From the UC Blogosphere...
Mother Jones website posted a detailed info-graphic to compare the water footprint of milk, other dairy products and dairy alternatives, like soy milk and almond milk.
Reporters Julia Lurie and Alex Park gleaned data for the story from, among other sources, a post in the UC Alfalfa & Forage News Blog titled Alfalfa benefits wildlife and the environment, in addition to its economic value, written in May 2013 by Rachael Freeman Long, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Yolo County, and Daniel Putnam, UCCE specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis.
The Mother Jones article noted that alfalfa hay is a superfood of sorts for dairy cows — it's high in protein, high in energy and it's digestible.
"When you feed alfalfa, you produce more milk," Putnam and Long wrote in the blog post. "That's the bottom line. The next time you have pizza (with cheese), milk on your cereal, or ice cream, thank alfalfa."
The Mother Jones' info-graphic says it takes 683 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk.
The painted ladies are on move.
Scores of painted ladies (Vanessa cardui) are now migrating north from their overwintering sites near the U.S. Mexico border.
"Fascinatingly, they arrived in Prescott, Ariz., the same day (as the ones spotted in Benicia)," said butterfly expert Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis. "I think they're all from south of the border." The annual migration north varies, but can take place as early as late January and as late as mid-April.
The painted ladies spend the winter in the desert, where in the late winter, they breed on desert annual plants, Shapiro says. The adults emerge in February or March and immediately migrate into the Central Valley and foothills, where they breed. Around May, here in the Central Valley, you'll see the caterpillar offspring munching on borage, thistles, fiddleneck and mallows. Then the adults head toward the Pacific Northwest.
"The painted lady moves northward in a generational wave as the season progresses," Shapiro says on his website. "Frequently it disappears altogether from the lowlands in summer. Beginning in August the movement reverses and butterflies head south toward the desert wintering grounds."
"There is no evidence that this species overwinters successfully anywhere in our area, except for very rare individuals maturing in midwinter from really late autumnal larvae."
The painted lady migration may not be as popular as the monarch (Danaus plexippus) migration, but it's fascinating just the same.
Shapiro, who has monitored the butterfly population of California's Central Valley for 42 years, will be speaking at noon on Monday, March 24 on "Ecological Communities and the March of Time" in the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., San Francisco. For program detail and registration, please see the club website. His talk is open to the public. For a discount, access the website and use the coupon code, "friendsforshapiro," said spokesperson Chisako Ress (email@example.com).
A female butterfly, a painted lady, nectaring on Spanish lavender on March 8 in the Benicia Community Garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Painted lady twists around for a better shot at the nectar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
By Andrea Peck
I broke my broom today. Don't worry, it was getting old and rotted on the inside. It lasted past its prime considering I had gotten it at the Dollar Store many moons ago. I was sweeping when it broke and I was sweeping so hard that it snapped. After the rain last week, my outdoor areas are pretty mucked up with fallen leaves and grainy roof dregs. It would have been so easy to hose the area.
Unfortunately I cannot.
Not because I've been given orders by the Order Givers or that my water is shut off for non-payment. No, we do not have a broken pipe.
The truth is that I figured it out. With Google it's easy.
I know, I know, we all do it. We turn on the tap, the water flows and we think nothing about it. Here and there an inkling of a thought may scuttle across the highway of your cranium and you may wonder what lies beyond your kitchen sink. So often, though, that pesky thought is shooed into those dark cobwebby areas. How could these intrusive ideas not be eclipsed when there are more immediate deliberations, such as long, hot showers or tumbles of laundry vying for our attention? Oh, for clean pristine patios and driveways! Oh, for a shiny car!
But Those Who Know Better do not view these thoughts as brain fleas. Drought in California is a current issue, one in which we can all concede has had its effect. We look for green San Luis Obispo hills and the hills, my friend, are not Alive with the Sound of Music. Increased population and modern ways have depleted the groundwater into an abysmal state. Many experts fear the worst – we may never truly recover.
It's embarrassing to admit, but I guess I just really did not know what this meant for me. I know that the drought is bad and getting worse, but where do I fit into this Monopoly Board? How am I contributing to our water woes and how can I help?
Well, let me tell you what I found out.
After researching, I learned what we all should know. I learned where my water comes from. As a resident of Los Osos, all of my water comes from groundwater. There is no hidden benefactor, no huge pipeline that carries my water. My water, every drop, comes from the ground beneath my feet.
Golden State Water has a tidy, old school office located near the grocery store. I went to that office, wanting to know this: when I water my yard, does this water feed into the groundwater and eventually end up in a well? Unequivocally, the answer is yes.
But, I see clearly now that I am also using and wasting this precious water. According to Golden State Water, approximately 5 feet of groundwater is lost per year. This has been happening for “many, many years.” To boot, water quality diminishes as the supply declines.
I challenge all of you out there to find out where your water comes from. Visit your water district and find out how you, as an individual, fit into the jigsaw puzzle. Maybe then, we can all put the pieces together and come up with a sustainable solution.
Oh, yeah, and get a broom.
….to be continued…
The Visalia Times-Delta reported that UC Cooperative Extension was one of the organizations represented at a meeting about the potential merger last Friday, which also included Kaweah Delta Healthcare District, Pixley-based Be Healthy Tulare and United Way of Tulare County.
“I guess one of my fears is there is an inherent distrust of Fresno,” the story quoted Cathi Lamp, nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for UCCE in Tulare County and a former FoodLink board member. Lamp said she is concerned the merged food bank would be based in Fresno County, and Tulare County's needs might be ignored.
Julie Cates, UCCE nutrition program coordinator, told me FoodLink of Tulare County has long focused on distributing quality, nutrient dense products and partnering with agencies, such as UCCE, to provide nutrition education.
"We were able to have our teachers at the school receiving the 'farmers market' write testimonial emails and one teacher submitted letters from the fourth-grade students," Cates said. "I am very pleased with this outcome, as it illustrates how the food distributions are migrating from the inner to outer circles of the social ecological model in which we are striving to serve, reflecting universal behavior change."
View a one-minute video about one of the collaborative projects conducted by FoodLink of Tulare County and UCCE Tulare County:
David Hackenberg of Pennsylvania/Florida sounded the alarm in 2006 about his missing honey bees.
His bees went MIA due to a mysterious phenomenon we now know as colony collapse disorder (CCD), characterized by adult bees abandoning the hive and leaving behind the queen, nurse bees, brood and food stores. Without the adult workers bringing in nectar, pollen, propolis and water, the hive collapses.
Today, just above everybody knows about the declining honey bee population and the importance of improving bee health and safeguarding their pollination services.
So it was with great relevance that when a UC Davis team asked for photos of "Women Feeding the World: Farmers, Mothers and CEOs" that the images included beekeepers.
Brenda Dawson, communications coordinator for the Horticulture Innovation Lab, formerly the Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP), spearheaded much of the project, which spotlights, elevates and praises the status of women involved in food production throughout the world.
In the olden days, women in agriculture were considered "farmer's wives" or "farmer's daughters," but rarely farmers.
Farmers they are. They always were. UC Davis illuminated them.
The project featured four images of beekeepers, ranging from women in California and Washington state to Bolivia and Botswana.
They included bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of Washington State University, formerly of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis; commercial bee queen breeder Jackie Park-Burris of Palo Cedro, a past president of the California State Apiary Board and the California State Beekeepers' Association; Queen Turner, former Humphrey Fellow at UC Davis and the head of the beekeeping section, Ministry of Agriculture, Botswana government (Kathy Keatley Garvey photos), as well as an image of Bolivian beekeepers taken by former Peace Corps volunteer Britta L. Hansen of the Horticulture Innovation Lab.
Dawson lauded the many campus and community organizations that "came together" to sponsor the event and its online gallery and campus display, including several units from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: the Blum Center, Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program, International Programs Office, and Program in International and Community Nutrition. Additional sponsors include the World Food Center, Office of Campus Community Relations, Women's Resources and Research Center, and the off-campus organization Freedom from Hunger.
CBC described the images as "powerful photos" of women feeding the world.
That they are. And they're especially significant because March 8 is International Women's Day.
Queen Turner inspects the beekeeping operation on the rooftop of the San Francisco Chronicle. Turner completed a 10-month stay in the U.S. and returned to Botswana where she is head of the beekeeping section of the Ministry of Agriculture in the Botswana government. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, formerly of UC Davis and now of Washington State University, examines a frame. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)