Local foundation meets with Yucaipa Valley Water District to discuss possible usage of land

The crowd mingles after the presentation by The Green Valley Foundation.

Gayle Crosby, president and founder of the Green Valley Foundation, presented the group’s vision of agitourism at the Yucaipa Valley Water District’s meeting at the Webster Ranch property on Sept. 4. The group’s vision includes rolling vineyards, agritourism and agribusiness in Redlands, Yucaipa and Oak Glen.

Crosby and the foundation board met with three YVWD members, along with General Manager Joe Zoba and several neighboring residents, to discuss using the water district owned land (Webster Ranch on Oak Glen Road) for vineyards.

The idea of vineyards in the community is not new. The city of Yucaipa and the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance have a stake in the local wine business. Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance growers have produced thousands of cases of handcrafted artisan wines and are awaiting an AVA designation.

The basic concept of Green Valley Foundation is to obtain land from property owners to plant not-for-profit vineyards.

According to Crosby, the Green Valley Foundation has secured two private land sites in Oak Glen and Yucaipa. The third would be the Webster Ranch, owned by YVWD, providing the board approves the use of the site. However, even if the YVWD board denies the use of the land, Crosby said, “We have the acreage we need to move forward.”

The next step for the foundation, according to Crosby, “is the commitment of individuals, groups, and business to donate Green Valley Vineyard Rootstalk Certificates through our Not-For-Profit Arm, Friends of The Green Valley.”

According to Crosby, each rootstalk certificate gifted to the project enables the communities of Redlands, Yucaipa, and Oak Glen to receive the net profits of the vineyards beginning in year four and every year after that. The profits would be reinvested into the community.

Crosby said, “Redlands, with its oranges, and Oak Glen, with its apples, bring in seasonal tourism only. For Green Valley to flourish economically, it requires year-round tourism. When a series of vineyards and wineries are ‘threaded’ as it were through Redlands, Yucaipa, and Oak Glen, it welcomes locals and tourists all year round.”

Nick Karavidas, Green Valley Foundation board member and viticulturalist/enologist said, “I grew up in Southern California and got my start in the Cucamonga Valley before moving to Northern California 19 years ago.”

“The coolness of the Oak Glen alluvial soils where we stood last week (at Webster Ranch) are areas that I would suggest are key targets for world-class wine production.”

The Green Valley Foundation is hosting a community launch in November where these rootstalk certificates can be donated.

For more information, go to www.tgvf.org.

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