- 5% increase for UC ANR's budget (This allows UC ANR to adjust employee salaries effective July 1, 2022, as described in the May 20 UC ANR Update.)
- $2.4 million in one-time funds for Nutrition Policy Institute to evaluate
- “School Meals for All”
- $125 million in one-time funds for UC deferred maintenance, seismic mitigation and energy efficiency projects.
- $185 million in one-time funds to support UC climate change research
“The state budget process is not finished and we expect several Budget Trailer Bills to be taken up in August after the Legislature returns from Summer Recess. Stay tuned!” said Anne Megaro, director of government relations.
See President Drake's comments about the state budget at https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-statement-2022-23-california-budget-0.
Savannah Hicks has been promoted to the role of executive assistant, supporting Vice Provost David Bunn and UC ANR Second Street Building Operations.
As executive assistant, Hicks will be assisting with calendaring, meeting and events management and purchasing, as well as many other essential duties in support of the research and extension centers, county offices and statewide programs and institute leaders.
She will also be supporting the Second Street Space and Operations Committee and helping to coordinate projects and meetings, including monthly networking events and current space moves.
Hicks, who earned a bachelor's degree in communications at CSU Sacramento, joined UC ANR's Statewide Program and Research Operations Unit a few months ago and was selected to fill this new role following an open search.
Before joining ANR, she was an office manager at Evolve BioSystems, a startup that specializes in a probiotic for babies to help them get the benefits of mother's breast milk.
Hicks is based at the UC ANR Second Street Building and can be reached at (530) 285-3249 and email@example.com.
Rachel Shellabarger and Hope Zabronsky have joined the California Institute for Water Resources, both as academic coordinator II.
Shellabarger will be responsible for coordinating CIWR's work with the National Institutes for Water Resources, as well as work on a new nitrogen and irrigation management program. She comes to us from UC Santa Cruz, where her recent Ph.D. research sought to better understand how California dairy producers engage with environmental initiatives.
An environmental scientist who grew up farming, Shellabarger is drawn to interdisciplinary work that crosses traditional boundaries. She previously researched conflict among conservation and human rights groups on the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as wetland mitigation efforts in Midwest agricultural landscapes. She also taught undergraduate Natural Sciences coursework for six years and worked with refugee resettlement agencies.
She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Wartburg College, a master's degree in natural resources from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Hope Zabronsky will be responsible for coordinating CIWR's Climate-Smart Agriculture Program and working with the team of technical assistance providers.
Zabronsky comes to UC ANR from Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center in San Diego, where she directed the center's educational and research programs focused on sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship, community-based leadership, and career-technical education.
Previously, she managed statewide climate resilience projects at Strategic Energy Innovations, supported agricultural and climate adaptation research in Southern Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute, and studied climate-smart agriculture practices in California and Malawi as part of the Research Group on Agricultural Equity and Inclusion at UC Davis.
She earned her bachelor's degree in environmental studies, sustainability and political science from the University of Vermont and master of science in international agricultural development from UC Davis.
Zabronsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brent Holtz, director and pomology farm advisor for San Joaquin County, and members of the Almond Board of California won the Golden Agricultural Relations Council Award for Digital & Social Media: Video for "RESILIENCE: The Whole Orchard Recycling Origin Story."
The six-minute documentary produced by the Almond Board of California features the inspiring story of Holtz's journey to help his family, his industry and his community by finding an alternative to burning trees removed from orchards.
The documentary was produced by the Almond Board's Jenny Nicolau, Daren Williams, Ross Thomas and David Gomar.
The Golden ARC Awards honor the stellar work created by professionals in the agricultural industry. They are judged by members of the Public Relations Society of America and are heavily weighted on measurable results achieved against the objectives.
Read more about the documentary project at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=51471&.
UC ANR communicators win ACE awards
UC ANR communicators received recognition from their peers in the Association for Communication Excellence, or ACE, international awards program.
Doralicia Garay won a Bronze Award for her wildfire preparedness social media campaign in the “organic” (unpaid) social media campaign category. During summer 2021, she created the Wildfire Preparedness social media campaign amid the active wildfire season in California. The campaign focused on delivering content that directed UC ANR's online audience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to essential information on preparing homes and business structures for wildfire, also known as structure hardening. Given the high fire activity at the time, she also incorporated the Fire Locator map tool as a resource for wildfire evacuations. The campaign culminated with a Facebook Live session featuring UCCE forestry advisors Susie Kocher and Yana Valachovic and emeritus UCCE advisor Steve Quarles.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won two awards. She earned a Gold Award in the “writing for newspapers” category, for a feature story on Rebecca Jean “RJ” Millena, published in March 2021, a few months before Millena graduated with a bachelor's degree in entomology. “An Amazing Doctoral Opportunity Few Receive” centered on Millena's four-year, full-ride doctoral fellowship from the American Museum of Natural History.
Garvey earned a Silver Award for her photo story titled “The Flight of the Bumble Bee,” posted June 14, 2021, on her daily (Monday-Friday) Bug Squad blog on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website.
- Author: Mike Hsu
During a meeting of the President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources on June 23, UC President Michael Drake joined the virtual gathering to offer an update on the ongoing response to COVID-19.
Drake praised the diligence, resilience and continued productivity of the entire university community, and cited the systemwide 96-97% vaccination rate and judicious public health measures as reasons UC has been able to weather the worst of the pandemic.
While urging care and caution, he also expressed optimism for the future, pointing to the development and availability of better vaccines and treatments.
The PAC – comprising leaders from UC and the agricultural, natural resources and related human resources sectors – then heard from several commissioners about the importance of partnerships in achieving their shared goals.
Mary-Ann Warmerdam, senior vice president of government affairs for the Rural County Representatives of California, emphasized how essential collaborations are to advancing the interests of rural populations. Kathie Sowa, a senior vice president at Bank of America, highlighted the work of the A.P. Giannini Foundation, which supports research in the basic sciences and applied fields, and the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy.
Carol Chandler of Chandler Farms in Fresno County discussed the crucial role of the state's universities in delivering innovative solutions to farmers for a wide range of challenges – from diseases to water issues. Chandler, a former UC regent and California State University trustee, stressed the need for more collaboration between the two systems.
President Drake concurred, voicing his belief that – along with community colleges across the state – the UC and CSU institutions are all part of “one system of higher education.” In particular, he mentioned financial assistance plans and certificate programs as just some of the ways to help more people attain more education.
Gail Feenstra, director of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, retired July 1 after 33 years of serving Californians through UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. Her research and outreach have focused on strengthening food systems, encompassing farmers, consumers and communities.
“I have been proud to help build the concepts and practices of sustainable farming and food systems in California,” she said, defining sustainable as including environmental resilience and stewardship, economic viability and social justice and equity for all. “Long-term health for individuals, for communities, for our natural resources and the planet requires this broad approach.”
After earning a bachelor's degree in dietetics from UC Davis in 1978, “I soon discovered, dietetics was not quite for me,” Feenstra said. “I transitioned to community nutrition, worked as a WIC nutritionist for a few years and discovered that the nutrition issues that frustrated me were systems related. A few years later, when I went to Teachers College, Columbia University, to study with Dr. Joan Gussow, one of the leaders of the local food systems movement, I discovered a whole new perspective—food as part of a larger system!”
Feenstra joined UC ANR in 1989 as a writer for the newly formed SAREP and managed the competitive grants offered by the program.
“It was an exhilarating time in the late 1980s to be a part of creating and communicating about the first sustainable agriculture program to be established at a land-grant university anywhere in the nation,” she said. SAREP became a model for sustainable agriculture programs formed at other land-grant universities around the country.
As SAREP developed, Feenstra took on the role of coordinator to lead the community food system projects. Sales for local farms and food businesses, increased community awareness about where their food comes from and a willingness to seek out sources of locally grown food are critical to sustainable community food systems. To achieve those three goals, SAREP provided a grant to launch the PlacerGrown marketing campaign in 1994, which inspired farmers and consumers in other counties to create locally grown programs to strengthen their communities.
In the late 1990s, Feenstra, who has a doctorate in nutrition education from Columbia University with an emphasis in public health, introduced the concept of community food security to build an understanding of the links between hunger and agriculture. She began research on direct marketing and educating small and midscale farmers on how to sell crops at farmers markets and to restaurants and retailers. Over 80% of farmers landed new buyer contacts after attending her marketing workshops.
She also promoted farm-to-school programs and nutrition education.
“For me, the concept was a perfect way to bring together local agriculture and nutrition education to boost farm income and provide healthful food to children using the National School Lunch Program as a subsidy to help make it all happen,”Feenstra said.SAREP funded cooking classes to teach school cooks – who were accustomed to serving packaged foods – to prepare nutritious school meals with fresh produce.
“Gail's accomplishments as a leader both statewide and nationally in the farm to school movement, as well as in community engaged food system assessments, have resulted in policy, systems and environmental changes benefitting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities including youth, small-scale socially disadvantaged farmers, and the food insecure,” said Jennifer Sowerwine, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC Berkeley.
To help small and midsized farmers coordinate to sell to institutional and retail buyers that need large quantities, Feenstra and her colleagues organized a California Food Hub Network.
“Not only have the food hubs contributed to strengthening regional food markets and improving the economic prosperity of their member farmers, they were also instrumental in helping communities pivot during the early days of COVID in 2020,” Feenstra said. “Many of them helped identify local producers who could bring food to the food hubs, where it could be distributed to food banks, retailers and even individuals who needed food.”
In recent years, SAREP has added agritourism as another means for farmers to remain economically sustainable. To enhance local food production and food security, Feenstra and her colleagues have begun offering advice for urban farmers and she led a special project for youth leaders in urban farming.
“Gail has been instrumental to our UC ANR efforts to provide support for California's urban farmers,” said Rachel Surls, UCCE sustainable food systems advisor in Los Angeles County. “From conducting a statewide needs assessment of urban farms, to developing workshops on the business of urban farming, Gail has been integral to our UC ANR Urban Agriculture Working Group for the past decade.”
With colleagues from a national research project, Feenstra pioneered county-based food system evaluations. One of the greatest benefits of these reports, she said, is they promote communication between farmers and low-income communities, including farmworkers, whose health and work are affected by farming practices.
While continuing her research and extension, Feenstra took on administrative duties, serving as SAREP's deputy director from 2008 to 2018, then interim director of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, which contained SAREP at the time, from 2019 to 2020. When SAREP became independent of the institute in 2020, she was appointed director.
In May, the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society honored Feenstra as the 2022 recipient of its Richard P. Haynes Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in Agriculture, Food and Human Values.
“Much of her work has centered on the unique circumstances, challenges and opportunities of California food and agricultural systems, but the impact of her work is in no way confined to California alone,” Clare Hinrichs, professor of rural sociology at Pennsylvania State University, wrote in her letter nominating Feenstra for the award. “The fruitful insights and applications of Gail's work have traveled well beyond her home state. Her cogent thinking and practical frameworks have inspired and guided others from across the U.S. and other countries engaged in research and practice to enhance community and regional food systems.”
In addition to her academic work, Feenstra served as AFHVS president in 2000-2001 and has served on the board twice.
“As I have reviewed my career, two sentiments come to the fore – gratitude and humility,” Feenstra said. “I have had the good fortune to work for 33 years with wonderful, committed people who share strong values about a fair and equitable society, coupled with a passion for environmental, economic and personal health for all people and the planet.”
Acknowledging Feenstra's extensive career contributions, UC ANR has awarded her emeritus status. As an emeritus academic, she plans to help evaluate the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Farm to School Incubator Grant Program in addition to spending more time with her grandchildren, gardening, quilting, traveling and, eventually, volunteering for local food systems activities.
- Author: Rachel Lloyd
The University urgently invites comments on the U.S. Department of Education's proposed amendments to the Title IX regulations issued by the May 2020 administration, as published last week.
The regulations primarily address how schools must respond to sex-based harassment, including sexual violence. However, as the Department of Education proposes amending them, they would also explicitly prohibit other forms of discrimination based on sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy or related conditions, and enhance protections based on pregnancy or parenting status.
The rules address topics of great significance to the UC community, and it is critical that the Office of the President provide comments.
To ensure those comments are informed by the views of the UC community, we encourage you to submit your input to the Systemwide Title IX Office directly via an online survey at https://survey.alchemer.com/collab/6922132/2022-Title-IX-Regulations-Stakeholder-Survey. Please comment no later than July 13, 2022. The section numbers in the survey align with the section numbers in the proposed rules.
The new Title IX rules are posted at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/t9nprm.pdf.