Most consumers' first encounter with their food is in a grocery store or on a plate served in a restaurant, and they give little thought to how the food got there.
As a sponsor of CropMobster TV Season 2, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources is pleased to help introduce some of the Californians who toil behind the scenes to provide consumers the delicious and nutritious food we eat.
Nicky Bobby chats with farmers, people at nonprofit organizations that work to reduce food waste and hunger, scientists, land managers who steward our natural resources and business owners.
“Everybody's into food, but all too often people don't make the connection between food and agriculture,” said Vice President Glenda Humiston. “When you talk about agriculture, people think of two jobs – farmer and farmworker. There are thousands of jobs in the agricultural ecosystem.
“UC ANR is happy to support CropMobster in telling the stories of the men and women who supply us with safe and abundant food, the challenges that they face and the efforts being made to make the food system even better.”
CropMobster TV is a nonprofit storytelling and video project by CropMobster in collaboration with Food Tank and many other individual and organizational supporters to highlight the crucial work of everyday heroes working to feed their communities.
“Sponsorship and support from UC ANR, which does agricultural research and outreach in every California county, is helping us connect with communities throughout the state,” said Papadopoulos, CropMobster CEO. “We are also grateful for Food Tank and so many other individuals and organizations who are pitching in.”
“This is such a unique, energetic and needed effort to engage our populace on food and agriculture issues,” said Danielle Nierenberg, Food Tank president. “We are thrilled to partner with CropMobster and UC ANR and hope to see the CropMobster vision grow and spread!”
CropMobster TV episodes are posted on:
“I would not be standing in front of you here today in this job if it were not for 4-H,” VP Glenda Humiston told the audience at UC Office of the President, where she was the featured speaker on Aug. 16 for the Women We Admire speaker series. Humiston, who was the first in her family to attend college, credits attending 4-H camps held on a college campus for sparking her interest in higher education.
The Women We Admire series, initiated by the President's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women in 2009, brings women to UCOP from around the UC system to share insights about their careers, workplace challenges and work-life balance.
“My work has taken some really weird angles,” Humiston said. “In fact, when I talk to young people, one of the key messages I give them is to have a big goal out there, but to be flexible about which path you take to get there because you never know where the opportunity is going to show up.”
Humiston talked about the path – from her family's cattle ranch in Colorado, through Tunisia as a Peace Corps volunteer and various USDA posts – that led her to become UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources on Aug. 3, 2015. She also talked about what UC ANR is and what it could be.
The link to the hour-long audio and slides from Humiston's talk is http://www.ucop.edu/pacsw/_files/women-we-admire/humiston.mp4.
Bring your lunch and join Glenda Humiston, vice president of Agriculture and Natural Resources, for the next talk in the Women We Admire speaker series at UC Office of the President.
Date: Wednesday, Aug. 16
Time: 12 noon to 1 p.m.
Location: Franklin Lobby 1
Remote access: Via Zoom: https://UCOP.zoom.us/j/6987568179. By phone: (408) 638-0968 (toll charges apply),*4 (from a UCOP office phone), Meeting ID: 698-756-8179
She was born in California and raised on a cattle ranch in Colorado, where she was a member of 4-H. She came to UC ANR with more than 25 years of experience working on public policy development and program implementation supporting sustainability.
Humiston has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia, as executive director of a nonprofit organization advocating farmland preservation and value-added agriculture development, and worked for several years as a consultant on environmental and agricultural issues throughout the West.
She served President Clinton as Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 1998 to 2001. She managed the Sustainable Development Institute at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa and the 2006 World Water Forum in Mexico City. In 2009, Humiston was appointed by President Obama to serve at the USDA as the California State Director, Rural Development.
She has produced a widely acclaimed guidebook “Access to Capital” and led efforts to bring rural issues to the forefront of the state's Economic Summit and policymakers throughout California.
Humiston earned her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy and Management in 2009 with research focused on U.S. Farm Bill policy. She has a master's degree in international agricultural development from UC Davis and a bachelor's degree in animal science from Colorado State University.
Humiston's talk is part of the Women We Admire series, initiated by the President's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women (PACSW) in 2009. PACSW brings women to UCOP from around the system to share insights about their careers, workplace challenges and work-life balance. All members of the UCOP community are invited to learn how to make the most of working at UC.
Find upcoming speakers in the series and archived audio of past talks on the Women We Admire website.
“As we confront the problems in California today, we must ask ourselves, how will ag and tech solve these problems together? How can Salinas Valley and Silicon Valley work more harmoniously and how will the University of California's quest for new knowledge play a role?” said UC President Janet Napolitano to farmers, engineers, entrepreneurs and others attending the Third Annual Forbes AgTech Summit.
Silicon Valley, the birth place of high tech, converged with Salinas Valley, “the nation's salad bowl,” on June 28 and 29 in Salinas to explore opportunities to apply technology to agriculture's challenges. About 700 people participated in the invitation-only event, which was co-sponsored by the University of California and UC ANR.
“The Forbes AgTech Summit brings together individuals and institutions from two integral parts of California's economic engine — agriculture and technology,” Napolitano said. ”The two have historically remained on parallel paths, each fueling the state's growth, but rarely converging. Yet, this is a unique moment here in California, and we have a unique opportunity in this nexus of agricultural bounty and technological innovation.”
Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, told Farm to Table Talk podcast, “Knowledge comes from experimentation, constant discovery, which agriculture has been doing for well over 1,000 years. That pace in agriculture is increasing today. There's no reason why, if we don't do silly things, the world, even though population will grow by 2 billion in the next three decades, the world won't have sufficient food, more abundant and healthier food than we can even imagine today. Human ingenuity will do it.”
VP Glenda Humiston joined Sallie Calhoun, owner and manager of Paicines Ranch, and Trent McKnight, rancher and founder of Agricorps, to discuss challenges and opportunities to grow entrepreneurs in agriculture with moderator Rob Trice, co-founder and partner of The Mixing Bowl. McKnight said there is technology gap between rural and urban America. Humiston noted that poor access to high-speed broadband in rural regions could slow their adoption of technology.
In a four-minute video produced by Forbes, Humiston discusses challenges and opportunities for agriculture. She describes how The VINE, or The Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship, is being launched by UCANR and led by Gabriel Youtsey, chief innovation officer, to cultivate regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems in rural communities.
Between the rising cost of minimum wage, an aging working population and immigration crackdowns, farming is facing a worker shortage. Brian Antle of Tanimura & Antle, Dan Steere, co-founder and CEO of Abundant Robotics, and Javier Zamora, owner of JSM Organics, discussed with moderator David Mancera of Kitchen Table Advisors, how technology could perform work that people don't want to do. Antle pointed out that while machines can plant and cut, they cannot replace the judgment of skilled workers.
In her address, Napolitano explained UC's interest in agricultural technology.
“We started the UC Global Food Initiative three years ago to find scalable solutions to sustainably and nutritiously feed a growing world population — one that's expected to reach 8 billion people by 2025,” Napolitano said. “At the same time, for more than a hundred years, people at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources have equipped farmers across the state with the latest scientific and technological advances in agriculture.
“They connect cutting-edge innovation with the state's farmers, who produce half of the nation's fruit and vegetables and export food to countries around the world. And they are constantly generating and testing new ideas.”
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“The general public and, in particular, large funders tend to not view agriculture as a particularly sexy topic. We've done such a great job for over 150 years of providing a safe, secure, wonderful, bountiful food supply that people take it for granted,” VP Glenda Humiston told members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, explaining the challenges of fundraising for public agricultural research.
“Agricultural research has been essential to U.S. gains in productivity over the past century,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) when he announced the hearing on The Next Farm Bill: University Research. “With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, U.S. production agriculture will continue to be asked to produce more with fewer resources, and the best way to do that will be through strategic investments in agricultural research. I look forward to hearing from university leaders about the opportunities and challenges they face in ensuring American agriculture remains a world leader in cutting-edge technology and research.”
Conaway asked why the universities' agriculture programs lack infrastructure like labs and greenhouses and have $8.4 billion in deferred maintenance.
“As we've dealt with cuts and increased costs, it's been easy to say, ‘We can put off fixing that roof or put off buying that new piece of equipment a few more years if we can keep those researchers doing their work,'” Humiston explained. “Unfortunately, I think that's been going on for decades rather than a few years and that's why it's gotten so critical."
Humiston and the other guests described how their institutions partner with private industry and other government agencies to leverage federal funding.
Highlights of Humiston's remarks
- A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding specifically dedicated to supporting research and Cooperative Extension programs at America's land-grant universities.
- The current mix of federal and state capacity funds is generally leveraged many-fold by federal competitive grants, grants from private industry, and other types of unrestricted gifts and awards to faculty conducting research at the nation's land-grant universities.
- A recent study found the return on investment for federal funding of the public land-grant system averages 21:1, corresponding to annual rates of return between 9 percent and 10 percent.
- With University of California (UC) Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) serving as a vital partner, California's $47 billion agricultural sector continues to make California the nation's top agricultural state.
- In the past fiscal year, UC ANR has served more than 1.4 million adults and youth directly, published 1,800 peer-reviewed journal articles and filed more than 20 patents.
- Although progress is being made to incrementally increase appropriations to the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, it remains funded at considerably less than the $700 million authorized in the previous two Farm Bills.
To watch a recording of the hearing, visit YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckbfCTTuZs0. Humiston appears at the 24:45 mark.
For a transcript of Humiston's full prepared remarks, visit http://ucanr.edu/files/264186.pdf.
The committee has scheduled listening sessions, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” to gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders across the country. They will be in California on Aug. 5 in Modesto.