Ventura County agricultural leaders honored for stewardship, sustainability and leadership

Award recipients to be announced at Resource Conservation District awards luncheon, Nov. 7
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Nov. 1, 2012 - PRLog -- (VENTURA, Calif.) – On Wednesday, Nov. 7, Ventura County’s agricultural leaders and community supporters will gather together to honor seven local firms who have exhibited excellence in stewardship, sustainability, leadership and care for Ventura County’s unique natural resources during the 2012 Ventura County Excellence in Agricultural Stewardship and Sustainability Awards. The Resource Conservation District of Ventura County (RCD) and FOOD Share will announce the winner of the prestigious honor during the award luncheon from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach.

Hosted by the RCD and sponsored in part by Montecito Bank and Trust, RaboBank and Farm Credit West, the third annual RCD awards luncheon will bring together Ventura County growers and members of local agricultural agencies, associations, the Ventura County Farm Bureau and the members of the community.

The luncheon program includes a panel discussion on the future of Agriculture in Ventura County. The panel includes Craig Underwood, Monica Houweling, Still Gill, Phil McGrath, Rich Atmore and Josh Pinkerton. Following the panel discussion the awards will be presented.

Nominees for the 2012 Ventura County Excellence in Agricultural Stewardship and Sustainability Awards include the following:

- Craig Underwood of Underwood Family Farms: for educating the public concerning sustainable agricultural practices.

- Esper Petersen of Petersen Ranch: for using best management practices on sensitive habitat within Las Posas Valley.

- Phil McGrath of McGrath Family Farms: for using organic farming practices to reduce his ranch’s use of natural resources.

- Steve Gill of Gill’s Onions: for reducing fossil fuel use by developing technology that converts agricultural waste into energy.

- Bill Camarillo of Agromin: for redirecting green waste out of landfills and into agricultural production.

- Casey Houweling of Houweling’s Tomatoes: for integrating resource conserving technologies into their world-class greenhouse operations.

- Jurgen Gramckow of Southland Sod: for returning tracts of developed land in Ojai to seasonal grass and native oak habitat.

“It is great to see all of our agricultural leaders come together to help fight hunger in our county,” said Bonnie Weigel, CEO of FOOD Share. “We extend our thanks to many local growers who help contribute to the growing food supply.”

The RCD reports that Ventura County agricultural producers manage more than 250,000 acres of open space, provide an estimated 31,000 jobs and generate $2.1 billion in economic activity and more than $76 million in tax revenue. For over 60 years, the RCD has worked with landowners, organizations and government agencies to promote conservation of Ventura County’s unique resources.

“Ventura County is one of the top 10 most significant agricultural counties in the United States,” said Marty Melvin, executive officer of the RCD. “There are many local industry leaders who help contribute to feeding our county and it is important acknowledge them.”

For more information or to attend the Nov. 7 awards luncheon, please contact Marty Melvin, Executive Officer of the RCD at or call 805-764-5137.

About FOOD Share

The food bank distributing millions of pounds of food each year to those in need throughout Ventura County, FOOD Share collects and receives food year-round, distributing through more than 150 pantry partner agencies throughout Ventura County, including Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Oak View, Ojai, Oxnard, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Somis, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura.

FOOD Share provides food to more than 74,000 people each month countywide through its partner agencies and multiple programs. Programs include the Senior Brown Bag that provides supplemental nutrition to nearly 2,000 low income seniors, home delivered meals and supplemental groceries through the Oxnard and Ventura Senior Nutrition Programs and, the Kids’ Farmers’ Markets, offering nutrition education, healthy recipe preparation and taste testing and a farmers’ market free fresh produce “shopping experience.”

In 2011, FOOD Share partnered with Ventura County’s Human Services Agency to provide expanded CalFresh enrollment assistance. CalFresh, formerly called food stamps, is the largest federal nutrition assistance program that provides supplemental nutrition assistance to eligible Ventura County residents.

For more information: call 805-983-7100 or go to

About the Ventura County Resource Conservation District

The Ventura County Resource Conservation District serves as liaison for natural resource conservation between local landowners, regulatory agencies, and municipalities. As a Special District organized under the California Public Resources Code, Division 9, the RCD has the authority to carry out its goals and objectives.

Priority RCD issues include Ag preservation, open space advocacy, outreach and education on water resources, watershed protection, watershed restoration, control and/or eradication of invasive species, as well as evaluating the potential impacts of loss of wildlife habitat, maintaining air quality, and researching and promoting alternative methods for energy.
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Tags:Food Share, Ventura County, Awards, Resource Conservation District
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