Paige Metz received her BS in Physical Education from Cal Poly
San Luis Obispo. After graduation, she spent 10 years
teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade
Exercise and Nutritional Science (ENS) at Twin Peaks Middle School
(2001 California Middle School Physical Education Program of the
Year). During this time, Paige was one of the first physical
educators in the country to earn recognition as a Nationally Board
Certified Teacher and was named the 2003 California Middle School
Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the California
Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
(CAHPERD). In 2003, Paige joined the ENS staff at Westview
High School (2005 California High School Physical Education Program
of the Year) where she taught for 7 years and served as department
chair. Currently, Paige is the Health and Physical Education
Curriculum Coordinator at the San Diego County Office of Education
where she supports the efforts of 42 school districts and over 120
charter schools in their efforts to provide high quality,
standards-based instruction that empowers students to attain and
maintain a healthy lifestyle. She is a Domain Champion for the San
Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, and is an active member
of both CAHPERD and the Society for Health and Physical Education
Title: Health and Physical Education Curriculum
Coordinator with the San Diego County Office of Education
When did you realize that you wanted to teach physical
I wanted to teach physical education since 7th grade
and all of my friends made fun of me at the time. When I was a
student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I majored in communications
because everyone told me not to major in physical education. I
hated it. After meeting someone with a physical education major, I
decided to switch. I enjoyed being a teaching assistant at Cal
Poly; it really felt like a second skin. Afterwards I taught
exercise and nutrition science to middle school students for 10
years at Twin Peaks (in Poway), where I went to school.
How did you become involved in the COI?
In 2010 when I began working with San Diego County of Education,
Cheryl Moder, formerly the director of COI, scheduled a meeting
with me. A few months later we received the Community Putting
Prevention to Work grant, and this gave me the opportunity to
become more involved.
Why do you stay involved with the COI?
It is really nice seeing so many passionate people working
together. It can be difficult for outside agencies to influence the
education system, and if you are outside the system, it's hard to
get involved. In the beginning of my teaching career, there were no
kids with diabetes. By the end, I had a lot of students that were
diabetic. I had 6th graders who weighed 250 lbs. and at
that point I realized that it's a systemic problem, and the more we
can collaborate, the more we can change the system.
What do you love about your job?
I love that I have the ability to impact thousands of students
by training teachers and providing resources to schools. I help
ensure students receive quality physical education at schools and
that they leave with a skill set and mindset that supports regular
physical activity. I miss working with kids, but I have two high
school students at home.
What are three words that describe you?
Enthusiastic, positive, and action-oriented.
What is your favorite place in San Diego?
Probably La Jolla Shores, because we paddleboard there quite a
What do you do for fun?
Travel and anything outdoors. We were just in Amsterdam and
everyone there was so active, people rode their bikes everywhere!
My family also spends a lot of time up in Mammoth hiking, skiing,
and snowmobiling. I also enjoy spinning, stand-up paddle boarding,
reading, and walking with my chocolate lab.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Professionally, it is being 2003 California Physical Education
Teacher of the Year. Personally, it is my kids. They are 17 and 18
now and one is getting ready to go to college in Michigan on an
What are your three greatest passions?
I probably shouldn't list wine here. Family, being healthy and
active, and discovering new adventures.
What might someone be surprised to know about
I'm probably the most predictable person. I really like a good
cheeseburger. I also binge watch the Academy Awards and everyone in
my house knows to leave me alone when the awards shows are on.
Keturah (or Ketty) Swenson completed the Didactic Program in
Dietetics at San Diego State University, earning a degree in Food
Science and Nutrition, and currently works as a Nutritionist for
Child Development Associates (CDA). CDA is a sponsor of several
federally funded social services including the Child and Adult Care
Food Program (CACFP). Part of her job as the nutritionist is to
create trainings and provide nutrition education for approximately
1,250 private in-home child care providers and about 30 preschool
center staff who participate in their CACFP program.
When did you know that you wanted to work in this career
I have always enjoyed learning about how the body works. I enjoy
science and food, so getting a degree in nutrition made sense for
me, but I didn't know that I would be working as a nutrition
educator in the early child development field until I was in
college. I became aware of food insecurity problems that we have
here in San Diego and realized that helping to ensure that all
children have access to healthy foods was important to me.
I became involved in the COI when I began working for CDA. CDA
has been a long-time supporter of COI as an agency interested in
impacting the health and wellness of children, I got lucky as the
nutritionist to be our representative.
I have seen the impact that the COI has in the early child
development community and I am so inspired by all of the incredible
work that is accomplished when we work together.
I love so much about my job! I love getting to work with child
care providers, visiting child care facilities and seeing the
children enjoy healthy foods, but mostly I love knowing that the
work I do helps to ensure that nutritious meals are available to
children who may not have otherwise had access to those meals.
Silly, empathetic, determined
Home! I'm a total homebody, so most of the time, there is
nowhere I'd rather be.
I like to read, hike, camp, paint a bit, spend time with
friends, go to the San Diego Zoo, watch movies, and cook.
Traveling, being of service to friends & family, and always
learning new things.
I grew up in southern Arizona on a small family farm where we
raised goats and chickens, horses, sheep, cats and dogs, and many
other animals. I raised pigs for 4-H and showed them in the county
fair for years. I love animals and for the last 18+ years that I've
lived in San Diego, I have not owned ONE pet!
Dan Bennett is a Communications Director at UC San Diego Center
for Community Health and a San Diego native who has worked on
community-health projects for the past seven years, leading
communications and messaging efforts, and helping organizations
tell their story through focus on human impact, including
storytelling training for organization staff. Dan spent more than
20 years as a reporter for daily newspapers in San Diego, and has
also written freelance for the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment
Weekly and other regional and national publications, including
numerous health publications. Dan is the COI Media Domain
When did you know that you wanted to work in
I grew up in San Diego, and at an early age was reading daily
newspapers, watching television news and listening to radio news. I
was compelled by the process of sharing information - how it was
accomplished, and what it meant - and knew early on I
wanted to be a part of that sharing, through media. These days,
information is shared much differently, and anyone can do it. That
presents some challenges, but I continue to see that effective and
accurate information sharing is an important part of a vital and
In 2010, I started work for UC San Diego Center for Community
Health as communications manager for a CDC-funded project called
Communities Putting Prevention to Work, implemented by the County
of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. The work connected
to the goals of the COI, and I began working with the COI as a
member of the Media Domain. I continued collaborating with COI on
media while I was communications manager for the County's Healthy
Works initiative, then stayed on the COI Media Domain when I
returned to UCSD, now serving as the domain co-chair while working
on REACH Chula Vista, a project advancing community-health
opportunities in western Chula Vista, and REACH Be There, a project
addressing heart-health and disparities in Southeast San Diego.
The goals of the projects I've worked on are similar in scope
and purpose to those of COI, particularly in our common pursuit of
policy, systems and environmental changes in San Diego County
communities. Because of health-inequity issues, not everyone has
access to healthy choices. The goals of COI, especially those
involving such community partners as schools, business, government
and more, are essential to healthy communities, and communicating
those goals through key messages and sharing of information is an
important part of the process.
What do you love about of your job?
Working with so many varied partners in San Diego County who all
share like-minded goals and have so many creative methods of
accomplishing those. I'm also excited about the new ways we share
information, such as social media and purposeful use of video to
tell stories. Storytelling - in this case the art of telling a
story through human and community impact - is essential to the
future of community health.
Listener, learner, communicator
I was born and grew up here and have seen the county change. I
can't name a favorite, so I'll name a few where I've spent
countless hours as a kid and an adult: Downtown, Balboa Park,
Belmont Park, Qualcomm Stadium, Oceanside Pier, Carlsbad beaches,
and my current South Park neighborhood.
I coach Little League baseball. I also collect books with every
intention of reading them, but, you know, soon.
Raising my two children, both now teenagers who have remained
reasonably normal. Ha.
I climbed a volcano in Nicaragua alone in a rainstorm, and I
can't parallel park even if someone is calmly giving me
Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP is a
dual board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine physician
and registered dietitian. She practices general pediatrics at
Children's Primary Care Medical Group where she also leads a
healthy weight clinic called the W.E.L.L. Clinic. In addition, she
is the Senior Advisor for Healthcare Solutions for the American
Council on Exercise and a member of the Executive Committee of the
American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Obesity. She is the
author of five books including the soon-to-be-released The Picky
Eater Project: 6 Weeks to Happier, Healthier Family Mealtimes,
authored with Sally Sampson of ChopChop Magazine and published by
the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Muth graduated from UCLA with majors in psychology and
physiological sciences with college honors, summa cum laude, and
Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a Master of Public Health in nutrition
at University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill completing her master
thesis on childhood obesity screening in schools based on her work
at the CDC's Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. She
graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine
where she was awarded the Davis Pediatric Student Scholar,
recognition given to the most promising medical student planning to
specialize in pediatrics. She completed her training in pediatrics
at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital in the Community Health and
Advocacy Training track.
COI Private Sector Co-Chair
When did you know that you
wanted to become a physician?
As a college student I became extremely interested in human
health, nutrition, exercise, and the incredible privilege and
opportunity that medicine offers to be able to make a positive
impact on people's lives and health.
How did you become involved
in the COI?
I first learned about the COI several years ago. A cutting edge,
multi-sector initiative, its mission to optimize kids' health
through collaboration and community-level changes inspired me and I
couldn't wait to be involved. In 2012, I joined the healthcare and
media domains. In 2015 I was thrilled when the opportunity to serve
as co-chair opened up and that my medical group, Children's Primary
Care Medical Group, supported me in serving in this capacity. I'm
grateful to be involved with the COI and the exciting work of
helping the County of San Diego be the healthiest place to raise
kids by pushing an agenda to make the healthy choice the easy
Why do you stay involved with
The COI is a great model of collective impact and how working
together across domains can help to achieve our shared mission of
preventing and reducing childhood obesity and improving kids'
health. I am committed to helping all children have the opportunity
to eat healthfully, be active, and thrive. I think that the COI is
a powerful entity which helps us to make that ideal possible for
What do you love about of
My favorite part of being a pediatrician is getting to know the
kids and families that come to my office. I love watching them grow
and develop and I also like serving as kind of a coach for parents
who are on this most incredible adventure of parenting. I love that
as part of the COI I can advocate for changes that will positively
impact my patients in the communities where they live, learn, and
What are three words that
Passionate, Persistent, Caring
What is your favorite place
in San Diego?
Moonlight Beach in Encinitas
What do you do for
Hang out with my kids and husband doing anything active.
Travel. We especially love National Parks.
What is your proudest
I am most proud of my two kids. I love being their mom and all
of the fun (and challenges) that come along with that.
What are your three greatest
I am passionate about promoting (and practicing) health through
nutrition, physical activity, and healthful behavior changes in
fun, innovative, and (hopefully effective) ways. My mission is to
help create and support environments that make the healthy choice
the easy (and fun!) choice.
I am passionate about pursuing new adventures and experiences
with my family and learning new lessons from each of them along the
I am passionate about pediatrics and the incredible and
rewarding privilege it offers me to help kids (and their families)
What might someone be
surprised to know about you?
As a kid I really struggled to eat healthfully and be active and
was affected by childhood obesity. I had a few turning points, but
the most significant one was when my mom and I hiked down and out
of the Grand Canyon when I was a junior in high school. We weren't
sure if we could do it, but at the end of the day, we made it! It
was from that experience that I was convinced of the power of
prevention, especially physical activity and nutrition, to optimize
physical and mental health.
Did you know that more than 100 million Americans use
vending machines each day? As businesses, schools, and the
individuals throughout the nation deal with a chronic disease
epidemic, many are beginning to take their snacks seriously,
including those in vending machines.
In 2016, the top five consumer food trends are simple foods with
transparent labels, free for all foods (e.g., gluten-free,
wheat-free, etc.), vegetarian options or more animal-friendly
products, less processed foods, and products with vegetables
incorporated into the recipe. In an effort to make the healthy
choice the easy choice, and provide people more of the foods they
want, the County of San Diego Public Health Services, UC San Diego
School of Medicine, the American Heart Association, and the San
Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative hosted a healthy and
sustainable vending forum on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
The purpose of the event was to connect organizations to vendors
specializing in healthy, sustainable products; highlighted local
best practices; and identified ways organizations could formalize
healthy vending as part of their organizational culture through
The event included an all-start cast that inspired change.Aysha
Pamukcu, Staff Attorney for ChangeLab Solutions made the case that
healthy vending policies and nutrition standards can help reduce
the health and economic impacts of obesity-the cost of obesity
among full-time employees to employers is approximately $73.1
Naomi Billups, Public Health Nutrition Manager for the County of
San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency, and Fabian Cervantes,
Human Resources Generalist and Coordinator for Goodwill Industries
of San Diego County shared their personal experiences with changing
County and organizational policy in nutrition standards at the
local level. The County of San Diego revealed that it would soon be
updating its policy to go beyond health and promote sustainable
products with less packaging waste.
Afterwards, organizations that make this type of vending a
reality took to the podium. Representatives from Canteen, Grow, Healthy
On-The-Go Vending, and Daily
Harvest Market presented on their product lines and offered
samples to guests. Companies were able to provide a wide array of
healthier foods from refrigerated to shelf stable, and could even
provide organizations that housed the machines a share of the
If you weren't able to make this event and you want to be part of
the movement, don't fret. Resources such as policy examples, tools
on the creation of healthy and sustainable vending policies, and a
list of healthy vendors are available by contacting JuliAnna Arnett, Food Systems Specialist with
the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency. To see
more photos from the event, click here.
With a background in education and planning, Cheri was always
passionate about supporting children and improving their lives. She
began her career at Rady Children's Hospital as a director of
Community Health (now the Center for Healthy Communities), and she
has been a member of the Rady Children's Hospital team for 28
years. The Center for Healthy Communities uses evidence based
practices derived from the community needs assessment, the
Children's Report Card and other sources to help promote healthy
living for children. Cheri's work involves an array of projects
including injury prevention, immunization, tobacco, oral health,
nutrition and healthy lifestyles and youth development. When Cheri
is not working to improve childhood health she is either practicing
yoga, spending time with family, refining her gardening and cooking
skills, or practicing holistic health.
How did you become involved with the San Diego County
Childhood Obesity Initiative?
I was involved with the COI before it began under the leadership
of supervisors Ron Roberts and Pam Slater Price. Rady Children's
saw the rise in childhood obesity early on and were ready to help
with obesity prevention. I have been involved in Leadership
Council, Action Plan Development, and Healthcare Domain since the
beginning of COI.
What do you love most about your job?
A lot of things. One of the most significant [aspects] is the
ability to do work that helps to benefit kids, which is my
strongest passion. I get to work with the most wonderful people who
share the same passion and desires, and test out creative
approaches to improving community health.
What is your favorite place in San Diego? What do you do
I love to walk and so my favorite place is along the coast and
Mission Trails. I like to walk from South Mission Bay to La Jolla,
and have even walked from Oceanside to Solana Beach.
Probably raising kids, and then creating and guiding the Center
for Healthier Communities. In 2003, I went back to school to become
a holistic health practitioner and try to integrate that profession
into the work I do at Rady Children's Hospital.
What are some of your strongest passions?
Family (including dog), work, and self-care (involving yoga and
Where are your favorite places to travel
Ireland countryside is beautiful. In the US, it's New
If you could describe yourself in three words what would
Energetic, mindful, and people-person.
White canopies draped with burlap cloth, dozens of farmers
standing by proud displays of produce, and people in sunhats
smiling wide and admiring brightly colored fruits and vegetables:
welcome to the third annual Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase!
This year's Showcase, held on October 23, 2015 at
the Leichtag Foundation Ranch in Encinitas, was a huge
success! Over 200 attendees had the opportunity to meet nearly 50
exhibitors, including 37 local farms and food producers, 3 produce
distributors, and 8 educational partners. This year's Showcase was
held in conjunction with Food Day (October 24th), a
nationwide day of action promoting a vision of food that is
healthy, affordable, and produced with care.
The Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase is the cornerstone event in
CHIP's work to grow the local food economy by helping large
institutional buyers connect with growers of fresh, healthy, local
produce and other sustainable food producers. Fostering the market
in which these buyers and sellers interact sets the stage for
profitable and sustainable business relationships that help grow a
healthy community, economy, and food system. Let's go Local! is a
unique opportunity for these buyers and sellers to meet
face-to-face to explore potential business relationships and
During the Showcase's brief comments, Kevin Gorham, Aquaponic
Specialist at Solutions for Change shared these eloquent words:
"Currently the Vista Unified School District (VUSD) is our
largest buyer. Our relationship with VUSD started at Farm to
School Taskforce meetings, with casual conversations between
interested parties. We've got a saying at Solutions,
"Connect, Trust, Act" If you don't connect with someone you can't
trust them and if you don't trust someone you're not going to act
on anything with them, and you definitely aren't going to buy your
food from them."
Liz Gary, with San Diego Soy Dairy said, "Due to the Let's Go
Local program we are well on our way to introducing our product
into a number of new venues." Janis Garcia with Daily Harvest
Market told us, "We loved, loved, loved the Let's Go Local event!!!
We connected with lots of new growers which is really helpful and
made some great connections. Thank you for including us and
we can't wait till next year!"
Thanks immensely to those who attended and exhibited at the 2015
Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase. An impressive array of dynamic
organizations, businesses, and individuals continue to advance the
shared goal of a creating a food system that contributes to a
healthy community, economy, and environment. We are in this
together. Now, onward!
Most COI partners know Stephanie Gioia-Beckman as Supervisor Ron
Roberts' Senior Policy Advisor and a longtime supporter of the COI,
but you may be surprised to learn that Stephanie never really had
her sights on politics or government work. Child welfare had always
been her passion, so Stephanie attended UC Santa Barbara, where she
received a bachelor's degree in psychology, and planned to one day
become a psychiatrist.
For four years, she worked as a counselor then supervisor at a
residential treatment center for severely emotionally distrurbed
foster youth. "I wanted to become a psychiatrist, but after
learning about the child welfare system that abused children face,
I realized one-on-one therapy wouldn't make enough impact; we need
larger scale change," Stephanie remembers. She applied to graduate
school at San Diego State University's School of Social Work and
while waiting to hear back, she came across an employment
opportunity working with former state Senator Dede Alpert, a known
juvenile justice, child welfare, and health advocate.
"Senator Alpert was very well respected and the first female
senator to chair the appropriations committee," recalls Stephanie.
Despite Stephanie's lack of government experience, her commitment
to child welfare aligned with Senator Alpert's and she was hired as
a community representative. Over nearly five years, she gained
experience serving on committees and working with the community on
Stephanie recalls the time when a young resident contacted
Senator Alpert's office to discuss the challenges CalWORKS
recipients face to save money for a college education: "If a
CalWORKS recipient saved money for post-secondary education, their
savings would disqualify them from obtaining benefits." While
working with Stephanie to draft legislation to address this issue,
the youth was tragically killed in a car accident. To continue the
legacy of the young community advocate, Stephanie worked diligently
with the family members to pass legislation that would prevent
educational saving accounts from impacting CalWORKS income
eligibility. This experience reaffirmed Stephanie's commitment to
public service and the impact policies have on individuals.
In 2004, with Senator Alpert's term limit approaching, Stephanie
was hired by County Supervisor Ron Roberts because of their mutual
commitments to children and health. Over the past 11 years,
Stephanie has worked for Supervisor Roberts and says the favorite
part of her job is, "sitting at the table with community and other
parts of government to solve big, societal issues collaboratively."
Connecting with community members is integral because "feedback
helps frame the issues for decision makers."
Stephanie's involvement in childhood obesity prevention
actually preceded the development of the Call to
Action: San Diego County Childhood Obesity Action Plan (Action
Plan) and creation of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity
Initiative. In 2004, she served on the steering committee that
developed the first Action Plan. Stephanie has been
involved with the COI since its inception and continues to serve on
the Leadership Council and as a co-chair of the Government Domain.
When asked what keeps her engaged in the COI she responded, "it's a
great resource to learn about community health issues, organize,
and implement community change."
While reflecting on her career, Stephanie admits, "I've always
been sad that I haven't pursued my master's degree, but the
experience from my career would not have been captured in any
degree program." In her free time, Stephanie enjoys spending time
with her family and said one of her proudest accomplishments is
being a mom to her two sons. "It's the most important job, creating
an individual and raising him to be a productive contributor to
Kim McDougal is a third generation Alaska native and admits that
when her family first moved to San Diego when she was 15 years old,
it "was a hard adjustment." As a child, Kim enjoyed exploring the
outdoors, camping, and fishing on the weekends, so when her family
relocated to Encinitas for her father's work, the change of scenery
and cultural norms were quite a shock.
Kim attended college at UC Davis and studied International
Relations and Spanish. It was her work with the Boston Health
Department Lead Poisoning Prevention program that really sparked
her interest in children's health. Kim decided to move back to
California to earn a Masters of Public Health and a Masters of
Child and Family Development at San Diego State University. One of
her fondest memories while attending school was an assignment
working with a small community that made leaded ceramics in Oaxaca,
Mexico. The project aimed to understand the Oaxaca community's
perception of lead and then determine an appropriate intervention.
The class determined a nutrition intervention would be most fitting
and modified local recipes as a means to minimize the impacts of
lead exposure through healthy nutrition. The students then held a
huge celebration and shared the food and recipes with the community
Upon completing her coursework, Kim's commitment to children's
health led her to the YMCA Childcare Resource Service, where she
now serves as executive manager. Kim is a co-chair of the COI's
Early Childhood Domain. She is extremely passionate about her work
and loves "visiting preschools, seeing the kids, and working with
families and childcare providers who are doing the hardest work out
Kim was quick to mention that her favorite part of the job is
"working with passionate, talented, and fun people within the YMCA
as well as with community partners on collaborative grants and
committees." On second thought, she admitted, her "favorite part of
the job is the actual work that we do supporting children, low
income families, and the community. That's really at the core, and
then secondary is the amazing people that I work with."
During her free-time Kim enjoys cooking, camping, hiking (with her
dog), and running (she has completed four half marathons). Kim
feels a deep connection to the Mexican culture and has been
volunteering for nine years as a "Big" through Big Brother Big
Sisters with her "Little," who is from Oaxaca, Mexico. In
retrospect, Kim admits that although the move to California was an
adjustment, it has led her to many great opportunities,
experiences, and to her passion: helping children and families lead
On October 24, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity
Initiative's Farm to School Taskforce celebrated Food Day by
hosting the second annual Let's Go Local! Produce
Showcase for local institutional buyers, growers and distributors
of fruits and vegetables. The event, which took place at the Ranch
(441 Saxony Road, in Encinitas), drew nearly 40 local growers and
eight distributors, as well as a number of critical partner
agencies like the San Diego County Farm Bureau, UC San Diego Center
for Community Health, County of San Diego, and hundreds of
institutional produce buyers.
The Produce Showcase was generously hosted by the Leichtag
Foundation, a Jewish non-profit foundation that is transforming
that site, the former location of the Ecke Ranch (poinsettia
growing capital of the world), into a hub for sustainable
agriculture and Jewish community. The purpose of the Produce
Showcase is to open up a new, viable market for local growers, and
to direct more fresh, local produce toward institutional food
procurement. This corresponds with Leichtag's focus on nurturing a
strong, healthy regional food system that serves all San
San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts spoke about the
importance of the event to revitalizing our community's health and
economy and praised this year's event organizers (who included
staff from Community Health Improvement Partners, the OC Food
Access Coalition, and a number of engaged participants) for nearly
tripling the size of the event from last year. JuliAnna Arnett, the
lead organizer, spoke about the importance of the Produce
Showcase for improving San Diego County's institutional food
offerings, and Christina Hall, of the Orange County Food Access
Coalition, emphasized the event's significance to the broader
Southern Californian food system. Jim Farley, Leichtag Foundation's
president and CEO, welcomed participants to the Ranch and voiced
hopes that one day the Produce Showcase might be made permanent in
the form of a farmers' market at the Ranch.
The real test of the Produce Showcase's success starts now. It
will be measured by how many buyers pick up the phone and call
local growers to ask for local produce, or express interest in
purchasing local when renegotiating contracts with
distributors. In the days following the showcase, we are already
hearing stories of success. An Orange County farm identified its
first-ever school district customers. A produce distributor
reconnected with a local mushroom grower after nine years of no
contact and plans to once again purchase their product. A local
restaurant left the event with plans to buy from three local farms,
including an egg producer and a lettuce grower. A local school
district scheduled meetings with multiple farms and has introduced
the idea of a "cowpool", a group purchase of cut and wrapped
locally-raised, grassfed beef, to a district principal and
teachers. We hope to hear more of these stories in the following
months and ensure that everyone in San Diego County has access to
fresh, local produce, particularly our schools and hospitals, where
a significant number of meals are served. We hope to see you at
next year's Produce Showcase!
See our latest newsletter and the COI calendar for upcoming
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