What does it take to develop and strengthen a city’s urban agriculture and local food infrastructure? A conference in Riverside, attracting experts in farming small plots, new business creation, local food marketplace development and community food access, will explore this question in detail June 11-13. Several UC Riverside researchers will attend the annual conference, now in its second year, to share their expertise on food-related issues.
Called “GrowRIVERSIDE: The Future of Local Food,” the conference will take place at the Riverside Convention Center, 3637 5th St., downtown Riverside, and aim to offer solutions on how Riverside can become a model for other cities to emulate.
The UC Riverside Office of Strategic Communications is a co-sponsor of the conference; the office will provide free copies of the UCR magazine to attendees. The UC Global Food Initiative also is a co-sponsor of the conference.
The following UCR researchers are panelists at the conference:
Cheryl Garner, the executive director of Dining, Conference and Catering Services, will speak at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, June 11. Garner is the chair of the UCR Sustainability Committee on Food, co-chair for a UC Global Food Initiative subcommittee, and the national education chair for the National Association of College and University Food Services. She will be on a panel that will discuss how to build a local food marketplace through the use of food hubs, alternate points of distribution and through appealing to institutional buyers from hospitals to schools.
Tracy Kahn, the curator of the UCR Citrus Variety Collection, will speak in a breakout session on alternative crops to grow in Riverside and across Southern California. The session begins at 3:35 p.m. on Thursday, June 11. As curator, Kahn oversees the care of the collection, research on citrus diversity and facilitates research by other researchers who use the collection. She extends knowledge on citrus diversity by providing field days and tours of the collection, presentations, publications and assisting with fruit days at venues such as the Lindcove Research and Extension Center Fruit display in December, the World Ag Expo in February and the Citrus Mutual Citrus Showcase in March each year. She also collaborates with companies that utilize the citrus diversity of the Citrus Variety Collection as a stimulus for new beverage flavors and aromas for personal and household products.
Fortino Morales III, the R’Garden (community garden) coordinator at UCR, will moderate a panel titled “Local Food Access for All.” During his time as a student at UCR he was involved in campus sustainability efforts and now serves as a staff advisor for many of them. He was a co-author of a student referendum called the Green Campus Action Plan that created a green fund to support sustainability internships, grants and solar projects on campus. He was president of Sustainable UCR, a campus organization that works to make the campus more sustainable in its operations, programming and overall environment. The panel he will moderate will discuss the need for local food to also mean local access. Panelists will explore the different challenges and successes to local food access, how community and home gardens can be a part of the solution on the neighborhood level, and how at the city and county level local farm produce can be made affordable and accessible to all, especially those within food deserts. The session will begin at 9:35 a.m., Friday, June 12.
David Crohn, an associate professor of environmental sciences, and Laosheng Wu, a professor of soil science, will participate in a session titled “Soil, Water and Compost Management for Farmers.” The session begins at 10:50 a.m., Friday, June 12. Crohn’s research emphasizes the beneficial use of municipal and agricultural residues as soil amendments and fertilizers. He is a UC Cooperative Extension conservation specialist. His work focuses on environmental optimization; compost production and use; erosion control; and soil nitrogen management. Wu, a UC Cooperative Extension water management specialist, does research that includes measurement and modeling water and solute transport in field soil and water systems; development of best management practices to maximize water and fertilizer use efficiency and minimize surface and ground water pollution; water quality and management; interaction between soil physical, hydrological and chemical properties; soil salinity; and reclaimed wastewater reuse.
Information about purchasing tickets to attend the conference can be found at www.eventbrite.com/e/the-2nd-annual-growriverside-conference-the-future-of-local-food-tickets-14965370827. A limited number of complimentary tickets are available for UCR faculty and students.
The conference is presented by Seedstock, a social venture that fosters the development of robust and sustainable local food systems, in partnership with the city of Riverside.