- Author: Rose Hayden-Smith, PhD
Nearly two tons of fruit and vegetables grown at UC's Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC) in Santa Paula have been donated to Food Forward and the Ventura Unified School District, destined for children and families.
Some of the vegetables – planted by volunteers and farm staff – became available when UC HAREC's farm field trips were canceled due to COVID-19. Other vegetables were harvested from the student farm located at HAREC, a partnership with Ventura Unified School District and the city of Ventura. Kale and lettuce at the student farm were planted by youth from DATA and Montalvo schools.
Every fall and spring, volunteers from the UC Master Gardener program propagate seedlings for schools, bundling them into variety packs of vegetables and herbs, which are given to schools with gardens. Because of COVID-19, plants were given to schools for direct distribution to families. Ventura Unified School District staff partnering in this effort include Kara Muniz, director of food and nutrition services; Ashley Parrish Decker, nutrition educator who runs the Student Farm; and Alise Echles, registered dietitian nutritionist.
Additional fruit and vegetables were harvested from HAREC's citrus demonstration area, the site's educational gardens and the farm grounds.
UCCE's education program manager Susana Bruzzone-Miller said, “We are saddened that spring field trip season is canceled and miss the sound of children delighting in harvesting, sometimes for the very first time. But, it warms my heart that our field trip garden can help feed so many families in need.”
John Antongiovanni, farm manager, worked with the farm staff to organize the harvest. “Working together during this difficult time is very rewarding,” he said.
Food Forward is a gleaning organization that helps residents turn the surplus produce grown on their property into a nutritious food source for local communities. Rick Nahmias, founder and executive director, indicated that the Food Forward Backyard Harvest team remains active, and may be reached via phone at (805) 630.2728 or email.
- Author: Patti Verdugo Johnson
HREC Research-Facility Projects — land, labor, equipment and facilities available for state-of-the-art research.
Applications for field and facility use space for research at the Hansen REC are accepted year-round. Complete applications received by Feb. 17 will be reviewed as part of the annual spring evaluation. Applications received after Feb. 17 will be reviewed in the next review cycle. Applications are evaluated by the Research Advisory Committee.
Please note that the HREC receives a significant portion of its support from the Thelma Hansen Endowment, which limits facility use subsidies to projects and programs that contribute directly to Ventura County agriculture. Although research can be conducted at the HREC that does not benefit Ventura County agriculture, these research projects are expected to bear the full cost of their research activities.
Thelma Hansen Fund (THF) Research & Education Grant Program — supports projects that encompass research, education, and outreach activities.
All projects (research, education and outreach) need to focus on agricultural and natural resource issues and needs relevant to Ventura County.
Proposals for research and education programs funded by the Thelma Hansen Fund are accepted year-round. Complete applications received by Feb. 17 will be reviewed as part of the annual spring evaluation. Applications received after Feb. 17 will be reviewed in the next review cycle. Applications are evaluated by the Research Advisory Committee.
Please carefully read the THF Program Request for Proposals (RFP) document for detailed information on the objectives, criteria and requirements of the program. There have been significant changes in this program since the last solicitation in 2013; e.g., a Letter of Intent is no longer required, geographical restrictions, etc.
The current THF grant program pool is approximately $300,000.
Questions concerning this revised program and the application process should be forwarded to HAREC Director Christopher M. Smith at email@example.com. For special needs or off-cycle evaluation of a proposal, email Smith or call (805) 662-6943.
To submit a proposal, visit http://harec.ucanr.edu/Research/Submitting_a_Proposal.