A.G. Kawamura

Chairman

A.G. Kawamura is a 3rd generation urban farmer from California. He is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). As co-chair of Solutions From the Land, he has worked to promote innovative strategies for sustainable agricultural systems, including the formation of the North American Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. He serves on several boards and committees including: The Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), a policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences’ Natural Resource Council; National Executive Committee member of 25×25; Ag Advisory Committee member of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Agree Initiative; External Advisory Board for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis.  He is a former chair and current board member of Western Growers Association. Locally, he is the founding chair of Solutions For Urban Agriculture (Previously Orange County Harvest) and for over 30 years has been dedicated to the goal of ending hunger in Southern Calif by working in innovative ways to provide fresh produce to local food banks. Through his company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he is engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100 acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.


TimBio

Tim Alderson

Vice Chairman

Tim Alderson is the Executive Director of Seeds of Hope, the food justice ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, which grows and distributes food in over 100 communities of need across six Southern California counties. His lifetime in agriculture has included nearly 20 years as CEO of AgriGator, Inc., a multi-national soil amendment manufacturer, as well as numerous industry boards including the board of directors of the National Agri-Marketing Association. He was the founding chairman of the California School Garden Network and was appointed by two California governors to the board of the Schools Agriculture and Nutrition Program where he currently serves as President. He was also appointed to the California Department of Education School Garden Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Urban Agriculture Strategy Team for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. Tim lives in Pasadena, California where he has served as Chairman of the city’s Recreation and Parks Commission and the Mayor’s Workforce Housing Task Force.


PatBio

Patrick Nielson

Board Member

Mr. Nielson has extensive international experience completing transactions and international business structures in Latin America, Asia and Europe. He has developed corporate wide environmental compliance and business principles programs in conjunction with integrated management system committed to sustainability principles.  He has advised businesses on general business matters, mergers and acquisitions and international business structures and transactions. Former General Counsel for Nueva Holding, Inc. (GrupoNueva, Masisa and Amanco) and Dole Food Company, Inc. and former member of the boards of Masisa, S.A., Terranova, S.A., Pascual Hermanos, S.A. and Western Growers Association and current director of Agricultural Waste Solutions, Inc., and Oak Creek Company.  As General Counsel of all the food operations and as Vice President International Legal and Regulatory Affairs for Dole Food Company, Inc., Mr. Nielson led law and government programs in the United States and internationally for one of the world’s largest food companies.


Ann Cutner Firestone

Executive Director / Board Member

Ann is a Landscape Architect with over 32 years of design and construction experience. As a Principal of ima Design (from 1999-2015) she led large and small projects for some of the top community, resort, retail, and entertainment clientele in the world. With family roots in farming on the Big Island of Hawaii, she always had a passion for urban agriculture and permaculture often incorporating these values into her projects. Esencia Farm in Rancho Mission Viejo is a current reflection of her ima team’s design passion to bring our agricultural heritage back into our communities. She is a founding Board member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Orange County and a founding Executive Committee member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Sustainable Communities Initiative Council (SCIC). She developed and instructed a course called Sustainable Sites-A Collaborative Approach for UCI Extension Sustainability Program. She served on the Landscape Architecture Advisory Council (LADAC) for Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo and in 2012 and 2017 participated in a Permaculture and Sustainability trip to Cuba. As SFUA board member she co-chairs the Harvest Moon Celebration and Chairs the event committee providing educational opportunities to the community.


TomBio

Tom Larson

Board Member

Mr. Larson has over 40 years of experience in the green industry serving a variety of clients in the private and public sector. He is the former Manager for the Great Park Agriculture and Landscape Division. During the planning process for the first phase of the Great Park, Mr. Larson instituted the urban agricultural element, which consisted of a 104 acre organic farm, an educational center called the Farm + Food Lab, a citrus grove named the Giving Grove, farmers market, the relocation of the Incredible Edible Park (Partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank) to the Great Park and the support of a research and development farm, established on vacant property at the Great Park. The urban agricultural program served over 240,000 individuals per year. It was recognized as the largest urban agriculture operation in a public park in the nation. It drew visits from congressional government officials and international dignitaries seeking information and support on how to implemented similar urban agricultural programs in other urban areas of the United States and other countries.  Recruiting volunteers for the Great Park’s urban agricultural program was a significant achievement of Mr. Larson. Volunteer involvement in the urban agricultural operations and programs helped reduce overall operational and program cost by 40%. Mr.Larson has a passion to help municipal and private sector planners institute and achieve community centered, urban agricultural programs and projects.


Jordan Perkins

Board Member

Prior to serving on the board, Jordan was the founding executive director for SFUA, where his strategic coalition building helped the organization to flourish. In addition, Jordan managed a variety of projects and programs for both the public and private sectors. As the urban agriculture projects and program officer for the Orange County Great Park, he took the lead on visioning, planning and implementing an impressive complement of cutting edge, community-based programs that continue to give back to the community to this day. While in law school Jordan learned how to strategically position land leases to mutually benefit short-term agricultural tenants and land owners – a skill that was first put to use during the course of re-purposing former military runways and adjacent fields in the city of Irvine. Currently, Jordan is working with the American Council on Education as their director of advancement. He resides with his family in Washington D.C.


Edward Ito

Board Member

Edward Ito is a 3rd generation farmer from Orange County, California. He comes from a long and extensive farming background. He has maintained a close connection with Naturipe Berry Growers, one of the largest strawberry shippers on the West Coast. His family has been a mainstay within Naturipe Berry Growers as the oldest active members of the grower-owned co-op. Along with his family farming business, Edward has served as a long-time member of the Orange County Farm Bureau. He was also instrumental in developing innovative ways to grow hydroponic strawberries for Naturipe Berry Growers. Utilizing previous experience, Edward currently serves as the SFUA Production Manager for the Giving Farm at Westminster High School, and has also assisted in the relocation and maintenance of the hydroponic fruit and vegetable systems for the Incredible Edible Farm.


Glenn Tanaka

Board Member

Glenn Tanaka, a.k.a. Farmer Tanaka, graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Ag Business. Upon his graduation in 1978, he immediately took over his family wholesale strawberry and tomato farm, which shipped produce across the country. Following eight years of expansion, they experienced consecutive years of extreme losses which forced the family farm to scale back and regroup. After twelve more years of struggle, they decided to completely overhaul their operation from a monoculture wholesale farm to a certified organic multi crop, direct retail and educational farm. Today, along with his wife Shirley and son Kenny, Tanaka Farms thrives, while also practicing responsible farming methods in the heart of Irvine. Over the course of a year, Tanaka Farms grows over 60 diverse crops. They sell those crops through their farm stand and a 700 member CSA program. On top of providing produce, Tanaka farms educates 40,000 school children from farm tours, and entertains another 100,000 families each year with on farm activities.


Nathan Gipple

Senior Director

Prior to joining SFUA, Nathan worked in the construction industry as a senior project manager at the landscape architecture and planning firm Sitescapes Inc. Nathan brings a wide range of management experience to the SFUA team, along with his passion for growing great food locally and helping others. He has worked alongside professionals, public entities, and field crews to help ensure the successful completion of numerous projects throughout southern California. He also currently serves as the production manager at Riverbed Farm, a non-profit in Anaheim, helping to provide fresh produce to the local community. The farm also provides aquaponic farming education to students of all ages, and horticultural therapy and work training for special needs individuals. Nathan has a degree in Landscape Architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as well as a permaculture design certificate from Oregon State University. He currently resides with his family in Orange County, California.


Advisory Board

 

Edwin J. Horton, Jr. currently leads the team at Ag t3 Consulting Group, applying his hands-on knowledge and experience to work with clients to build indoor vertical growing units all over the world. The technology increases crop yield by stacking produce vertically in a building structure, incorporating an automated, enclosed environment with the use of LED lighting. Edwin was also the founding President and CEO of Urban Produce, LLC, where he designed and built one of the first indoor vertical farms in the United States. Prior to Urban Produce, Mr. Horton directed western sales and operations for Harris Corporation, a fortune 100 company and also with Thomson Reuters in their legal technology division for thirteen years.

Erik is currently Managing Director of Alegría Fresh, an urban farming company he founded in 2009. Alegría’s mission is promoting and deploying zero waste regenerative food and energy technologies using hybrid soils and teaching integrated wellness solutions. For the last seven years, Erik has researched, propagated, designed cost-effective food production systems and produced “super healing food” products with their origins in eastern plant-based medicine, including herbs and cultivars containing essential oils high in cannabinoids and medicinal terpenes. The Alegría team is currently designing the new Alegría Regenerative Health Center in Irvine, where numerous regenerative programs from soil-to-plate will be offered.

Leveraging the depth of her 25+ years of experience among strategic marketing groups, Gina offers a unique perspective stepping in as a member of internal teams, bringing experience from working with teams like Newland Communities, City View, KTGY Group and most recently, as a Vice President of Marketing for Tejon Ranch. She is President of the Council on SAGE of Southern California and a member of Urban Land Institute, NAHB and BIASC. She is a proven performer with a passion for helping others and the vision to conceptualize and execute a wide range of sales and marketing strategies designed to establish market presence, build community, and increase profitability.

D. Scott Walker is President/Chair of the Foundation for Community Preparedness.  Through the F4CP, Scott has partnered with The Food Donation Connection and local Orange County restaurants to collect their leftover food and donate it to those in need at the Orange County Rescue Mission/City of Hope. Scott has over 30 years of experience in Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability and is currently the Sr. Specialist EHS&S at Johnson & Johnson Vision (“J&J”) located in Santa Ana.  Scott also serves as a Board Member for the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce. He was instrumental in connecting J&J to Waste Management’s Certified Organic Recycling (CORe) program—a pilot program that collects J&J’s food waste and converts it into a material that can be used as a source of energy.  Through his philanthropic and environmental efforts, Scott has been able to divert food waste from landfills and either get it to the people that need it most, or help to turn it into sustainable energy.


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