Saturday, 23 September 2023

Growing Forward: An economic development summit for the Redwood Coast

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — On Sept. 22 and 23, business leaders and economic development professionals throughout our region will be gathering for the second annual Redwood Coast Region Economic Development Virtual Summit.

This two-day virtual economic summit is designed to foster innovative thinking throughout our region of Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino counties, as well as adjacent tribal lands.

Lake County is joining this conference for the first time this year, as an important initiative to strengthen collaborative efforts between the four counties that make up the Redwood Coast Region.

As a rural community, Lake County shares many similar challenges as well as economic drivers.

This conference allows the participants a chance to share the insights and innovative solutions they have been working on in our county, and to hear from other communities for inspiration as well.

The conference will center on conversations and networking with a focus on industry opportunities, infrastructure needs, and improving quality of life for all in the midst of a changing economic, climatic and cultural landscape.

On Thursday, Sept. 22, they will hear from keynote speakers addressing relevant topics for our region, and engage in interactive breakout sessions on key regional focus areas.

They will hear from Sen. Mike McGuire; Tara Lynn Gray, director of California Office of Small Business Advocacy; Robert Eyler, professor of economics at Sonoma State University; Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California; and Ken Hamik, futurist.

Friday will provide a range of breakout sessions on exciting economic and business development opportunities for entrepreneurs and policymakers across the region, from broadband and medical care to food security, arts, culture, housing, and so much more.

Several Lake County leaders will be presenting, including:

• Creative Solutions to the Housing Crisis: Workforce and Affordable Housing Solutions from Clearlake and Fort Bragg. While the entire state is struggling with affordable housing shortages, rural communities like ours are especially hard hit. Explore how Clearlake’s Homestead Program and Housing Mendocino Coast use two different creative approaches to make workforce housing more affordable and accessible. Presented by Alan Flora, city manager of Clearlake, and Sarah McCormick, assistant city manager of Fort Bragg

• Blue Zones: Live Better, Longer. The Blue Zones’ “Power 9” reverse engineers longevity using international communities with the longest-living people thriving as models. In this session, we will share how our teams are implementing the Power 9 in Lake and Mendocino counties. Presented by Jamey Gill and Tina Tyler-O’Shea, executive directors of Blue Zones Projects Lake and Mendocino counties, respectively.

• Best-in-class regenerative, organic farming comes naturally to the Redwood Coast. Hear the story of two certified regenerative organic farms: Alexandre Family Farm in Del Norte and the Shannon Family of Wines in Lake County. Learn how and why to farm like the world depends on it and explore the three pillars of Regenerative Organic Certified farming: soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. Presented by Blake Alexandre, owner of Alexandre Family Farm, and Joy Merrilees, VP of production for Shannon Family of Wines.

Read the full line-up of presenters and more about the summit at

This conference will be primarily virtual on Sept. 22 to 23, but there will be an in-person mixer at the fabulous Lady Luck Garage from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday. A joint event with the Lake County Chamber of Commerce Mixer, this networking event will be a great chance to continue conversations from the day and meet other leaders from the community. If you’ve wanted to check out this one-of-a-kind vintage car showroom and event venue, located at 4010 Main St. in Kelseyville, now’s your perfect chance.

In addition to the virtual presentations, participants will receive a conference package, including conference swag and a detailed program overview with highlights from our community. The robust virtual platform will make it easy to participate live, watch recordings later, network with other attendees, and participate in virtual exhibits.

Learn more and register for the conference at General admission tickets are $75. Attendees will get admission to the live event, access to recordings afterward, a generous “swag bag” filled with goodies from our sponsors, entrance to the in-person Mixer at Lady Luck Garage on Thursday evening, and a printed program highlighting the economic state of our region.

The Redwood Coast Region Economic Development Summit is a collaborative effort between organizations across Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino counties, as well as adjacent tribal lands. Our sponsors include AEDC, Blue Lake Rancheria, Cal Poly Humboldt, City of Arcata, City of Eureka, City of Rio Dell, Coast Central Credit Union, College of the Redwoods, County of Humboldt, Headwaters, NorCal for Health, North Coast Small Business Development Center, North Coast Tourism, PG&E, Redwood Capital Bank, RREDC, Savings Bank and Vocality.

Upcoming Calendar

09.23.2023 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
California Coastal Cleanup Day
09.23.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Lakeport Splash-In at Clear Lake
09.23.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
09.23.2023 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Passion Play fundraiser
09.24.2023 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Acme Foundation 25th anniversary celebration
09.26.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
09.27.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Town hall on homelessness
09.28.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

Mini Calendar



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