Position Title
Sustainable Food Systems Advisor

UC Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County


Rachel Surls is the Sustainable Food Systems Advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County. Cooperative Extension is part of the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As part of her role with UC ANR, she is leading a team to study the emerging urban agriculture movement in California, assessing the needs of this audience, creating educational resources, and developing best practice recommendations for urban agriculture policy at the municipal level. She is currently a member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, and through the Council has been actively engaged in working with the City of Los Angeles to formulate urban agriculture policy. Rachel is a long-time UC ANR staff member and has served in several capacities. She was County Director for Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles from 1997-2011, and Urban Horticulture Advisor in Los Angeles County from 1994-1997. She has been active in supporting school and community gardening in the Los Angeles area since joining Cooperative Extension as a Program Representative with Cooperative Extension’s Urban Garden Program in 1988. She earned her BS in agronomy at Virginia Tech, her MS in Agricultural Sciences at Cal Poly, Pomona, and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont Graduate University. Rachel is a former Peace Corps Volunteer and parent of two young adults.