Rachel Surls is the County Director and Sustainable Food Systems Advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County. Cooperative Extension is part of the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As Cooperative Extension County Director, she oversees a 35-person office that offers research-based educational programs to Los Angeles County residents on a wide variety of topics, including youth development (4-H), agriculture, urban gardening, natural resources and nutrition education. She recently added the Sustainable Food Systems component to her job, and plans to expand her efforts working on community food production and urban agriculture. Prior to her director role, Rachel was the Urban Horticulture Advisor Cooperative Extension and was very involved in promoting school and community gardening in urban Los Angeles. She earned her BS in agronomy at Virginia Tech, her MS in Agricultural Sciences at Cal Poly, Pomona, and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont Graduate University. Rachel is a former Peace Corps Volunteer and parent of two teenage boys.
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