Sustainable in San Diego: Rady Student Pierre Sleiman Hosts US Secretary of Agriculture

Sustainable in San Diego: Rady Student Pierre Sleiman Hosts US Secretary of Agriculture

Pierre Sleiman Rady, student (FW '13) and CEO of Go Green Agriculture had the honor of hosting the Secretary of Agriculture, as well as other policymakers and local farmers at his hydroponic farm. The visit marked a departure from Secretary Vilsack's usual tours of open-field farms and was the Secretary's first visit to a commercial-scale hydroponic facility. The day started with a private tour of the farm with Secretary Vilsack and the Sleiman family, led by Pierre. "It was a true honor to host the Secretary of Agriculture," said Pierre Sleiman.

During the tour, Pierre took the opportunity to discuss some of the unique challenges facing hydroponic farming from a policy perspective, while also showcasing the benefits of this eco-friendly and highly efficient growing practice. "It was very helpful to have the Secretary on site so he could see firsthand some of the regulatory challenges we encounter with hydroponic farming. It was great to have the Secretary in San Diego because we have such a diverse set of growers and were able to share some of the issues that are unique to our region."

The tour was followed by a roundtable discussion with prominent local growers and public policymakers, giving the farmers an opportunity to discuss new ideas, as well as regulatory issues that congressional members and Secretary Vilsack will be taking back to Washington, D.C. But, the high point of the day for Pierre? "The private tour with Secretary Vilsack was nearing the end, and from our conversation I could tell that Secretary Vilsack really understood how efficient our methods are and why we need new USDA legislation that addresses high-performance farming. It was invaluable to be able to have that type of first-hand encounter with the Secretary."

Earlier this year, Pierre Sleiman was named in the "50 People to Watch in 2013" by San Diego Magazine. Pierre was also recently nominated and elected to the San Diego Farm Bureau Board of Directors, an organization that interfaces between agriculturalists and federal and state government. At age 26, Pierre is the youngest member to be elected to the board.

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