Local Food Marketplace and New Technology Keys to Future of Agriculture in OC, Says Irvine Farmer

A.G. Kawamura of Orange County Produce is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and a champion of local food production in Orange County. (photo courtesy A.G. Kawamura/Orange County Produce)

A.G. Kawamura of Orange County Produce is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. (photo courtesy A.G. Kawamura/OC Produce)

Farmer A.G. Kawamura is doing his part to preserve and foster the agricultural heritage in Irvine, California, a city of more than 250,000 in the heart of heavily-populated Orange County, just south of Los Angeles.

Kawamura, the former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is in charge of field production at family-owned Orange County Produce. His grandparents immigrated to California from Japan in the early 1900s and began farming. Then, in 1958, his father moved the operation, then known as Western Marketing Company, to Orange County. In 1994, the family changed the company’s name to Orange County Produce because of their belief that Orange County still wants to participate in its agriculture heritage.

Because of its strategic location in Southern California, Kawamura believes Orange County Produce can make an impact throughout the region.

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5 Urban Agriculture Strategies to Grow Your City’s Food Supply

Many cities have been integrating urban gardening into their patchworks for decades. Other communities are just getting started.

Here are five strategies for jump-starting new urban agriculture projects and sustaining those underway.

1. Take inventory of your city’s land (and rooftops)

Cities are big places, and most people don’t have the vantage point to discover every potential growing site at a single glance. To navigate their own scale, cities interested in urban agriculture have taken land inventories. They’re just like the inventory a shop clerk takes, but instead of counting boxes, city planners look at parcel maps and other data to map unused spaces that could support food production. Read more

OC Food System Case Study: Control Air Community Farm Utilizes Aquaponics to Grow Food for Community

aaron flora renewable farms aquaponicsOn a small patch of land nestled in between a busy street, an elementary school, and a row of houses sits a quiet farm that is making big waves in Orange County sustainability. Inside the farm you’ll find rows of arugula, basil, and other crops in raised plant beds connected to tanks of tilapia. It also uses minimal water to operate and produces over 2,000 pounds of food for underserved residents. It’s the Control Air Community Farm in Anaheim, a project of Renewable Farms. It is an aquaponics farm, a farming system that combines elements of aquaculture and hydroponics and it just might be the future of sustainable agriculture. Read more

Can Cities Feed Themselves? A Look at Urban Farming in 5 Major American Urban Centers

Food Field is a for profit 4-acre urban farm based in Detroit that was founded in 2010 by Noah Link and Alex Bryan. Photo Credit: Food Field.

Food Field is a for profit 4-acre urban farm based in Detroit that was founded in 2010 by Noah Link and Alex Bryan. Photo Credit: Food Field.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that urban agriculture—the practice of cultivating and distributing food in population-dense areas—is all the rage.

As Americans learn more about our food system and how it affects our health and the environment, many city-dwellers are looking for alternatives to pesticide-laden fruit and vegetables, GMOs and CAFOs.

In response, many farmers have turned to cultivating in cities to meet the demand for locally grown crops. And ordinary citizens are taking it upon themselves to learn how to grow their own food. Read more