AgKnowledge Presented Education Award at the 9th Annual Valley of the World Awards

The 2013 Education Award was presented to Neil Ledford and Grower Shipper Association Foundation’s AgKnowledge Program. In the spirit of Steinbeck’s writings, the Education Award recognizes an individual who through their teachings and efforts inspired or nourished a lifelong love of learning.

The 9th Annual Valley of the World Awards was held at the Corral de Tierra Country Club on April 25, 2013.

The National Steinbeck Center established this event to recognize key pioneers of the Salinas Valley Agricultural Industry. The event helps to support the National Steinbeck Center’s Rabobank Agriculture Museum and proceeds from the event funds exhibitions and public programs held at the National Steinbeck Center throughout the year.

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Grower-Shipper Association Foundation Announces AgKnowledge Class VII

Salinas, CA (March 27, 2013) The Grower-Shipper Association Foundation has announced the fellows accepted to the 2013 AgKnowledge Program (Class VII). These 23 community members will participate in an eight-month executive leadership program focused on educating about the heritage, diversity, stewardship, and complexity of Monterey County agriculture and the interdependencies of agriculture, local government, and the community.

AgKnowledge courses focus on issues affecting and influenced by the local agricultural industry, including food safety and security, labor and immigration, technology, marketing, conservation, urban/agriculture interfacing, air, water and much more. Fellows will spend ten Fridays between April and November attending forums and visiting farms, processing facilities and meeting leaders and innovators in the industry. One of the program’s most popular facets is “Day with a Farmer” – a full day, spent with a local grower, being immersed in agriculture from a boots on the ground perspective.

AgKnowledge is co-sponsored by the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and the County of Monterey.

AgKnowledge Class VII fellows include:

  • Jayanti Addleman, Library Director, Monterey County
  • Stefka Anderson, Retail Sales Coordinator, Driscolls
  • Maria de la Fuente, County Director, University of California Cooperative Extension
  • Crescencio Diaz, President, Local 890
  • Ricardo Encarnacion, Assistant Director, Environmental Health Bureau, Monterey County
  • Len Farace, Director of Business Development, GreenJespersen, CPAs
  • David Feliz, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Nicole Fowler, Environmental Health Review Supervisor, Monterey County
  • Brad Griffin, Director of Technology Integration, Alvarez Technology Group
  • Kendra Howell, Foundation Director, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
  • James Hyatt, Director of Client Services & Digital Media, Moxxy Marketing
  • Marianne Jimenez, Vice President of Loan Services, Pacific Valley Bank
  • Fred Ledesma, Mayor, City of Soledad
  • Willard Lewallen PhD, Superintendent/President, Hartnell College
  • Christina McGinnis, Resources and Policy Manager, Monterey County Agriculture Commission
  • Barbara Meister, Public Affairs Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Tom Pesce, Senior Vice President, Pinnacle Bank
  • Stacy Radich, CPA, Hayashi & Wayland
  • Janet Shing, Senior Program Director, Community Foundation
  • David Spaur, Economic Development Director, Monterey County
  • Dennis Taylor, Reporter, Salinas Californian
  • Barbara White Thompson, Agriculture Loan Officer, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Andrea Zoodsma, Director of Community Services, Central Coast Visiting Nurses Association

Salinas Californian Writer Dennis L. Taylor Recounts AgKnowledge Experience

Dennis L. Taylor: Salinas Valley humbles writer

Call it one of those moments in life when your ignorance shines bright. When I began to forge an agriculture-water beat at The Californian earlier this year, I thought to myself, “How hard could it be?” After all, I spent a large part of my youth on a cattle ranch east of Redding. I knew ranching, so farming couldn’t be much different, right?That’s the moment I was blinded by the light. Two glaring problems with my assumption became obvious —the scale and sophistication of the Salinas Valley. Of course, I had help fully understanding the depth of what I didn’t know. The help even has a name: AgKnowledge.

The program is modeled similar to leadership classes. Once a month our class focuses on one or two specific aspects of farming and ranching in the valley. Two people I tend to work closely with —Maia Carroll, Monterey County communications coordinator; and Robert Johnson, assistant general manager of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, suggested I go through the program.In hindsight I’m sure I asked a question or made a comment that clued them in that Ranch Boy could use a little help grasping a few key concepts about agriculture in the Salinas Valley.

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AgKnowledge Now Accepting Applications for Class VII

Salinas, CA (January 7, 2013) – The Grower-Shipper Association Foundation is accepting applications for the 2013 AgKnowledge program now through February 15, 2013. Applications are available at the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation website: http://www.growershipperfoundation.org/agknowledge. Applications must be received by February 15, 2013 in order to be considered. For questions, please contact Darlene Din at 831-422-9007 or darlene@growershipper.com.

Community members are encouraged to apply to the nine-month AgKnowledge executive leadership program, which is focused on educating participants about the heritage, diversity, stewardship, and complexity of Monterey County agriculture and the interdependencies of agriculture, local government, and the community.

AgKnowledge courses focus on issues affecting and influenced by the local agricultural industry, including food safety and security, labor and immigration, technology, marketing, conservation, urban/agriculture interfacing, air, water and much more. More than twenty fellows spend one Friday per month over the course of the program attending forums and visiting farms, processing facilities and meeting leaders and innovators in the industry. One of the program’s most popular facets is “Day with a Farmer” – a day spent with a local grower becoming immersed in agriculture from a boots on the ground perspective.

GSA Foundation Focuses on Bringing More Produce into Local Schools and Beyond

By Abby Taylor-Silva, Grower-Shipper Association Based upon local grower-shipper concern that many local schools are not equipped to receive salad bars or increase their produce distribution, the Grower- Shipper Association Foundation formed its “More Produce in Schools” program in late 2011. This program represents a new initiative on finding solutions to the national obesity epidemic by focusing on avenues to bring more produce into schools on the Central Coast.

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Grower-Shipper Association Foundation Hires Executive Director

Salinas, CA (July 20, 2012) – The Grower-Shipper Association Foundation (Foundation) has hired David Bonetti as its Executive Director. Mr. Bonetti began his employment with the Foundation on July 16, 2012. His position will focus on building programs and the Foundation’s capacity to serve the community.

Mr. Bonetti joins the Foundation following seven years with Fresh Kist Produce, where he held the position of Chief Operating Officer, and most recently has been active with the Rhett Bell Foundation. Previously, he had held leadership positions in the strawberry and finance industries.

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