- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The same day, an opening ceremony launches a journey of exploration into the world of food production and healthy eating for a group of 8- and 9-year-old Mexican children.
The UC Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program sponsors clubs that combine hands-on learning and positive youth-adult partnerships to help children develop skills they need to succeed in life.
“Children in Mexico also need to find and focus their passions, they need life skills and support in order to become responsible citizens and give back to the community,” said Lupita Fabregas, 4-H Youth Development advisor and assistant director for 4-H diversity and expansion. “We have decades of experience and extensive programming to offer. It is a natural partnership.”
Humiston was a member of 4-H herself as a youth and credits the program for setting in motion a successful career that includes serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, earning a doctorate degree at UC Berkeley, playing a role in the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama presidential administrations, and later taking the helm at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“I encourage all children to find a place like 4-H to work with mentors, get hands-on experience, and learn about their own potential,” Humiston said. “This historic agreement will allow children in Mexico to benefit from a 100-year-old program that has had tremendous success in the United States and it will build academic, scientific, technological and cultural relations between Mexico and California for the advancement of children.”
The new club in the Mexicali community of Sinaloa will have access to two greenhouses that belong to the Secretary of Agricultural Development in Baja, Mexico, where they will grow cucumbers and tomatoes while they learn about soil science, irrigation, nutrition education and other components of agricultural science.
The children will also learn leadership skills by taking a new role in their communities, running in club elections, speaking in public and reporting on their work. The children's parents will also be encouraged to serve as volunteer leaders, mentors and educators.
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Secretary of Agricultural Development in Baja, Mexico, sign a memorandum of understanding.
Opening ceremony for the first club modeled after the successful California 4-H Youth Development Program in Ejido Sinaloa, Baja Mexico.
Friday, Jan. 20
9:30 to 9:50 a.m. – Memorandum of understanding signing
9:50 to 11:50 a.m. – Children take part in their first session of 4-H programming, learning “Where does our food come from?”
Secretaria de Fomento Agropuecuario
Glenda Humiston, vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources
Manuel Valladolid Seamanduras, secretary of the Mexican agricultural development program (La Secretaria de Fomento Agropecuario de Baja, México)
Parents, students, teachers, principal, University of Baja California personnel, 4-H volunteers, UC Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development staff and academics
Children participating in a 4-H Club project that involves healthy eating and agricultural production.
Jeannette Warnert, (559) 240-9850 (call or text), email@example.com
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
A gardening and produce-sharing app took top prize in the Apps for Ag hackathon, after contestants pitched judges at the California State Fair in Sacramento on Sunday (July 17). The first place team, GivingGarden, took home $7,500 in prize money, custom rodeo belt buckles and a six-month, top-tier membership to the AgStart Incubator in Woodland.
Second place was awarded to Sense and Protect, a mobile task-management app that connects to climate sensors to protect farmworkers' health and enhance their productivity. Sense and Protect team members Dhrubajyoti Das, Alex Avalos, Anthony Johnson and Peter Swanson share $4,500.
Third place went to ACP STAR System, a geo and temporal database and platform for tracking Asian citrus psyllid and other invasive pests. Team members Mark Takata and Chinh Lam share $2,500.
The top three teams will also receive complimentary startup incorporation services valued at $2,200 from Royse Law.
All of the participating teams had about 48 hours to develop their apps. Teams that were interested were offered $500 in “cloud credits” to build their solutions and host them on Amazon Web Services' platform. Teams also had access to an IoT kit to incorporate connected devices into their solution.
The top four teams pitched their apps to judges in front of a live audience at the California State Fair.
The Apps for Ag hackathon, which was sponsored by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the California State Fair and the City of Sacramento, brought together software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, farmers and others who work in agriculture.
“Using technology we can find better ways to reduce pesticide use, increase irrigation efficiency, reduce travel into the fields, manage people better, and deal with the fact that we have a huge labor shortage in this state,” said Humiston, who served as one of the Apps for Ag judges.
The other judges included University of California Chief Information Officer Tom Andriola, USDA Chief Data Officer Bobby Jones, and Better Food Ventures and Mixing Bowl Hub founder Rob Trice.
For more information about Apps for Ag, visit http://www.apps-for-ag.com.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Half the funds for the endowed chairs was provided by UC President Janet Napolitano; the other half was donated by the California Pistachio Research Board. One is the UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics; the other is the UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations.
“The establishment of endowed chairs represents an historic occasion for UC ANR and is something we've never before enjoyed during the 100-years UC ANR Cooperative Extension has served California,” Humiston said. “The pistachio industry's contribution demonstrates its high level of confidence in our research and outreach program, and President Napolitano's match shows her recognition of the work we do not only on campuses but throughout UC ANR.”
UCCE is the applied research and outreach arm of the University of California that serves the agricultural industry, coordinates the 4-H program, supports natural resources stewardship, and provides nutrition education programs throughout the state.
The California Pistachio Research Board has a long history of funding ANR research. Since its establishment in 2007, the program's donations have totaled more than $3 million. Relative to other major California commodities, pistachio production is new. The first commercial crop was produced in 1976. In 2014, farmers harvested 519 million pounds of pistachios, valued at $1.8 billion.
Tom Coleman, a Fresno County pistachio farmer and chair of the Pistachio Research Board, said he enjoys informally comparing notes with other growers, but that doesn't substitute for scientific research.
“I find it absolutely invaluable to have good scientific research to apply on our farms,” Coleman said. “With impending changes in our water situation and a changing climate, research is really our only option.”
In fact, the industry has already felt the impact of climate change on yield. The pistachio growers expect the 2015 yield to be nearly 50 percent lower than the previous year, in large part due to a lack of sufficient winter chilling and water supply cuts, said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board.
“We know that our future is going to look better with more research as we face the challenges of a warming climate and less water,” Klein said.
Napolitano created the Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs last year for UC campuses and UC ANR to use as an incentive to encourage donors to establish endowed chairs to fund research. Endowed chairs help attract and retain top-flight academics. Once established, endowed chairs provide a dedicated source of funds, in perpetuity, for the chair holder's scholarly activities.
“Donors who endow chairs are helping support the agricultural industry today, and contributing to future growth, innovation and success,” Humiston said. “We hope to establish more endowed chairs in UC Cooperative Extension with the help of our partners.”
View the announcement in the 12-minute video below:
Three University of California students will be working with scientists in the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to study food security, nutrition education and agricultural research and extension.
“It is imperative to get students involved in UC ANR's activities to move the world toward food security for all and a more sustainable future,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “The fresh ideas that the UC Global Food Initiative fellows contribute will help us extend what we learn through research to improve the health of Californians.”
Brown, a native of San Diego, will work closely with Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, on a student food-security research project. In the spring of 2015, nearly 9,000 students from all 10 UC campuses participated in a survey, which was designed to document the prevalence of food insecurity among students and to identify characteristics of students who experience food insecurity. Brown, a public health graduate student at UC Berkeley, will help analyze the survey results to better understand factors contributing to food insecurity and the consequences on students. Since arriving at UC Berkeley, she has worked with several organizations in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Food Security Taskforce, to identify and eliminate barriers to achieving food security.
The University of California aims to put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself. Through its Global Food Initiative, UC is building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among its 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories and UC ANR to improve food security, health and sustainability.
To get UC students involved in the Global Food Initiative effort, the UC Office of the President is providing fellowship funds to each UC campus, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC ANR.
Following a national search, Napolitano has tapped Glenda Humiston, Ph.D., currently the California state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, as her nominee for the vice president for the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Humiston has 25 years of experience working on agriculture, natural resources, sustainability, and economic development in rural communities. President Obama appointed her to her current position in 2009.
“Glenda Humiston is a great fit for the UC system at a time when drought has heightened the importance of sustainable agricultural practices,” said Napolitano, who launched a Global Food Initiative last year. “She is a knowledgeable, thoughtful and action-oriented leader who will expand the impact of an agriculture and natural resources division whose reach already extends across the globe.”
The UC Board of Regents will vote on the terms of the appointment at its July 21-23 meeting.
“I am thrilled to join UC's work on the ground linking world-class research with local know-how to elevate rural economies and boost agricultural production,” Humiston said. “Together we can work to provide innovative science-based solutions to farmers and deliver healthier food systems and healthier environments for all Californians.”
Humiston, who earned her doctorate in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, served President Clinton as deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment at USDA. She managed the Sustainable Development Institute at the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa, as well as the World Water Forum in Mexico City in 2006. Early in her career, she served in the Peace Corps in Tunisia.
The ANR head oversees 1,350 people working in 60 county offices, nine research and extension centers, and three administrative centers. The position became vacant upon the retirement of Barbara Allen-Diaz, the former vice president, on June 30.