- 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