Mission Produce Teamed up with Businesses to Promote Hands-on Learning at Ventura College

Oxnard, CA – Building on the company’s commitment to community outreach and agriculture education, Mission Produce, Inc., the world’s most advanced avocado network, teamed up with Halter-Encinas Enterprises, Inc., Coast Water Solutions, Brokaw Nursery, LLC, and Quality Ag, Inc. to plant an avocado orchard at Ventura College. In doing so, Mission Produce hopes to inspire an interactive learning environment, advance academic research and attract students to careers in agriculture.

“Ventura County is a close-knit and productive agriculture community,” said Mission Produce’s Vice President of Global Sourcing, Keith Barnard. “When students see and interact with the avocado learning lab, we know they’ll get excited about our industry.” Barnard joined the Ventura College Foundation board in 2018 and played a key role in spearheading this project.

Mission Produce did not spare resources on Ventura College’s new avocado orchard, as it features innovative techniques mimicking the company’s advanced farming practices. The nearly one-acre plot houses over a hundred, year-old Hass avocado trees, which were planted on berms to encourage proper drainage. The trees are fed water and fertilizer via an efficient and controlled irrigation system. The company took special care when designing and planting this orchard.

“The partnership between Ventura College, the Ventura College Foundation and Mission Produce is a perfect example of ways educational entities can collaborate with innovative companies in our community,” said City of Ventura Mayor and Ventura College Foundation board member, Matt LaVere. “This new avocado learning lab, along with the college’s commitment to agricultural education, will provide students the training and experience necessary to obtain highly-successful careers in our local agricultural sector.”

The agriculture program returned to Ventura College in the fall of 2017. Under the leadership of faculty and program director, Dr. Dorothy Farias, the program currently serves 20 ag students, but the goal is to increase class offerings and boost enrollment. Now that the project is complete, students in the Ventura College Agriculture Department will oversee and nurture the land. “This hands-on experience will give our students the freedom to learn in a practical way. We are grateful for the companies’ donations and eagerness to develop these types of programs on our campus and create a new pipeline of potential employees for the local ag industry,” said Farias.

“Ventura College is grateful to have industry partners like Mission Produce to ensure our students have the opportunity to learn in an environment that meets current industry standards,” said Ventura College’s President, Dr. Kim Hoffmans.

About Mission Produce, Inc.:

Mission Produce is the world’s most advanced avocado network. The company owns and operates state-of-the-art avocado packing facilities in multiple growing locations including California, Mexico, Peru and Colombia, and it also sources product from countries such as Chile, New Zealand and Guatemala. In addition, Mission Produce’s global distribution network includes 11 forward distribution centers in North America, China and Europe. Over the past 35 years, Mission Produce has become recognized as the leader in the worldwide avocado business