Nick’s grandfather farmed in Italy before migrating to the United States and his father worked in various sectors of the produce industry his entire career. Nick’s early and up close exposure to food and agriculture had a big impact on his own career, which included three premier produce growers. Sam’s Italian family farms in the Tuscany region, where they have dairy cows, chicken and cattle, and grow wheat, olives and wine grapes. He was classmates with many Salinas Valley farmers. Gabe’s grandfather owned Ramirez Ranch and his relatives have worked in the fields. One of his summer jobs was in the fields picking strawberries. Four generations of Lindsey’s family lived on an egg farm in Fontana, Calif. Michael’s great-grandfather was a farmer, his grandfather was a produce buyer, and his father was in produce sales for a major produce company. Nicole’s dad was raised on an Arkansas farm that had a large variety of crops and farm animals. Chris’ first summer job was working at a fertilizer company, walking through manure fields, pulling out trash. Fran’s connection with agriculture stems much further than his farming hometown but from his innate understanding of the demanding physical labor. Coming from parents’ that worked the fields with sweat, blood, and pride, he views agriculture as not only the basis of the country, but the foundation of his beginnings. Having deep respect for those that work the fields, comes from watching his parents coming home exhausted and from personally working at a packing plant for a season. And then some of us enjoy very small-scale agriculture: backyard gardening!
Agriculture cultivates more than just the food on our plates, but a culture that still values the hardworking individual. Our connections make us appreciate where our food comes from and the hard work involved.
Agriculture is important to everyone, everywhere. It is crucial to so many communities, as well our state and nation. In California, agriculture is a $46 billion industry. In the Salinas Valley and Central Coast region, it is the backbone of our economy.
The Salinas and Yuma Valley agriculture helps supply the world with fresh produce and other commodities, and it has created tens of thousands of job opportunities in the industry and related industries. We are very proud to be a part of it.
One of us has had family living in the Salinas Valley since 1928, another for 50 years. One of us was born and raised here and grew up with local farmers. One of us attended California State University, Monterey Bay and remained here after college. For a few of us, we are the first in our family to live and/or work in the Salinas Valley. Whatever our background, we value this area and all of the wonderful and unique things that it offers. We are fortunate to live in the Salinas Valley and to see the abundance of produce and other crops grown here on a daily basis.