from farmers, farm labor advocates, environmentalists, food processors, distributors, retailers, and health and food access advocates came together at the Camarillo Ranch Barn in Ventura County for “Making Connections: How the Local Food Movement Can Support Ventura County Agriculture”. The event was presented by AG Future Alliances of Ventura County and the 16 folks on the summit committee, including myself and local Whole Foods Market produce forager, Don Nishiquchi.
The major topics discussed were:
- Why Ventura County Agriculture Matters to Los Angeles & Southern California Consumers
- Insights into the Ventura County Foods System
- What are the Top Challenges for the Long-term Viability of Agriculture in Ventura County?
- What Do Consumers Need and Want?
- Creating a Better Future for the Ventura County Food System
- Diversifying the Food System: Economic Opportunity for California
All the speakers were phenomenal and they included Paula Daniels, Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Los Angeles, John Krist, CEO of Farm Bureau of Ventura County, Dr. Robert Levin, Health Officer and Medical Director of Ventura County Public Health, Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Glenda Humiston, California State Director of USDA Rural Development, and our own Jeff Biddle, Sopac Regional Produce Coordinator.
There was an amazing breakfast and lunch, donated by over 25 local vendors from around the community. And we also had the chance to break up into smaller groups to further discuss the different presentations as well as future themes for conferences like this one. We were all very proud to be a part of this exciting event and to get together with other members of the local community that share an interest in the Local Movement. What a great example of local passion and local people working together to bring those principles to life in their own area.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the summit and the speakers, you can find all the different presentations at http://aginnovations.org/alliances/ventura/.