Growing Coachella valley
is an association of farmers and community professionals working to promote and support Coachella Valley farming and agricultural businesses. The organization focuses on issues surrounding the availability of water and other resources that contribute to the standard of living and economic development of our region.
Meet the Board
Growing Coachella Valley President
George J. Tudor
George J. Tudor, Tudor Ranch, Inc. President, is a 3rd generation farmer in the Coachella Valley. George has worked on the family farm for 25 years. He started from the ground up and now oversees the farming operation making sure the highest quality product, grown in the most safe and efficient manner get harvested from his fields. George monitors the plants and conditions daily in order to use as little of our precious resources as possible.
George believes the Coachella Valley’s year-round sunshine, manageable soils, and available water allows our region to be among the most unique growing regions in the United States. The wide array of crops that can be grown here combined with the ability to be the first to harvest makes farming in the Coachella Valley truly special.
Growing Coachella Valley Vice President
Anthony Bianco, a third-generation farmer, was born and raised in the Coachella Valley. He is the Vice President and Co-Owner of Anthony Vineyards in Coachella and Bakersfield, CA. The family produce business began in 1918 when Anthony’s grandfather migrated to the United States from Italy to pursue the American Dream. Anthony Vineyards was started in 1970 and grows, packs and ships organic and conventional grapes, dates, lemons, oranges, and mangoes.
Anthony has a passion for farming and working with their many employees. Some have been with Anthony Vineyards for 40-50 years. He has two teenage children and is hopeful that they will be working with him soon, starting the 4th generation. Anthony sits on many boards and organizations and is actively involved with the community and various charities.
Dennis J. Jensen is the President of Sea View Packing, Inc. Sea View is a family citrus and date operation that started in 1983 with the purchase of a specialty citrus ranch near the Salton Sea that dates back to 1949. Dennis became actively involved in 1994; doubled the original farm acreage and included packing, cooling, and sales of dates and citrus.
Dennis enjoys working with the employees, customers, and vendors. He is excited about the daily challenges and constant changes in the farming environment and enjoys developing new ideas for the industry. He looks forward to his continuous stewardship of the land while bringing healthy food to families throughout the world.
Growing Coachella Valley Executive Director
Janell Percy is the Executive Director for Growing Coachella Valley. Janell has been involved in the agriculture industry from an early age. Her past experience includes food safety, pesticide enforcement, pesticide safety, and pesticide residue monitoring. She is a licensed Pest Control Advisor and specialized in vegetable and fruit pest control.
Janell is passionate about educating consumers where their food comes from so they have a better understanding and appreciate the hard work farmers and farmworkers do to provide food for everyone. She is especially passionate about educating the youth about agriculture as they are the future food producers. Agricultural knowledge is the key to keeping food grown domestically and is important for our national security.
Director of Field Operations
Garrett is the Director of Field Operations for Prime Time International. He has been involved in the agriculture industry for 16 years. He enjoys farming in the Coachella as the valley offers a unique growing experience unmatched by anywhere else. The fertile low lands and fresh snow melt water from the Colorado River are set as the backdrop to the earliest crops grown in California.
Safe, fresh, wholesome and nutritious food products are proudly grown and shipped to families across the United States almost every day from the Coachella Valley. Garrett is proud to farm in a valley that has brought food to dinner tables and gatherings for over 100 years.
Pest Control Advisor and Certified Crop Advisor
Rob Foster, is a Pest Control Advisor and Certified Crop Advisor for Foster-Gardner, Inc. Rob has been consulting with local growers on pest issues and fertility in crops such as bell peppers, table grapes, citrus, and turf grass for 28 years. He is a third-generation consultant for Foster-Gardner, Inc. which was started by his grandfather, Frank Foster and his business partner, Bill Gardner, in 1958.
Rob loves his job and enjoys being outdoors and walking fields. He credits his inspiration to his dad Ed Foster. Foster-Gardner is a pillar in the community supporting youth athletic teams and the Boys and Girls Club of the Coachella Valley just to name a few.
Owner of Olson Engineering Systems
Benjamin R. Olson, Jr., P.E. is the owner of Olson Engineering Systems in Indio, CA. Ben has over 46 years of experience in the design and construction of numerous engineering projects in the United States, Mexico, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Russia. His special expertise is in water resources projects including irrigation, water conservation, pipeline design, pumping station analysis and land development.
Ben works closely with the Coachella Valley farmers and believes agriculture is an economic engine for the residents and employees in the valley. His business, and many other peripheral businesses, are inter-dependent upon agriculture. He encourages everyone to “check the label” at your supermarket in order to Buy Coachella Valley grown fruits and vegetables to support our local farmers and their employees.
Vice President of Desert Fresh, Inc.
Blaine is a third-generation grape grower. He was born and raised in the Coachella Valley and started working in the grape business while in high school. His grandfather started farming in the Coachella Valley in the 1930’s, but it was his father, Harry, who taught him growing techniques, historical and industry insights.
He has been involved in every aspect of the grape business; growing, harvest, packing, sales, juicing, raisins, and even baby food. He is true leader, sitting on many industry boards and was the founding President of Growing Coachella Valley for four years. Blaine is adamant that California grown produce is the finest in the world and produce imported from other areas should be grown under the same standards. In his free time, Blaine enjoys golfing and hiking.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Lee is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who serves as President of both the CPA firm, Osborne Rincon, and the construction company, Meredith & Simpson – both have long been connected to the agriculture industry. Growing up surrounded by agriculture in El Centro, California, Lee’s first job was driving a tractor at age 12 – which was the beginning of his 50 years immersed in California’s agricultural landscape.
Both his companies focus extensively on agriculture, so he understands the dynamics at play – from accelerating depreciation for single-use structures and tax planning advantages related to new crops to maximizing and realizing land values. Lee has joined the board of Growing Coachella Valley because of his commitment to the California agricultural industry. He is proud to represent the Coachella Valley’s expansive farming community, where a wide variety of crops are grown in this region more than any other area of this size in our state.
Vice President of Desert Valley Date
Greg Kirkjan is the Vice President of Desert Valley Date. He has been involved in the date business for 19 years. His daily activities include supervising the date packing line to assure a quality product is delivered to his customers.
Greg enjoys seeing his employees take pride in their work and knowing that the dates grown in the Coachella Valley are delivered all over the world. He believes it is important that the USA feed itself and to not become dependent on importing food from other countries.