The Arcata Economic Development Corporation has invited representatives from more than a dozen local organizations for an economic summit scheduled for Friday at the College of the Redwoods.
The Humboldt County Economic Development Summit will feature speakers from economic development departments, tribal representatives, cannabis industry personnel as well as panel discussions on local health care, the nursing program at Humboldt State University and aquaculture on Humboldt Bay.
“We wanted to bring in people from as many communities as possible,” said coordinator Susan Seaman, project director with Arcata Economic Development Corporation and mayor of Eureka. “We want to invite everyone we can so we can learn what others are doing. We did some panel discussions last year and the feedback we got was people wanted more discussions on key topics, so we picked things that have an economic impact locally.”
Cannabis is certainly on that list as the local industry adjusts to new local and state regulations; new ways of thinking about cannabis and its economic potential are key.
“We are also working to drawing much-needed recognition to the cannabis industry in Southern Humboldt,” wrote Jenny Early, executive director of the Garberville Chamber of Commerce, in the program that will be used by attendees on Friday. “It’s imperative that we all work together and support local farmers to ensure a bright future for our beloved community. It is no secret that Humboldt County is suffering financially and going through economic difficulties with the legalization of cannabis.”
In addition to cannabis, the ongoing development of the aquaculture industry on Humboldt Bay will be a topic of discussion. Nordic Aquafarms will take part in the summit as they aim to establish a land-based fish farm to serve the West Coast market.
Lynette Mullen, local liaison for Nordic Aquafarms, wrote the company wants to recreate its production facilities in operation in Norway, Denmark and Maine on Humboldt Bay.
“Nordic Aquafarms is developing sustainable fish farming practices for the future to deliver fresh, high-quality seafood to regional markets,” Mullen wrote.
Another key aspect of the local economy is the thriving arts community and representatives from the Humboldt Artisans Group will take part in the summit as well.
Seaman pointed out Eureka’s focus on beautifying the city through art projects is now being copied by other jurisdictions and any growth in the arts community can only help the local economy.
“Several different cities are working on arts and culture projects,” Seaman said Wednesday. “The local art economy makes as much money as the fishing industry and in Eureka, it’s an industry we don’t want to ignore.”
Health care will take center stage at the summit. Friday’s event will feature a presentation about a new Family Medicine Residency program at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Jack Allen, the program director, will speak to attendees and there will be a presentation on the ongoing work to create a nursing program that will allow student nurses in the area who have an associate degree to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
“What I would like to see at the end of the day is that people learn something about a different community and where they can collaborate,” Seaman said. “We have these small communities like Ferndale and Blue Lake and the tribes that people don’t hear much about and here, everybody can share a little bit and learn a little bit about each other.”
If you go:
What: Humboldt County Economic Development Summit
When: Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: College of the Redwoods theater
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1244243685757341
Dan Squier can be reached at 707-441-0528.