Seedstock Future of Urban Food Systems Conference

Blog Events

Slated for Thursday, November 10 (Conference Day) and Friday, November 11 (Urban Food Systems Field Trip) at California State University, Fullerton, the Inaugural Grow Local OC Conference: The Future of Urban Food Systems presented by Seedstock and the OC Food Access Coalition will focus on the community and economic development potential of urban and local food systems efforts in Orange County – to improve food access and health outcomes, connect people to their food, and create new jobs and business opportunities by employing innovative business models and farming systems of the future.


The conference will serve to galvanize the citizens, growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders in Orange County around the positive economic and community development outcomes that can result from the creation of healthy and vibrant local food systems in the county and on its fringes.

Through keynotes and panels, expert speakers will address the following topic areas:

  • Community and economic development opportunities in urban food systems
  • Solutions to tackle food poverty and increase the supply of local, healthy food to those that need it most
  • Launching a local food-focused business venture – from growing to making
  • The health benefits of a robust local food system
  • Fostering a regional food systems relationships to support urban food systems
  • Innovative urban farming solutions and business models – for profit and nonprofit – that empower community and economic development


Confirmed Speakers:

Karen Ross – Secretary of the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture

Chris Higgins – General Manager at Hort Americas

Mark Lowry – Director of the Orange County Food Bank

Rachel Surls – Sustainable Food Systems Advisor for UC Cooperative Extension

Chef Adam Navidi – Future Foods Farms, Oceans & Earth Restaurant

Rishi Kumar – Co-founder and Director of The Growing Club

Christina Hall – Executive Director of OC Food Access Coalition

Erik Cutter – Managing Director at Alegria Fresh

Megan Penn – Executive Director of Orange Home Grown

Jeremy Samson – School Garden and Chapter Chair, Slow Food OC

Dwight Detter – Executive Director, Slow Money SoCal

Colin and Karen Archipley – Co-founders of Archi’s Acres

Aaron Fox – Asst. Professor, Urban & Community Agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona

Sara E. Johnson – Director of the Urban Agriculture Community-based Research Experience (U-ACRE) program at Cal State Fullerton
…and more!


To learn more, visit

Download the Grow Local OC Flyer


November 10 (Day 1): Grow Local OC Conference Day

Attendees will convene in Portola Pavilion A-B at the Titan Student Union at California State University, Fullerton in Fullerton, CA for a series of panels and keynotes that will address the positive community and economic development outcomes that can result from the creation of healthy and vibrant urban food systems.

November 11 (Day 2): Future Farm Field Trip

The second day of the event offers a “Future Farm Field Trip.” Participants will have the opportunity to tour a diversity of innovative urban and state-of-the-art agriculture operations across Orange County – from an aquaponic community garden to an indoor vertical hydroponic farm and more – that are utilizing innovative growing systems and business models to grow the local food marketplace in SoCal. Participants will be treated to lectures and sessions that examine urban farming and community garden operations that are embracing innovative supply chain models to both increase food security and take advantage of the growing market demand for local food.


Presently scheduled stops on the field trip include:

*Urban Produce – an Irvine-based indoor vertical farming operation that uses advanced hydroponic technologies in a controlled environment to grows and sell organic micro greens throughout southern California

*Riverbed Farm – an aquaponics community farm in Anaheim that uses minimal water to operate and produces over 2,000 pounds of food for underserved residents.

*Future Foods Farms – one of the largest aquaponic farms in the state, the farm is located on 25 acres in Brea and produces all organically grown products in several 2,000-4,000 square-feet greenhouses

*Alegría farm – supports more than 60 cultivators growing over 50,000 plants utilizing hydroponic and natural, nutrient-dense configurations. The farm’s resource-efficient technologies demonstrate how urban microfarms can supply communities with locally grown, fresh produce while reducing transportation and preserving natural resources.

Grow Local OC Field Trip Farms
Grow Local OC Field Trip Farms