On July 15, participants of the Oxnard Leadership Program explored the present and future of farming for its fifth session of the year. The day focused on providing an understanding of the current state of local agriculture, innovations in farming, packing and distribution, and how the next generation is learning about an industry that's critical to Oxnard and all of Ventura County.
The morning was hosted at Reiter Affiliated Companies (RAC), growers of Driscoll’s berries, in their meeting space in Oxnard's Heritage Square. The group met with Maureen McGuire, new CEO for the Farm Bureau of Ventura County, who shared an overview and current challenges; and Seth Wilmoth, Education Program Director for Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), who showed how their youth-focused programs (and Farm Day in November) generate interest and respect for local agriculture and farmers.
RAC's Luis Calderon, Director of Partner, Grower and Resources; Eduardo Lucero, VP of Production for Southern District; and Mari Escamilla, Communications & Community Engagement Manager, gave a brief introduction to the global berry company and shared industry challenges from their perspective.
In addition to experiencing one of RAC's weekly raspberry tastings, the Leadership group visited Lennox Ranch in Oxnard for a glimpse of life on a raspberry farm with Calderon and Escamilla. They then toured a state-of-the-art avocado packing and distribution facility with Brock Nuñez, General Manager of Mission Produce, to end the day.
The 2022 Oxnard Leadership Program is generously sponsored by the Gene Haas Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1999 by Haas Automation Founder and CEO Gene Haas to support the needs of the local community. Based in Oxnard, Haas Automation is one of the largest employers in the county. We are truly grateful for their generous support!
Every year, civic-minded community leaders are invited to apply to the Oxnard Leadership Program. It is a 10-month, 10-session experiential program that connects participants with key decision makers and experts on vital issues that shape the future of the City of Oxnard and its surrounding region. Participants are selected for their commitment to bettering our community and passion for self-improvement with the goal of assisting others.
The Oxnard Leadership Program is an initiative of the Oxnard Foundation For Education And Economic Development (OFEED) a 501(c)(3) organization. Formed in 2014 by the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce (now WVCBA), OFEED's mission is to support the interaction with and advancement of education and development of our future workforce, and to assure the Oxnard community has an adequate supply of quality jobs.