BRAWLEY — Imperial Valley agriculture impacts people throughout the United States and the world reaching 94 different countries, according to the 2018 Imperial County Crop Report. Imperial County is enveloped by ag. Residents see acres and acres of fields growing produce and cover crops that will hit local market shelves here and around the country, directly and through the meats they buy. Schools offer programs directed at agricultural innovation and education. Ag programs can be found throughout the Imperial Valley.
But Jodi Rollins felt something was missing from the local ag community — a connection.
Rollins came to the Imperial Valley in 2011, where she not only fell in love with a man in the harvesting business but fell in love with an agriculturally focused community. She learned about different crops, equipment, growing seasons, and so much more, saying her agricultural education came from “take your wife to work day.”
Surprised by her wealth of knowledge, Rollins looked for an outlet. A way in which she could share her passions with others and bring people from all different areas of agriculture and the rest of the community together.
“I wanted to do something creative. I wanted us all to be connected, I wanted all of us to be proud, and I wanted the opportunity to educate the community and connect them to ag,” said Rollins.
She started her own business, Rollins Creative, where she worked with community members and local businesses to bring the Imperial Valley Ag Expo to the community.
Every year Rollins Creative hosts a dinner, where one grant and one scholarship are awarded. She also launched the ever-growing Ag Expo. The grant is awarded to a program that is related to any agricultural field. The scholarship, which is matched by the Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, must be a student in any ag related field.
Rollins noted the importance of giving back to the community and providing aid for those wishing to further their education in agriculture.
The Third Annual Ag Expo was set for April 2 but has been postponed until further notice due to COVID-19. However, Rollins relayed her excitement to get the Ag Expo back on people’s calendars as soon as possible.
This year’s Ag Expo will feature vendors, a farmer’s market and general store, workshops and trainings, and tours. Workshops and trainings included ag compliance and social media for ag. The tours, also intended to educate the community, included visits to the Imperial Olive Mill, Imperial Valley Food Bank, and local farms.
“This event is strategically focused on business and education,” said Rollins.
Rollins explained how easy it was for her to fall in love with the Imperial County community. She expressed her desire to connect people. She wanted to connect different areas of the ag community, but she also wanted to connect other community members to the ag community.
“Some people in this community are surrounded by ag and they don’t even realize it. There is so much opportunity here, especially in ag,” said Rollins.