Country View: AG Kawamura - Orange County Produce - Irvine, CA
Radio interview source: AG Kawamura, Owner, Orange County Produce
When there are 20-million people living within an hour-and-a-half of you, the market is ripe for selling fresh produce. A.G. Kawamura is the third generation of a family farm company called Orange County Produce in Irvine, California. It participates in both conventional and certified organic farming. The two main crops are beans and strawberries, but the family also raises 40 other crops. The produce is sold at farmers' markets, to local restaurants, and even to Disneyland.
In such an urban setting, A.G. often has to be creative when looking for places to grow the fruits and vegetables. Several years ago he helped start a project in Irvine called The Incredible Edible Park.
"It was zoned for a park," says A.G. "The city officials said it's not zoned for agriculture, so we came back and said well, this is an edible landscape, so will that work? And they said ok, that works. At that park we produce food for the food bank so it's an educational mini farm. It's five-acres, so it's not a backyard garden."
A.G. says his business is based on a term called agriculture urbanism, as opposed to urban agriculture.
"Agriculture urbanism is how can agriculture become woven back into the fabric of any urban area or suburban area. It can be everything from rooftop gardens, to backyard gardens, to gardens on your porch. Then there's community gardens, community farms, small farms, and then of course regular-scale agriculture can be just right around that perimeter, and they all actually have a good function with each other."
A.G. says the regional foodshed enables his company to deliver same-day harvest, and a mild climate allows them to produce that harvest 52-weeks of the year.
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