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Encinitas Agriculture Firm Founder Honored By White House

The founder and CEO of an Encinitas-based firm that grows produce inside climate-controlled greenhouses without soil was among 15 people honored Tuesday by the White House and the Department of Agriculture in Washington.

Pierre Sleiman was among the "Champions of Change" honored for doing extraordinary things to assist the next generation of farmers and ranchers, according to the White House.

Sleiman is a member of the board of directors of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, has a bachelor's degree in computer science and business from UC Riverside and a master's degree in business from UC San Diego.

The Champions of Change program was created by the Obama administration as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.

The honor came as the Obama administration introduced a series of initiatives designed to help mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Among other things, the climate.data.gov website was expanded to include new pages and features that make information about the risks of climate change to food production, supply, nutrition, and security more accessible to innovators, entrepreneurs and researchers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will also host workshops Wednesday and Friday on how open data can assist agriculture.

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