UC Food and Agriculture Blogs
Not everyone has a lawn, but if you do, fall is the perfect time to give your lawn some much-needed attention. To find out if you are maintaining your lawn properly, answer the following questions: Is your irrigation system set to water deeply and...
Nick Papadopoulos wants to create a culture of infectious enthusiasm in the farm and food world. This year he's hit the road with a cell phone and eight-foot selfie pole, digging into communities to find everyday people who are having a positive impact on farms, gardens, markets and food banks.
He found his passion as a small-scale organic farmer dismayed by a cooler full of wholesome food without a buyer. Just miles away families were suffering food insecurity. The dilemma sparked the creation of CropMobster Community Exchange, a social media and crowd sourcing online platform for food, farmers and consumers. People who have extra food can post, and the crowd gives ideas for distribution. CropMobster became a community connector.
"It's amazing what can happen with you stick your Nick out," Papadopoulous joked.
Papadopoulous was the keynote speaker at the 2017 International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento, encouraging the writers to find ways to collaborate and make a difference in the world.
"Think about the power of impact you can have," he said. "You can have fun, do your work, but carve out time to be a team. Team up to make impact happen."
Today CropMobster is in 18 of 58 California counties. "We've had millions of dollars of economic impact and saved millions of pounds of food because thousands of people believe in our vision and are joining the tribe," Papadopoulous said. "4-H'ers are selling product, someone found a job, a health provider connected fresh veggies with a client."
The remarkable stories shared by CropMobster users sparked another innovation: CropMobster TV. Adopting the persona "Nicky Bobby," Papadopoulous travels the state interviewing wise elderly citizens, young leaders, farming families, immigrant workers, and food and agriculture scientists to produce twice-weekly online videos in a non-commercial, folksy tone.
"We are highlighting stories that are feeding our families," Papadopoulous said. "We're tying to untangle the caring economy, what it is that makes people so generous."
Belching beef and dairy cows emit a significant amount of methane, sending a potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere where it can contribute to climate change. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researcher Ermais Kebreab, a professor in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, is studying a potential new solution.
In European studies, supplementation with just 15 grams of a formulation called Mootral, derived from garlic and citrus extracts, killed bacteria in the cow's gut that produce the gas emitting from the animals' mouths and nostrils. Methane emission was cut 30 to 50 percent. Kebreab and his staff are feeding the supplement to nine California cows at the UC Davis farm and comparing their emissions with nine cows on identical rations minus Mootral.
The research was shared with writers in Sacramento for the International Food Bloggers Conference during a pre-event excursion to the UC Davis ag barn.
"This research is highly relevant in California," Kebreab said. "The state is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030. We need to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production."
"It's like Beano for cows," said one food blogger.
If Mootral is effective in reducing livestock's greenhouse gas belching, and the product is found safe for the animals, scientists may be able to put together a protocol for the farmers to claim credit for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in a cap and trade scenario, Kebreab said.
After visiting the cattle, the food bloggers ate dinner at UC Davis' Gateway Garden, becoming the first Americans to try beef from cows that received the Mootral supplement.
Invasive plants—plants that can disperse, establish, and spread without human assistance or disturbance—pose a serious problem in California's waterways, wildlands and rangelands. Common garden weeds, unlike invasive plants, don't generally...
Raccoons may look adorable at times, but when this nocturnal animal appears in your yard at night, its “cuteness” factor quickly disappears. Raccoons normally live in natural areas, but they can easily adapt and survive in urban settings...