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August 2015 

Quick Links


CCGGA Website  




17 - Budget Meeting 

25 - AG Harvest Festival



15 - Steering Meeting



19 - Steering Meeting



3 - Annual Member Meeting at Cypress Ridge



Layci Gragnani,  

Greenheart Farms


Sandra Fischbein, CalCoastPalms, LLC.

Jane Riffle, Ball Tagawa




Julie Hoyt, Crop

Production Services


Dave Pruitt, iHort 

Ben Trogdon, Pacific Sun Growers

Butch Yamashita, Corey Nursery

Eric Djafroodi, Clearwater Nursery

Bulletin Board

Post job openings, events, equipment for sale or for trade.

Landscapers Wanted!
Recommend your favorite landscaper to receive an invitation to our Open House!  Each invited landscaper will be asked to create the most eye appealing and water-saving landscape display that they have to offer.  Each design will be viewed by 2000+ local gardening attendees and prospective clients.
Contact Amy Spence at
Do  you know someone who would benefit from becoming a member of CCGGA? 

We're always looking to expand our membership, so please spread the word about our organization!
Annual Meeting 
Cypress Ridge Golf Course
December 3rd 11:30-1:30pm 
Open House *
April 16, 2016
*The Education Center will be located at Nipomo High School.
2015 Scholarship Recipient Highlight:
Claudia Lavina
M y name is Claudia Lavina and I have lived in the Salinas Valley since I was 2 years old. Living in such an agriculturally rich area I cannot wait to work in this industry. However, I need financial assistance to successfully continue my education in order to get the Nutrition degree I seek. My family, though blessed, is unable to meet the complete financial obligation a college education requires. Helping others is something I want to do in my career but for now I enjoy volunteering at school functions (sports camps, car washes, food drives, assisting teachers), serving at my church, and other community related charities such as Habitat for Humanity and Tatum's Garden.

When I'm not helping in my community I love to be involved in sports such as Volleyball and Track and Field, academic clubs at school and practicing a healthy lifestyle with whole foods and exercise. To further my healthy lifestyle and my interest in nutrition, I have been employed at a health food juice and smoothie bar for the past 9 months. In sports, school and the workplace I have taken leadership roles such as team captain, academic club officer and food prepper. As previously mentioned, I am interested in nutrition which is the major I have chosen to study at my school of choice, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, in the hopes of eventually becoming a nutritionist in the agricultural industry. I want to see everyone choosing healthier food options for healthier lives. Thank you.

ihort and Arroyo Grande In Bloom (AGIB)                        team up to conserve water

Dave Pruitt from ihort has been working with AGIB to improve the water holding capacity for the city planters and baskets. Using our media designed for propagation, green walls and green roofs as a ground up component to potting soil. I had the floral team at AGIB add it is their potting soil at a rate of 1/3 to their existing 1/3 compost and 1/3 potting soil. The mix was then used in their street planters and baskets throughout the Arroyo Grande Village. To date the results  have been great with t h e watering re duced by 33% while the quality of the plants has remained excellent. 

ihort has also worked with commercial landscape companies to reduce their water usage, their greater benefit had been huge labor savings.  They are working with a Bay Area company that maintains city baskets and planters in San Francisco and surrounding communities. They are watering mostly by hand a minimum of 3 times a week. Our planting media amendment has been able to reduce 
their watering to twice a week saving 1/3 of their watering labor and the added benefit of reducing water usage by the same amount.  In this case the company mixed our media 50/50 with their standard planting soil with excellent results.
We at ihort are finding ways to use the propagation media we call QPlug and our Grow Tiles for more innovative ideas every d ay.  You can see some of our Grow Tiles in the Village mounted on the red brick wall by the entrance to the parking area in the middle of the Arroyo Grande Village. We put this up as part of the America In Bloom competition.  I wanted to have something different in the Village that would attract attention from the judges and the community plus support the AGIB committee.

As the Green Wall movement expands so does the use of our Grow Tiles. They are found in many systems around the country and because they hold 5 times their weight in water while still retaining oxygen in the media they have become a solid alternative for using soil in green systems. A new wall is going in San Diego righ t now using the same techniques as is used in the Arroyo Grande Village planters.  Green walls bring beauty and art to otherwise blank spaces as you see above.
Faces of the CCGGA Board of Directors
Ben Trogdon grew up in "rural" Yorba Linda, California and spent many weekends motorcycle riding in the Mojave Desert with friends and family.  After a few years of community college and working as a veterinary technician, he transferred to UC Davis and received his bachelor's degree in Zoology.  The veterinary school admittance staff decided to reject his application along with those from another 1,250 applicants.  Chances of being accepted were about one out of fourteen back then.  
Rather than applying to veterinary school again, he decided to work in horticulture for a year to see how he liked it.  With his fresh BS degree in hand, he took a job at a large wholesale greenhouse making $2.35 per hour. Ben really enjoyed greenhouse growing and quickly acquired more experience and responsibilities.
In 1979, Ben and his family moved to Nipomo and started Pacific Sun Growers.  Several years later, his wife Robin became interested in veterinary medicine while she was teaching chemistry at Cal Poly.  She eventually applied to UC Davis Veterinary School and was accepted.  They spent four years driving the five-hour commute to visit each other on weekends.
Together they've been involved in starting three veterinary clinics and currently own Nipomo Dog & Cat Hospital.  Ben spends the majority of his time managing the clinic, doing maintenance tasks, and filling in as a technician when we are short handed.
They spend as much free time as possible kayaking and hiking at their "casita" in Los Barriles, Baja California.  Ben tries to spend one day per week throwing ceramic forms on the potter's wheel.  Besides making bowls and plates, he enjoys making pottery that complements his extensive succulent collection.  You can see some of his work at
Butch Yamashita graduated from the University of Hawaii in the College of Tropical Agriculture and has worked in the industry for slightly over 40 years. Corey Nursery in Nipomo needed a Grower/Manager to provide direction & organization for their production facility here on the Central Coast.  His goal at Corey was to efficiently produce quality foliage for their sales team marketing in Southern California, Arizona, & Nevada. His production experience as a "Pot Mum/Poinsettia Grower" was down in Southern California marketing to Super Market Chains. Butch prides himself in producing high quality "finished" plants to satisfied retail consumers perpetuating repeat sales. Born and raised in Hawaii he is still an avid surfer. You can usually find Butch surfing wherever there's energy in the water, ideally at a reef or point break! After spending his mornings surfing he is usually "recharging his system" for the following day, thus napping!
Upcoming Election

We are now accepting nominations for the Central Coast Greenhouse Growers Association Board of Directors. There are four vacancies for the 2016-2018 term. Please submit your nominations before November.
Ballots will be mailed the first week of November and the new Board of Directors will be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting.  

Benefits of Serving:
  1. Channel creative energy in contributing for a cause that is meaningful to you.
  2. Better understand issues in the industry and county that are integral to business and the economy.
  3. Learn through personal experience about board governance.
  4. Develop valuable networks and relationships with fellow board members by working together on enhancing the community.
  5. Gain experience as a leader.
The  Central  Coast  Greenhouse Growers Association (CCGGA) was founded to provide a cohesive organization that acts as a good neighbor within the local and regional community, providing information and education to neighbors; other community groups or businesses; and county, state, or federal agencies.
The CCGGA acts on behalf of its members in resolving issues that may arise with neighboring communities, as we work to coexist and enjoy the numerous benefits the Central Coast provides for both living and growing high-quality plants.