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A lecture at the 2015 Eco Garden Expo in Los Rios Park. Photo: Allison Jarrell
A lecture at the 2015 Eco Garden Expo in Los Rios Park. Photo: Allison Jarrell

Alex Choperena, San Juan Capistrano

I would like to voice my support for the continuation of Eco Garden Expo in San Juan Capistrano. Having attracted over 3,000 people for two years in a row, the event can be a boon for local business for years to come. The number of major local event sponsors like Valley Crest, Fluid Masters and more would agree. You can also count the immediate neighboring businesses like Whim, Sundried Tomato, Ruby’s, We Olive, Nest, Las Catrinas and others who felt confident enough to sponsor the event’s program.

This is before taking into consideration the exposure garnered by the local business that participate as vendors each year. Many of the same business who participated the first year were back for the second and many more joined on necessitating creative space use to accommodate a growing exhibition. All of this is an indication of a growing interest and support for the movement that Eco Garden Expo represents.

Regarding that movement, I feel it’s appropriate to disclose that I also volunteer my time as the digital marketing director for Expo. I became involved by being a vendor at the show its first year. During that first year, I saw enough potential to then volunteer my time to help it grow. I, and the volunteers I work alongside, recognize this is an opportunity to help grow something- hopefully in the town that we love.

It is that forward-looking idea of potential that I want to emphasize. We are now living with the reality of a drought and an era where water will become as precious as oil or gold. The pure mission of the Expo—to educate and encourage people regarding water-wise landscaping and technology will be incredibly impactful in the years to come. To establish San Juan Capistrano as the epicenter for a movement like that will be a testament to whoever has the foresight to do so. I have lived here (minus school and a couple years after) for 17 years. It is a wonderful community that has a rich history. But we now have the opportunity to grow upward, using those strong roots to reach toward the sky.

I see people like myself, Anna Rodrigues (our communications director), and Steven Homestead (our grant writer) and I see the younger generation of under-30-year-olds excited to grow a community in our backyard. We observed the local business community, our neighbors, and our friends out in Los Rios on a sunny weekend, excited to learn and experience the fruits of our own labor. We are the future, laying the groundwork for a great new San Juan tradition, hoping that San Juan will support us in doing so.

So from a business, philosophical and personal perspective, I hope that you will recognize Eco Garden Expo’s value to the San Juan Community and I look forward to seeing you next year in Los Rios Park! (Your front-porch-pop is on me).

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