The six Excellence in Agriculture honorees. Photo courtesy of Totally Local VC and Viktor Budnik Food Photography
From March 9th through March 15th Totally Local VC Agricultural Foundation presented its fourth annual Ventura County Ag Week, a celebration of all that our county’s local farmers and ranchers do. Despite the challenges facing the world, many of the weeklong celebrations continued as scheduled.
The week kicked off with a resolution from the Ventura County Board of Supervisors proclaiming March 9th – March 15th as Agriculture Week in Ventura County. On Tuesday the sold out “Excellence in Agriculture Awards Luncheon” honored agricultural leaders from field to fork, including Rancher of the Year Bud Sloan, Farmer of the Year Helen McGrath and Chef of the Year Kelly Brigilio of Paradise Pantry. Other honorees included Educator of the Year UC Cooperative Extension Hansen Agricultural Research Center, and Sustainability Award winner Scott Deardorff of Deardorff Family Farms.
A special Agricultural Hero Award was presented to Phil McGrath of McGrath Family Farms. “This award is so significant and special to me,” commented McGrath. “Being called an ‘Ag Hero’ in Ventura County validates everything I’ve strived for as a farmer; to work with the soil and its own biology, to work with my team and reward them to my best ability, and to educate the community about real food from the Oxnard plains.”
Another highlight of VC Ag Week was Wednesday’s Ventura Chef Association Tasting Event with abundant appetizers made from locally grown food prepared by Westmont College, Fresh & Fabulous, La Dolce Vita, Naval Base Ventura County, Ventura County Rescue Mission, and Four Brix Winery. Also, during the week, an intimate “Meet the Farmer and Rancher Mixer” and the popular Historic Oxnard Farm Park BBQ and Tour were held. Meanwhile, local restaurants, wineries, brewers and purveyors featured locally grown and raised menu specials throughout the week in support of “Eat Local ~ Hug a Farmer.”
While many VC Ag Week activities continued, due to COVID-19 the student tours and Exploration of Agriculture Careers event were cancelled for the health and safety of all students.
“We had over 275 attendees join us across all events throughout Ventura County Ag Week this year,” commented Kat Merrick, Founder and President of Totally Local VC Agricultural Foundation. “It’s an honor to celebrate the true stewards of our local land – farmers and ranchers, who are raising and growing more on fewer acres and protecting our county’s precious soil and water resources.” Ventura County Ag Week’s goal is to highlight and honor the important role that agriculture plays in our lives. Many of Ventura County’s founding agriculture families remain today with the next generation carrying on the family farming and ranching legacy.
Ventura County Ag Week is generously supported by many wonderful sponsors and businesses. Please take a moment to get to know them – https://www.totallylocalvc.com/ventura-county-ag-week-2020/
Totally Local VC is a collaborative initiative focused on promoting the importance and success of our local agriculture and business community. We are dedicated to educating our youth and community members on the important role business and agriculture plays, not only in our county but in the world, and the many links each of us has to small business and agriculture. Simply put Totally Local VC educates, advocates and celebrates local agriculture to bring stronger awareness for and collaboration with our local farmers, ranchers, purveyors and businesses. www.totallylocalvc.com – 805-222-6542