The Salinas Valley, known as the “Salad Bowl of the World,” produces over $4 billion per year in fresh produce thanks to its mild climate, fertile soil, and the hard work of its residents. Some of its better-known crops include lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, wine grapes, cauliflower, and spinach, and is also a leading producer of niche crops such as artichokes and kale.
Salinas is dominant player in Agricultural Technology (AgTech) innovation. ACE 10 participants will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with leaders in the public, private, and academic sectors fostering the development of the ecosystem and collaborating on workforce strategies for regional innovation. Inspired by innovation models pioneered in the Silicon Valley, the AgTech ecosystem is led by a consortium of local government; education and workforce training organizations; and the private sector.


The THRIVE Accelerator has worked with 42 companies from around the world, and local businesses work with the more than 50 startup companies located in the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology to help companies test and commercialize their products. Hartnell College and other educational partners have developed cooperative programs with employers to match skills training to job openings. Moreover, private businesses have started using the AgTech solutions to conserve resources, increase production yields, and improve food safety.

Visitors will be able to visit the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology, located in the newly constructed headquarters for Taylor Farms, located in downtown Salinas. They will also be able to tour the Taylor Farms processing facility in Gonzales, which not only utilizes a number of innovative technologies for the washing, packing, and shipping of the product, but which has also implemented a plant-wide “zero waste” program, and has also made use of wind, solar, and cogenerated power to reduce its environmental footprint.



The participants will also be able to tour Hartnell Community College’s Center for Advanced Technology, which provides the training necessary for students to compete for the jobs being created by this (and other) emerging industry. Explore the possibilities where technology meets your world. Learn new skills. Achieve a certificate. Earn an associate of science degree. Prepare to transfer to a four-year institution. Hartnell College’s Center for Advanced Technology provides rigorous, relevant education through expanding partnerships with local industry and our community.