November brings graduation to the national award-winning Focus Agriculture program.
A ceremony and reception was held at the Pajaro Valley Historical Association’s Bockius-Orr house on Beach Street in Watsonville for Class XXIII of the Focus Agriculture program. Focus Agriculture, a program of the organization Agri-Culture is a “first-in-the-nation” program that allows community leaders to learn firsthand about agriculture in Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley.
The nine-session program covers topics such as ethnic groups in agriculture, labor, new technology, land use, politics, the environment and health care. The members of the graduating class for 2012 are:
- John Armstrong, Assistant Director- Alternative Program, Santa Cruz County Office of Education
- Ralph Bracamonte, District Manager, Central Water District
- Carla Carstens, President, Carla Carstens Designs, Inc.
- Leslie DeRose, Trustee, Pajaro Valley Unified School District
- Karen DeWitt, Executive Director, Ag Against Hunger
- Zach Friend, Principal Analyst, City of Santa Cruz Police Department
- Grace Galvan, Operations Director, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
- Bill Gielow, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County
- Tony Gregorio, County Supervisor’s Analyst, Supervisors Greg Caput
- Michael MacDonald, Sergeant, County of Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office
- Mary Lou Nicoletti, Agricultural Commissioner, County of Santa Cruz
- Richard Otto, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones Investments
- Malkeet Padda, Postharvest Research Analyst, Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates, Inc.
- Ana Rasmussen, Program Director, Mesa Verde Gardens
- Ken Schwan, Chef/ Owner, Monterey Bay Caterers
- Melodye Serino, Senior Administration Analyst, County of Santa Cruz, CAO Office
- Ginny Solari Mazry, Executive Director, Richard & Mary Solari Charitable Trust
- Jennifer Squires, Editor, Watsonville Patch (AOL)
- Eric Summers, Assistant Vice President Business Banking, Comerica Bank
- Michael Turpin, President & Publisher, Santa Cruz Sentinel
- Joseph Williams, Operations, Pacific Coast Ag
Agri-Culture President Bill Ringe stated at the graduation, “This was an excellent class. We are appreciative of the speakers and participants for giving their time during the year”.
If anyone is interested in applying for the next class, which will begin in March 2013, please contact the Agri-Culture office at (831) 722-6622 or you can email your request for an application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your name will be placed on our mailing list for applications that will be released in December.