Back row: Supervisor Kevin Jeffries (First District), Supervisor John F. Tavaglione (Second District), Supervisor Chuck Washington (Third District), Hans Kernkamp (Riverside County Department of Waste Resources General Manager-Chief Engineer), V. Manuel Perez (Fourth District), Supervisor Marion Ashley (Fifth District)
First Row: Stuart Haniff (Chief Philanthropy Officer, Feeding America), Jose Campos (Parent Involvement and Community Outreach Director, Jurupa Unified School District), Kurt Schoppe (General Manager, SA Recycling).
Not pictured: Robert Renzoni (Owner, Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery, Tina Kummerle (President, Highland Springs Ranch & Inn)
On April 24, 2018, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors recognized the following businesses and organizations, one from each supervisorial district, that implement sustainable practices:
1st District: Feeding America Riverside|San Bernardino
For nearly 40 years, Feeding America Riverside | San Bernardino (FARSB) has taken a bite out of food insecurity in the Inland Empire by finding a home for food that could have otherwise been wasted. The organization has distributed over 554 million pounds of food into our community, serving the 800,000+ food insecure people that reside in the area.
Sustainability practices include a food recovery program that diverts food away from landfills, as well as gleaning of nearby citrus groves to help feed the hungry. 67% of FARSB’s inventory is donated, meaning it relies less on government hunger programs. Education is also a hallmark: FARSB utilizes a kid's produce market, which provides fresh produce to low income schools. This program affords each of these low income schools with 9,000 to 12,000 pounds of food.
With an 80,000 square foot building that houses its food distribution efforts, Feeding America provided over 22 million meals in 2017.
2nd District: Jurupa Unified School District
The Jurupa Valley Unified School District (JVUSD) is scoring high marks for its efforts to reach children and families who are food insecure. A food distribution pantry- held on the third Saturday of the month and staffed by over 75 volunteers- distributes food to approximately 350 households, reaching 1,600 individuals each month.
The program is spearheaded by JVUSD’s Parent Involvement and Community Outreach Director, Jose Campos, who coordinates with several community partnerships/programs to create a developing network of services to support families when they are in need.
JVUSD works with First District awardee Feeding America, along with other ministries and food banks, to secure food for families. The project always has an eye toward the future, collaborating with additional service providers to connect with participating families. By seeking further partnerships-- including a pending application with the USDA to also provide subsidized goods, as well as utilizing volunteers to staff the monthly food pantry-- JVUSD ensures that the program will remain viable for years to come.
3rd District: Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery
Mother Nature plays a starring role at Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery. The business is not only noteworthy for its award-winning wine, but the fact that it is currently the only Southern California winery that uses rainwater harvesting.
The winery utilizes a 40,000 gallon capacity harvesting tank system that collects water from various locations on the property via gutters and drains. The rainwater is channeled through underground piping and into tanks for purification. The purified rainwater then goes into a drip irrigation system to irrigate the vineyards. This water-wise practice results in several thousands of gallons of rainwater being used for irrigation and contributes to water conservation all year long.
The rainwater harvesting system is just one of the sustainable practices the winery employs. The business currently operates on 68% solar power, with a goal of becoming 100% fully operational on solar energy in the future.
In addition to rainwater harvesting and solar power efforts, Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery has several other sustainable practices such as on-site mulching as well as glass bottle and cardboard recycling.
4th District: SA Recycling
For over a decade, SA Recycling has been committed to the environment and sustainability. The company has 70 locations across the country; but in Riverside County, its environmental mission includes three scrap metal recycling operations in Murrieta, Coachella, and Thousand Palms.
In Thousand Palms, the scrap metal recycling facility accepts both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as inoperable automobiles.
The Thousand Palms facility goes one step further, with a fully permitted organics composting facility that diverts nearly 100,000 tons of organic waste from local landfills every year. The composting facility highlights the local focus: area landscapers and other customers drop off organic waste, which is transformed on site, and the finished soil amendments and mulch products are used for the agricultural, turf, and landscape industries throughout the Coachella and Imperial Valleys. In addition, each month, thousands of tons of organic waste is transported to the Desert View Power Plant and turned into electricity.
5th District: Highland Springs Ranch & Inn
Established in 1884, Highland Springs Ranch & Inn knows a thing or two about being sustainable. As Southern California’s largest organic lavender farm, the property implements a variety of sustainability practices on a daily basis.
Highland Springs has an on-site farm which grows various types of heirloom vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The farm also raises sheep, cows, and chickens. The bi-products from those animals are used as well. Wool from the sheep is turned into yarn, while excess material is composted along with on-site vegetation. Meanwhile, manure, as well as fruit and vegetable scraps, are vermicomposted. The soil amendments help grow the fruit vegetables and herbs, which are all harvested and used by the business.
Highland Springs uses native plants and permaculture design to capture water that flows from foothills onto the grounds for use in the lavender fields and farm. In addition, fencing and walls are replaced with natural brush barrier planting.