- Author: Mike Hsu
The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation Initiative (F3) – of which UC ANR is an anchor institution – took a big step forward during the UC Regents meeting May 18.
The Regents unanimously approved the formation of F3 Innovate – a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit that will raise funds for the partnership initiative that also includes the Central Valley Community Foundation (CVCF), California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC Merced and CSU Fresno.
Largely funded by a $65 million Build Back Better grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, F3 aims to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in agrifood technology, strengthen food systems, bolster local and regional economies, and bring greater prosperity to the San Joaquin Valley and beyond.
The new F3 Innovate nonprofit will focus on agrifood systems research and commercialization, services for micro-enterprises and small businesses in under-resourced communities, ag-tech innovation seed funding, and building a talent pipeline to sustain these efforts.
“This 501(c)(3) is critical to all of that, because it really lets us bring together the public and private partners, and ensures that broader stakeholder participation and benefit,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, during her presentation to the Regents (view recording of the meeting).
UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz and CVCF President and CEO Ashley Swearengin also spoke passionately during the meeting about the need to form the nonprofit as a key connector and catalyst for the F3 initiative.
F3 – and the new F3 Innovate – will continue to take shape through the work of Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer; Josh Viers, associate dean for research of UC Merced's School of Engineering; and many other academics and staff across UC ANR and UC.
"Establishing F3 Innovate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is a strategic move designed to unlock and accelerate agriculture technology from lab to market. It will pave the way for a wider range of collaboration opportunities between the UC and industry, and ensure the inclusion and representation of all our stakeholders, from small and socially disadvantaged farmers to startups and corporates," said Youtsey, who is also founder of The VINE, UC ANR's Innovation & Entrepreneurship program that is co-leading F3.
"The UC Regents were enthusiastic about this partnership as it aligns perfectly with our mission of transforming cutting-edge agricultural research into practical, market-ready solutions while doing the hard work of engaging our local workers, communities and farmers to adopt these new technologies," Youtsey added. "It enables us to foster deep and meaningful collaborative relationships with industry partners, advancing technology commercialization that is inclusive and truly beneficial to all involved."
- Author: Jonathan K. London
Linking UC Davis researchers with regional changemakers is core to the mission of the Center for Regional Change. One new program designed to achieve this goal is the Regional Change Public Dialogue series. The dialogue series, supported by a grant from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is intended to share cutting edge research from CRC-affiliated faculty with a diverse array of community leaders, as well as catalyze new research partnerships.
On May 11, the CRC hosted its third public dialogue at the Kearney Research Extension Center in the San Joaquin Valley town ofParlier. Kearney was an ideal site for this event as one of the experiment field stations that the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources system dedicated to applied and solutions-oriented research.
[The event was streamed live on May 11 and recorded on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UCDavisCRC.]
Complementing the agricultural and environmental focus of much of the Kearney projects, the research presented at the public dialogue focused on improving social, economic, health and political conditions in rural communities such as Parlier.
Keith Taylor, UC Cooperative Extension economic development specialist, introduced his research on cooperatives as engines of community economic vitality. Bernadette Austin, CRC associate director, presented the forthcoming work of UC Davis professors Anne Visser and Catherine Brinkley on agricultural and community sustainability in the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta. I shared the new report, "The Struggle for Water Justice in the San Joaquin Valley."
Following the lightning talks, the participants -- including leaders in the agricultural, environmental justice, immigrant rights, economic development, transportation, and air quality sectors among others -- divided into discussion groups to highlight the key insights and potential applications of the research. Some of the most compelling ideas of the evening included developing a map to represent the relationships between water and social/economic/political power in the San Joaquin Valley and an action research agenda on rural cooperatives as a way to diversify and localize the regional agricultural economy.
Given the success of the Regional Change Public Dialogue series, the CRC will be seeking ideas and resources to expand the program in the future. We welcome your ideas on new directions!
Jonathan K. London, Faculty Director, Center for Regional Change
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
VP Glenda Humiston, AVP Wendy Powers and several UC ANR representatives visited more than 30 congressional offices in March to brief lawmakers and staffers on the latest agriculture and natural resources research and outreach benefiting Californians.
On March 5-8, a UC ANR delegation attended the 36th Annual Council on Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) meetings in Washington D.C. CARET is part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). With the assistance of Julia Rowe and Marjorie Duske of UC Federal Governmental Relations, they also visited congressional offices to explain the importance of science and research to California.
Keith Nathaniel, UC Cooperative Extension director for Los Angeles County; Katie Panarella, director of nutrition, family and consumer sciences program & policy; and Mark Bell, vice provost of strategic initiatives and statewide programs; joined the deans Helene Dillard, Keith Gilless, Michael Lairmore and Kathryn Uhrich for the visits.
“We had a lot of great meetings with Congressional members and their staff, discussing the need for sustained investments in ag & natural resources programs, research and innovation,” said Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations.
The group split up into teams to visit the offices of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, Representatives John Garamendi, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Barbara Lee, Ami Bera, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Jimmy Panetta, Raul Ruiz and several other California representatives.
“California CARET representatives Dina Moore, Mike Mellano and Jean-Mari Peltier shared their experiences of how UC ANR research drives innovation and helps California farmers and related businesses remain competitive in the global market,” Megaro said.
“Overall, I felt that the visits were high quality,” said Powers. “I don't envy the elected officials or the staffers that see a revolving door of people through their offices at this time of year.”
ANR is committed to increasing our academic footprint for more effective deployment of Cooperative Extension (CE) specialists and advisors to address local issues with global impact. The 2018 CE Call for Positions is released, with the aim to identify positions that address programmatic gaps and emerging needs. The call, including the position proposal template, new process flowchart and timeline and criteria, is posted at http://ucanr.edu/2018callforpositions.
The advisor and specialist position proposal-development processes will be open from Feb. 8 to Sept. 15, with three phases of groups working collaboratively to develop proposals, and later phases reviewing earlier proposals to add proposals that they think are higher priority. Each proposal development phase is intended to include internal consultation and external input from ANR stakeholders to identify priority needs.
“Strengthening and rebuilding the ANR network remains a top priority for ANR,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president. “Since the beginning of 2012, ANR has hired 175 academics, and has 11 approved CE positions under recruitment in 2018 (list posted on the 2018 call web page). Through this call, we plan to add around 26 additional crucial CE positions.”
Powers said, “As with the current recruitments, we will remain nimble with future hiring in phases over time to enable us to accomplish the search and hiring process in an orderly fashion, evaluate resources on a real-time basis, deal with unexpected changes in staffing, and address unforeseen critical gaps as they emerge. The resources released through retirements and separations continue to enable us to hire new advisors and specialists. The ANR strategic plan 2016-2020 also prioritizes strengthening partnerships to establish new co-funded positions and developing other new sources of revenue to grow the academic footprint.”
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
UC VP Glenda Humiston, 4-H member Melina Granados of Riverside County and UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland gave the UC regents a presentation about UC ANR's community outreach and impact. The Public Engagement & Development Committee meeting was held at the UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center on Jan. 24, 2018, in San Francisco.
Opening the discussion, Humiston gave an overview of ANR, explaining that for 150 years ANR has been bringing the power of UC directly to the people in all California counties. Melina, who was born in Mexico, talked about her role as president of the Eastside Eagles 4-H club and what she has learned. Leland described joint projects between UC Merced and ANR in climate adaptation, nutrition and drone technology research.
Watch the 25-minute recording of the UC ANR presentation to the regents below, or visit https://youtu.be/ptFS8HwlsjE.