Talk to Explore Organic Growing, Coffee

Jay Ruskey with one of his coffee plants (photo by Michelle Nunes)

Jay Ruskey with one of his coffee plants (photo by Michelle Nunes)

Jay Ruskey, owner of Good Land Organics, a 42-acre farm in Goleta that specializes in exotic sub-tropical crops, examines organic growing practices and groundbreaking work growing coffee in California on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 3:30 p.m. at Founders Room in the Westmont Kerr Student Center. The Sustainability Speaker Series lecture, “Organic Growing Practices and California Coffee,” is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (805) 565-6082.

In addition to growing cherimoyas, dragon fruit, passion fruit and caviar limes, Good Land Organics uses unique cultivation techniques to become the first successful commercial coffee farm in the continental United States.

“Mr. Ruskey is a pioneer in the world of sustainable agriculture, and I’m excited for the Westmont community to have the opportunity to learn from such a leader in his field,” says Michelle Aronson, Westmont’s sustainability and marketing coordinator. “I believe that his dedication to experimentation and environmental stewardship will be an inspiration to everyone in the room.”

Ruskey, who earned a Bachelor of Science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, has focused his career developing and adapting new specialty crops for California, including Australian finger limes, lychee, longans, gojis, and black truffles.
He has collaborated with several agricultural business boards, including California State University Agricultural Resource Initiative, California Rare Fruit Growers, Santa Barbara Farmers Market Association, the California University Extension Service, and California Cherimoya Association.

In 2010, Ruskey received the Innovative Small Farmer of the Year award from the University of California.