Leadership Wisconsin is pleased to announce the location of the upcoming U.S. Seminar in the Bay Area and Central Valley of California. Seminar Scholars will be traveling to this area of the country in the fall of 2017 from September 10 – 15.
The Bay Area and Central Valley of California offer multiple and contrasting landscapes to study food systems and their relationship to natural resources and community and economic development. With the use of a dam and canal system for irrigation the Central Valley has some of the richest farmland in the United States, producing more than 300 crops, and about 1/4 of the food consumed in the United States.
We will converse with rural farmers and immigrant workers, predominantly those in Latino and Hmong communities. We will find ourselves in urban spaces where we will examine food systems as part of a local economic development strategy. We will visit local farmers markets, including one located on the Pacific Ocean that has been an incubator for small businesses. We will explore the development of food businesses including a conversation with Gary, an immigrant who started a local juice truck at a public transportation stop that has grown to a brick and mortar business supplying juice to restaurants, grocery stores, and Facebook, Inc.
The Bay Area is one of the world’s most diverse communities and therefore a cross-section of gender, ethnicity, class, orientation, and age will be present throughout the duration of the seminar. Our experiences will connect to themes of community resiliency, immigration, crime-reduction, and engagement of individuals who were formerly incarcerated. This will be done by examining community partnerships, including one that has resulted in a community garden and development of diverse volunteer groups. We will explore how urban issues that appear to be unrelated to rural Wisconsin share common policy themes. And we will cultivate our skills related to creating change around complex social issues, understanding multiple policy lenses, and developing volunteers.