ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

Posts Tagged: sustainability

Pests present border threat

Spotted wing drosophilia was first detected in California in 2009. Here, a blackberry destroyed by SWD larva.
Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation's food supply, the Associated Press reported today. The article was picked up by Politico.com, CBS News and other national publications.

"Whether they know it or not, every person in the country is affected by this, whether by the quality or cost of their food, the pesticide residue on food or not being able to enjoy the outdoors because beetles are killing off the trees," said Mark Hoddle, an entomologist specializing in invasive species at the University of California, Riverside.

Springs rains blamed for sudden oak death increase
Guy Kovner, The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat

The level of sudden oak death infection in Sonoma County and other parts of the Bay Area tripled over last year's rate, according to a survey conducted in June in nine counties from Humboldt to Monterey.

“It's a red flag,” said Matteo Garbelotto, head of UC Berkeley's forest pathology laboratory.

What sustainability means in agriculture
Amanda Radke, Tri-State Livestock News

Amada Radke reported on a panel discussion on agricultural sustainability, which took place at UC Davis in September. The panel included farmers, activists and the dean of the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Neal Van Alfen.

“There is so much debate and controversy among naturally-raised foods and conventionally-raised foods, and that's too bad, because one isn't always better than the other,” said Van Alfen. “If we don't make our system work, we are all in trouble. We have to figure out how to feed the world sustainably. Research is so important to help farmers reduce input costs and work to make organic foods more sustainable and efficient.”

Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Boost sustainability by eating low on the food chain

Some people believe eating low on the food chain is one way to help preserve the environment. And, in fact, livestock production consumes much more land and other resources per calorie than the production of plant foods.

A story on the website Bohemiam.com suggests it also makes sense to eat insects for improved dietary sustainability. Insects and other arthropods constitute an edible resource of tremendous biomass, the article said. Ants alone reportedly make up about a third of all terrestrial animal biomass.

Iowa State University's entomology department provides recipes for "rootworm beetle dip," which includes a cup of dried and roasted beetles. The site also has recipes for "banana worm bread," chocolate chip cookies with dried crickets crumbled into the dough and "mealworm fried rice," calling for equal parts rice and larvae.

Writer Alistar Bland got information for his story about the consumption of snails from a UC Davis website. Mainly known as a garden pest, snails were introduced into California from France in the 1850s as a food source. Snails may be sautéed in butter and garlic and served in the shell.

An eight-page UC publication is available for $1.50 from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources catalog with instructions for raising and preparing snails for food.

Common garden snails can be a sustainable food source.
Common garden snails can be a sustainable food source.

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Beef business writer blasts new food movement

A commentary that appeared on the Web site Drovers.com, an information source for beef industry insiders, said the dialog at the Farm, Food & Health Conference held March 2 and 3 in Kansas City was "unbalanced and unrealistic."

"Much of the conversation at the . . . conference," Drovers editor Greg Henderson wrote, "centered around the idea that a 'movement' is taking shape in America to change our food system."

In the article, Henderson quoted conference speaker Larry Yee, director emeritus of UC Cooperative Extension in Ventura County and co-founder of the Association of Family Farms.

"Our current system is fundamentally unsustainable," Yee told attendees. "I believe the antidote is a 21st Century recreation of the food system."

Yee said there are deep flaws in the global economic paradigm and criticized modern industrial agriculture as a system that has been developed only to seek efficiency and profits. He said the current system is designed to produce cheap and abundant food and calories.

These examples were presented by Henderson as evidence of the "tone" of the conference, which he said inferred that local, natural and organic foods are "good," and that food produced with the assistance of modern technology - such as antibiotics, hormones, fertilizers and pesticides - are "bad."

"The first Farm, Food & Health Conference produced an unflattering and unbalanced view of American agriculture - and provided unrealistic expectations for a 21st Century food system," Henderson wrote.

Posted on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 10:26 AM
Webmaster Email: pam.kanrice@ucanr.edu