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, with living wage jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. RFSA can realize this potential with branding, development, financing, marketing, job training, and business skill programs.
Priorities and Actions
Food sector economic development strategy. Integrate local food as a sector within existing business networks. Actions:
A city department dedicated to Food and Agriculture Economic Development;
Engagement with local restaurants.
Diversify agriculture production. Create a comprehensive specialty food and crop variety program. Focus on innovations for crops that suit the local climate and will meet local demand. Actions:
40+ new acres of avocados in the Greenbelt;
Publicly accessible data. Create and maintain print and online information about agriculture and food systems resources. Actions:
Local Guide in print and online;
Expand participation in the food economy. Reduce barriers for new food entrepreneurs and beginning farmers, and encourage value-added activities.
RUSD hub selling local produce to local restaurants and Banning Unified School District.
Food jobs. Develop a comprehensive apprenticeship program focused on living wage food related jobs (including farming) in cooperation with education institutions. Actions:
New Riverside Unified School District Food Hub Manager position.
Procurement. 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.