Longtime UCCE advisor retires


UC Cooperative Extension advisor Ellie Rilla retires today after 25 years with the agency, leaving a legacy of fostering water conservation, agriculture and agritourism in Marin and Sonoma Counties, according to a press release. Ms. Rilla brought in 75 grants totaling $9 million for a gamut of projects conducted throughout her career. Most recently, she has specialized in cheese. Ms. Rilla co-authored her second book, Farmstead and Artisan Cheeses: A Guide to Building a Business in 2011 on the heels of helping develop the Artisan Cheesemaking Certificate Program at College of Marin’s Indian Valley campus the year before. A Marin County native, Ms. Rilla also had a hand seeding the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail, which is both a physical map and an iTunes app. Ms. Rilla’s efforts to promote the local food system includes starting Grown in Marin, which features an online directory of local food producers, farmers markets and food and ag events. According to Marin County rancher Sally Gale, Ms. Rilla was popular with the agricultural community for making farmers and ranchers feel she had a sincere interest in their success.