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April 15, 2023 @ 1:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.

Join friends of Lotusland at a former lemon packing house in Santa Paula for an afternoon of education and connections!

LOCATION: Historic Lemon Packing Plant in Santa Paula

With this speaker series, co-creators Eric Nagelmann, acclaimed landscape designer, and host Xavier Maignan are inviting industry professionals to explore pressing environmental issues, and raise awareness of the risks, and opportunities, facing our communities. At Lotusland, we continuously aspire to be facilitators for environmental stewardship. Since 1997, we have proven ourselves to be a powerful leader in sustainable horticulture and the conservation of our area. The success of Lotusland and our friends in related fields can now serve as a resource to the community and point of departure for broader discussions aimed at providing insight and solutions to promote ecological balance, and the development of a cleaner, greener world.

Moderator – Stacy Pulice

Stacy Pulice, Farmer, Environmental Activist, and Educator

A longtime educator, psychologist, and environmental community activist, Stacy’s research demonstrates that student and teacher wellbeing is cultivated by loving concern and care, cultivating interpersonal connections, assuring a sense of belonging in community, and encouraging choice that supports one’s passion. She has adopted this framework to establish regenerative practices on her family’s avocado farm in Santa Barbara County and created the opportunity to develop a sustainable legacy for future generations.

Using Taoist values, she is applying a humanistic and balanced approach for greater harmony with life and land. These days, you will find Stacy planting cover crops, grazing sheep, and diversifying both plant, animal, and human activity on the farm. Her vision is to create an outdoor learning environment that is accessible for students, teachers, and farmers where the land and people learn from each other.

Keynote Speaker – Elisa Read

Elisa Read, Landscape Designer, Horticulture and Fire Ecology Specialist, studio pappaterra

Elisa Read (she/her/ella) is an award‐winning landscape designer and horticultural specialist with a focus on sustainable, fire‐wise landscapes in Southern California. Professionally trained as an architect with a masters in Metropolitan Research + Design (SCI_Arc) she integrates a holistic approach to design, focusing on all components of a site from natural to cultural (“from soil to soul”). Elisa previously worked as the Horticultural Specialist at RIOS, where she developed landscape design and research projects for Descanso Gardens, LAX Northside Master Plan, and residential estates. She is well known in the nursery and horticulture industries for her insatiable thirst for plant knowledge, appreciation of rare plants, and her passion for environmentally sensitive design.

Since 2020, she has been involved in fire‐wise research and design implementation with the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. A result of that collaboration is defensiblespace.org, a research project that aims to share best practices for sustainable, fire‐wise landscaping in Southern California. Elisa is the founder and principal of studio pappaterra, a firm with a vision to explore symbiotic connections within the wild‐urban interface.

Keynote Speaker – Garland Reiter Jr.

Garland Reiter Jr., Founder & Executive Chairman, Reiter Affiliated Companies

Garland grew up in the small town of Los Altos, California and was the youngest of four children to Glovina and Joe Reiter. His grandfather, Joseph “Ed” Reiter and first cousin, R.O. Driscoll, began farming in 1904, growing Sweet Briar strawberries off the central coast of California. Upon graduation from the University of Santa Clara in 1976, he joined the family business full time in Watsonville and in early 1977 moved to Oxnard to start Reiter Brothers, Inc., to expand their farming opportunities in Southern California.

Garland became President of Reiter Brothers, Inc. Over the course of the next 23 years, he and his brother worked hard to establish themselves as one of the preeminent strawberry and raspberry growers in California. In 2000, Garland took full leadership of Reiter Affiliated Companies as their President and CEO with duties to direct global production operations and partnerships with Driscoll’s. In the meantime, Miles left Reiter Berry Farms to pursue his career at Driscoll’s as their company President.

The brothers have increased the Reiter Affiliated Companies (RAC) and Driscolls’ investment in farming, pioneering new plant species, developing new geographies that include production and markets in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and China, encouraging a progressive company culture that not only seeks to further the growth of the business, but also improves and enriches the lives of its employees. ‘Honesty, Fairness and Respect’ are displayed proudly on the walls of every office from the field to the foyers of RAC’s entire organization. As part of aligning with this philosophy, Garland has focused a significant amount of his energy and investment in developing Reiter Affiliated Companies’ Philanthropy Program. Complimenting this effort, RAC was the first agricultural firm in the nation to provide private, primary and preventative, health clinics for their farm workers. With this program, Garland set a new standard for the agricultural industry by placing a high priority on employee health and following through on that commitment with practical healthcare services and education for his employees.

In January of 2017, Garland stepped out of his day-to-day role as CEO and presides as Executive Chairman of Reiter Affiliated Companies, being proud of the work he and his family have accomplished over the years and is hopeful that his family’s legacy of farming will continue long into the future.

Panelist Participants – Khanna, Sammons, & Mitchel

Vishaal Khanna, Botanical Specialist

Vishaal is a botanical specialist and horticulturist with a diverse background in Landscape Design, project development and management, Landscape Estate Management, and specimen plant/ tree sourcing and curation. He is deeply passionate about Mediterranean plants and gardens, California Native Plants, micro and large scale irrigation management and the ecology of our environment and design. Vishaal studied Botany at U of F, and Soil Science and Natural Resource Management at Pierce College. When not working in his specimen Aloe garden or tending his fruit trees, he is at the beach with his wife and two children.

Kel Mitchel, Vice President, Renewable Resources Group LLC

Kel is a project manager at Renewable Resources Group (RRG), a global agricultural investment firm based in Los Angeles that acquires, develops, and manages assets in the sustainable water, agricultural, and energy sectors. Kel’s work spreads across a wide variety of property-management-related duties. Namely, he is tasked with pursuing water management strategies that create sustainable farming operations in an ever-changing hydrologic environment in the San Joaquin Valley.

Kel graduated from Colby College with degrees in geology and mathematical sciences. He took his geology skills into the engineering consulting world, where he honed his skills as a hydrogeologist. Initially, Kel had no intention of working outside of the consulting world, but was quickly inspired when a friend opened his eyes to the opportunities for hydrologists in the agricultural sector. Kel jumped at the chance to pivot his career, received an M.S. in civil engineering focused in water resources management from Stanford University, and moved to Bakersfield to pursue his new path with RRG. After three years in Bakersfield, Kel, and his wife, Katie, will be moving to Templeton in May.

Thetis Sammons, Agricultural Consultant for Sustainability

Thetis is a lifelong advocate for sustainable and natural farming and gardens. While growing up in the San Joaquin valley among California’s largest orchards and farms, she spent a year in 1975 learning organic farming following the Rhodale methods, and French intensive gardening on her uncle’s farm in Ukiah, California. There she adopted the philosophy of growing plants, feed animals, and forages using natural products, and methods to work in harmony with nature, utilizing the precautionary principle to protect human health and safeguard our environment.

Thetis combined her love of building beautiful landscapes and gardens with data/technology and has worked in the agricultural industry with leading companies. Her work has provided Natural Trace Minerals, microbials, and bio stimulant products to growers and students of all levels in both conventional and organic farming, community gardens, and landscapes with global reach.

Host – Eric Nagelmann

Eric Nagelmann, International Landscape Designer

Eric had the privledge of designing gardens mostly in southern Calilfornia but also internationally from Hong Kong to Italy and places in between. He has worked at Lotusland for the last 20 or so years.

Eric was first introduced to Lotusland by a friend in the 1970s. He recalls a meeting with Madame Walska, who greeted him warmly and invited him to enjoy the property, long before it became open to the public. That visit left an impression that led to Eric’s deep involvement as a long-time donor and designer at Lotusland. He has gifted his talents on three significant gardens. First was the creation of the Dunlap cactus garden in 2003, which he fondly refers to as “Salvador Dali goes to the desert.”

In 2015, Eric created the Palmetum, by reimagining the central garden and walkway between the water garden and the front of the historic Reginald Johnson-designed home and opening up an important 514′-long architectural axis reaching south to the wishing well. Most recently, Eric renovated our insectary garden, now a humming haven for beneficial insects and a valuable teaching tool for our Sustainable Horticulture Program. While the cactus garden is arguably Eric’s biggest achievement at Lotusland, the insectary represents Eric’s deep connection to the garden. It is a garden that, like Eric, warmly draws you in, creates a buzz of positive activity and has a far-reaching benefit for the entire property and our community. He has plans to extend and recreate the tropical garden as well.

A year ago, Eric moved to Taos, NM, to recreate his life, building a house on 8 acres with ringside views, on the very edge of the Gorge… and of course he is very excited about his new gardens he is creating! While retired, Eric is also pursuing other interests such as learning to read music and play piano, continuing yoga practice, skiing and hiking, and a new current project of working with youth in a social venue.

Ganna Walska Lotusland
Collector Car Vault

Access to the Symposium, Parking, & Complimentary Refreshments