Growing our economy
Consumer spending stays in the community for significant economic effects. While less dramatic an opportunity than technology or bio-sciences, the food sector can be a substantial, and sustainable, element of economic development. As food awareness grows, the average consumer is more and more the “food citizen” who makes a deliberate choice to spend locally. Food shopping then seeds trusted social relationships with local producers in an expanding network of mutual commitment. RFSA can help realize this increased community vitality with branding, farmland development, financing, job training, and business skill programs.
INTEGRATION. We develop local food as a sector of existing business networks. Our work means a lot of multi-level cooperation with integrated rather than opposing value systems. It takes sometimes unlikely partnerships to coherently and convincingly address the producer and the consumer, the local and the industrial, the social and the commercial.
- A city department dedicated to Food and Agriculture Economic Development;
- RUSD Food Hub selling local produce to local restaurants and Banning Unified School District.
DIVERSIFIED AGRICULTURE. We’re working to create a comprehensive program of specialty food and crops that suit the local climate to meet local demand. Vigorous adapted plants need less care, fertilizer and watering, and can compete better with weeds. Diversification also means year-round crop production employment, with attendant social benefits from increased stability that lead to greater dependability and productivity.1
- 40+ new acres of avocados in the Greenbelt;
FOOD JOBS. Recent analyses of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that employment multipliers from Crop Production match well against the Warehousing and Storage industry. We’ve developed a comprehensive apprenticeship program focused on living wage food related jobs (including farming) in cooperation with education institutions.
- New Riverside Unified School District Food Hub Manager position.
PROCUREMENT. We’ve helped create a guide for healthy local food procurement for schools, child care entities, health care institutions, senior living facilities, and public venues, and programs that connect producers and institutional users.