- (Public Value) UCANR: Promoting healthy people and communities
While COVID-19 has put the world on pause, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources continues to bring the power of UC research in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition, and youth development to local communities to improve the lives of all Californians.
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, UC ANR will be participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals to celebrate generosity worldwide. #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
With the #PushPlayCA theme, UC ANR is counting on the public to help it push past the obstacles of 2020 to serve Californians. Recently UC Cooperative Extension has been helping residents prepare their homes to withstand wildfire, giving virtual gardening lessons to people who want to grow their own food, and helping small family farmers find new markets for their produce after their restaurant contracts were canceled due to COVID-19.
“Gifts to UC ANR help ensure we can continue to provide essential resources and trusted information to the people of California in times of crisis and beyond,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “Your investment supports research, education and services in your community and in all 58 counties in California. We can't do it without your help!”
Donors may designate the UC ANR programs or locations to which they wish to donate. The website ucanr.edu/givingtuesday contains links to all UC ANR programs, research and extension centers and UCCE offices.
UC ANR anticipates an exciting campaign thanks in part to generous donors, volunteers, staff and board members who have given a total of $40,000 in matching funds—a tremendous incentive to donors across the state who want to double the impact of their gifts.
Gifts made online starting at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 1 are eligible to be matched until the matching funds are depleted. “That means stay up late on Nov. 30 to double the value of your gift,” said Emily Delk, UC ANR director of annual giving.
To give gifts and support UC ANR programs and research for a healthier California, visit ucanr.edu/givingtuesday on Dec. 1.
To learn more about what UC ANR is doing in your community, visit https://ucanr.edu and follow @ucanr on social media.
“A group of us are retooling our workshops for online delivery and have seen tremendous interest,” said Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension forest advisor in Humboldt County. “We have been blown away by the interest in this approach. The April oak health workshop has over 452 people registered after a week of advertising. We probably would have only had 40 people for an in-person event.”
She added, “The prescribed fire for foresters class has 225 people registered after a week of advertising and we probably would have only had 60 people for an in-person event.”
“I am humbled by the interest and hopeful that we'll be able to deliver meaningful content and interaction,” Valachovic said. To accommodate a larger number of participants, she said they are prerecording talks, gathering questions in advance to manage the deluge of questions flowing into the chat box and scheduling live Q and A sessions on Zoom with the speakers and attendees.
For UC Master Food Preservers, nutrition educators and anyone else interested in safe food handling, Erin DiCaprio, UC Cooperative Extension food safety specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, partnered with colleagues at North Carolina State University to create coronavirus and food safety materials. There are nine peer-reviewed fact sheets answering COVID-19-related questions about takeout food, food safety, handling groceries and more. The fact sheets can be downloaded free from the COVID-19 section of the ANR catalog: https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Items.aspx?hierId=1100.
The UC Master Food Preserver Program is training its volunteers via Zoom https://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/consumers/food-safety-home/home-food-preservation/uc-master-food-preserver-food-safety-training and will be demonstrating food preservation techniques via YouTube like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeoymcsLWlg.
To help Californians support local farmers, the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program created the UC Agritourism Directory at www.calagtour.org. Consumers can look up local farms and ranches and purchase directly from the producer. The new UC SAREP webpage COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Direct-from-Farm Resources, at http://www.calagtour.org/Shelter-in-Place_Resources, includes information and links to farms and ranches that offer box deliveries, farm stands, online ordering, delivery and pickup services, organized by region.
The UC Master Gardener Program is offering online training for volunteers at http://mg.ucanr.edu/Resources/eXtension_Campus/. Home gardeners trying to grow their own food can find resources at https://ucanr.edu/Coronavirus_and_COVID-19/Gardening/ and ask their local UC Master Gardener volunteers questions. To find local UC Master Gardeners, visit http://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs/.
California Institute for Water Resources has created a new Water and COVID-19 web page that curates water safety, water use and water supply information. It includes links to information about COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean and from the World Health Organization in Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, and Russian. They plan to update the page at http://ciwr.ucanr.edu/California_Drought_Expertise/Water_COVID19 as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
In response to school closures, the UC Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, or EFNEP, and CalFresh Healthy Living UC staff members statewide are providing curricula and other resources to teachers and community organizations to continue nutrition education.
“We surveyed the needs of the educators and are exploring ways to continue to offer evidence-based curriculum while building skills for staff in the area of online and distance learning, using Zoom and social media platforms, such as Facebook Live and YouTube, and other learning platforms such as Google Classroom,” said Katie Panarella, director of UC ANR's Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Program.
Parents who are home schooling their children can get curricula and ideas for educational activities from their local UC Cooperative Extension offices.
The following are a few examples of UC Cooperative Extension activities in counties.
In San Luis Obispo County, CalFresh Health Living, UC built a YouTube Channel to provide nutrition, food safety and physical activity lessons that educators share with their students as part of their assigned schoolwork during shelter in place orders https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN8eCNc4m1vCbgFrld42MHw/videos.
“Parents should check out our YouTube station for videos featuring nutrition educators covering topics from nutrition and cooking to fun physical activities that don't require any equipment,” Shannon Klisch, CalFresh Health Living, UC program supervisor in San Luis Obispo County.
“There are great ideas for active learning like the Alphabet scavenger hunt at https://youtu.be/M5wMryJkH7M, she said. “And lessons about the importance of eating a variety of foods using MyPlate, including the “Dairy gives us strong bones lesson” with a yogurt parfait recipe included that children of many different ages can help assemble at https://youtu.be/_OUF1nKMKMM.
For kids in Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado and Tuolumne counties, UCCE 4-H advisor JoLynn Miller has been livestreaming lessons on FaceBook Live at https://www.facebook.com/Tuolumnecounty4h. She recently wore a crazy hairdo for Spirit Week while delivering an embryology lesson featuring hatching chicks https://www.facebook.com/Tuolumnecounty4h/videos/235774560806010/.
In Sonoma County, UC Cooperative Extension created a Food Recovery Coalition webpage https://ucanr.edu/sites/SCRFC/ listing opportunities to volunteer, donate and more.
In San Bernardino County, UC Cooperative Extension is offering online classes twice a week on topics including growing food, sustainable landscaping, composting and pest management. For upcoming events, visit http://mgsb.ucanr.edu/.
In Tulare and Kings counties, Alice Escalante, UC ANR adult nutrition educator, is using WhatsApp to motivate her Walking Club participants to continue striding toward their walking goal of 10,000 steps a day as part of CalFresh Health Living, UC's nutrition and physical activity program.
In Imperial County, 4-H program representative Anita Martinez is leading cooking demonstrations and organizing 4-H All Stars to show their cooking skills via Facebook Live three times per week. “We have done nine cooking demonstrations on Facebook Live with more than 1.5k views for each one,” wrote Yu Meng, UC Cooperative Extension youth, family and community advisor.
In Sutter County, UC nutrition educators distributed "Lunch to Grow" packages to 125 families at a Yuba City Elementary School drive-through lunch pick up. Each package contained one vegetable plant seedling, a small bag of potting soil, a small pot and instructions for planting.
Starting in Napa County on April 11, people can join the SOD Blitz, a sudden oak death disease mapping project. Matteo Garbelotto, UCCE forest pathology specialist and adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, redesigned the annual citizen science project to adhere to current coronavirus precautions to ensure the safety of participants. The series of SOD Blitzes will be held in communities between Napa and San Luis Obispo through June. For more information and the latest schedule, visit www.sodblitz.org.
Find a link to UCCE in your county on the map at https://ucanr.edu/About/Locations/.
- Author: Linda Forbes
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources is available to assist Californians across the state during the new coronavirus crisis. We are working differently, but we are still working to help residents improve their lives and businesses with resources on growing food in a garden, preserving food, entertaining kids with educational activities and many other useful topics at ucanr.edu.
We are finding opportunities to make life easier for communities. For example, in Sonoma County, UC Cooperative Extension developed an online Food Distribution Directory with CropMobster. “By changing our relationship to food waste, we can use excess, high quality food to feed people in need,” said Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension director for Sonoma County. For more information visit https://maps.cropmobster.com/food-distribution-directory/ and https://ucanr.edu/sites/SCRFC.
UC ANR Climate Smart Agriculture Community Education Specialists are assisting growers in applying for cost-share funds from CDFA's Climate Smart Agriculture programs, helping with filing paperwork with CDFA and implementing the cost-shared Climate Smart Agriculture practices. All of our technical assistance providers are currently working remotely and available via email, telephone, Zoom and other virtual communications technologies.
The University of California is vigilantly monitoring and responding to new information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which has been declared a global health emergency. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources employees are working remotely during their normal business hours and performing essential duties (such as feeding animals), protective measures that align with COVID-19 guidance from public health officials and the UC Office of the President. This status will be in effect through April 7, 2020, and may be extended.
We are also mindful of official guidance concerning social distancing; all in-person events will be canceled, postponed or conducted by Zoom through April 7 or until the guidance is modified. This includes all volunteer-led youth or adult programming, meetings or gatherings. Visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/PSU/ or contact your local UC Cooperative Extension office for information on event status.
Again, we are working and available. UC ANR is maintaining critical research projects and delivering programs online. We are exploring innovative ways to connect with the public using technology and working with our partners. UC ANR employees can be reached as normal through email or Zoom video conferencing.
Useful information is available at the following links.
- 4-H Youth Development Program
- Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
- UC Master Food Preserver Program
- UC Master Gardener Program
Find your local UC Cooperative Extension office contact information here.
Additional information from our programs may be found at:
- Agricultural Issues Center
- California Institute for Water Resources
- California Naturalist Program
- CalFresh Healthy Living, UC
- Informatics and GIS Program
- Nutrition Policy Institute
- Research and Extension Center System
- Research and Information Centers
- Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM)
- Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP)
We also encourage members of the public to subscribe to our YouTube channels and follow our social media platforms:
- UC ANR (English)
- UC ANR (Spanish)
- Master Gardener Program
- Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM)
We look forward to seeing you online for the present time. What else can we do to help you? Send your suggestions to UC ANR Strategic Communications.
Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources, issued the following statement today (Sept. 18):
Earlier today (Sept. 18), UC President Janet Napolitano announced that she will be stepping down as president of the University in August 2020. President Napolitano joined UC as the first woman to lead the university in 2013.
We are thankful for President Napolitano's leadership and vision to address critical issues that affect California, the rest of the country and the world.
Recognizing the challenge of feeding a growing worldwide population, Napolitano launched the Global Food Initiative to inspire more collaboration and draw from the collective resources of all 10 UC campuses, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop solutions for food security, health and sustainability.
To address the threat of climate change, she created the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which marshals resources from across the UC system to research and develop ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To attract and retain top-flight academics, she created the Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs to help UC campuses and UC ANR encourage donors to establish endowed chairs to fund research. The Presidential Match has enabled UC ANR to fill five endowed positions in UC Cooperative Extension, ensuring the scientists will have a dedicated source of funding for their ongoing agricultural research.
Finally, she emphasized the university's commitment to diversity by taking actions to let immigrant and LGBTQ members of the UC community know they are welcome and supported.
The UC Board of Regents will soon appoint a search committee to start a national search for the next president of the University. Per policy, the search committee will include student, academic and alumni representatives who will seek input from the UC community and the public.
More information, including highlights of President Napolitano's tenure at the University, can be found at https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/university-california-president-janet-napolitano-announces-decision-step-down-next-year.
- Author: Liz Sizensky
- Author: Ann Brody Guy
The San Francisco Chronicle reported this exercise in a 2016 interview with Crawford about newly approved USDA nutrition labels that would include added sugar information and thereby eliminate the need for such complex computations by consumers. Sadly, these nutrition guidelines have yet to come out. Why not, if we know that added sugar is related to heart disease, diabetes, tooth decay and other negative health conditions? Why hasn't this regulation been adopted? Crawford works to provide the research needed by policymakers to reduce the barriers to implementation of helpful policies such as this one.
Pat Crawford's work on improved food labeling is but one example of the way that for decades her timely and rigorous research has demonstrated the role of sugary foods and beverages in the development of diabetes, and obesity and in helping to fuel America's childhood obesity epidemic. In countless ways Crawford, who is retiring this year after more than 40 years of service at the University of California, has supported the adoption of public policies that promote safer, healthier food and beverages for all people, across the state and the nation.
You can draw direct lines from her resume to countless major policy advances in nutrition education and public health. Since earning her master's degree in public health nutrition and her registered dietician credential at UC Berkeley in 1972, Crawford has been a force of unceasing productivity as a researcher, an evaluator, an educator and a leader. Early in her career she managed the nation's largest biracial study of girls' health, the National Growth and Health Study. During the course of this long-term study, she went back to school to obtain her doctorate in public health nutrition. She soon was hired as the first UC Cooperative Extension Nutrition and Obesity Prevention specialist and she co-founded and directed UC Berkeley's Atkins Center for Weight and Health. The work of the center focused largely on food and nutrition policy to improve the health of children, and it provided a structure whereby University research could be effectively shared with community health workers throughout the state. Local and state health professionals found in the center an extension partner eager to conduct research that would answer important questions and provide real-world solutions, productively linking research, policy and practice.
The Center for Weight and Health, which in 2015 merged with the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), became known for rigorous research that is aligned with UC ANR's core values of addressing food security, obesity, socioeconomically based health disparities, and access to healthy foods. After the merger, Crawford became NPI's Senior Director of Research, working with her long time collaborator, Lorrene Ritchie, the NPI director.
Ritchie stated that in addition to Crawford's academic achievements, she is the consummate mentor — a “career godmother” for Ritchie and many others. She said, “Pat has an uncanny ability of knowing what you are good at — even before you yourself do — and mentoring you to build on that strength. Likewise, she has an uncanny ability to know your weaknesses, and help you to overcome those by developing new skills or pairing you with others who have those skills.”
That kind of nurturing is rare, Ritchie noted, particularly in the competitive environment of academia. Through mentoring, she added, Crawford has ensured new generations of researchers will continue this work.
“Pat has proven that you can be caring and compassionate yet still be highly effective.”
What does highly effective look like? A few examples illustrate the impact that Pat Crawford's work has had on nutrition policies and trends.
To improve the food environment at child care centers and schools, the Center/NPI provided the evidence for:
- California's 2010 Healthy Beverages in Childcare Law, requiring child care centers to make water and other healthy beverages available at all times.
- The 2013 Foundations for Healthy Nutrition in Childcare Act, requiring nutrition education for all child care providers.
- “Competitive food” policies — banning unhealthy sodas and snacks that competed with more nutritious school lunches — a policy that started in California and later was implemented at the federal level in the USDA's 2016 “Smart Snacks Standards.”
- The expansion of school garden and cooking programs in California and nationwide.
- An expansion of support for replacing packaged foods with healthier scratch cooking in school cafeterias.
To promote more nutritious food in programs serving low-income families the Center/NPI advocated:
- Improvements in the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program including quadrupling the amount of vegetables and legumes WIC provides and adding information about physical activity needs for young children.
- Food bank policies that increase the amount of fruits and vegetables distributed and reduce the amount of snack foods and sugary beverages. Their free online course on how to make these policy shifts is a popular web resource for food banks across the country.
To advance education and communication:
- Crawford co-founded the first interdisciplinary conference on childhood obesity. Twenty years later, the biennial meeting is the premier obesity conference in the nation.
- The “My Healthy Plate” nutrition-education tool, which replaced the old Healthy Eating Pyramid, was developed, tested, presented and promoted by Crawford and her extension colleagues before the plate concept was officially adopted by USDA in 2011.
- California became the first state to put calories on chain-restaurant menus. Crawford's evaluation of Kaiser Permanente's pilot study of menu-board labeling provided the evidence needed by policymakers. Calorie labeling in chain restaurants has been expanded nationwide.
- Crawford's evaluation of California's SNAP-Ed program, the education arm of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (or SNAP, previously known as food stamps), has informed programming focused on the prevention of chronic disease through efficacious nutrition changes in the environment.
Although Crawford would be quick to tell you that her work is collaborative, she has been a researcher or important influence on nearly every population-based nutrition policy success. She has served as president of the California Nutrition Council and on countless state and national committees and task forces focused on improving health and addressing obesity, including being an advisor to California's Let's Get Healthy Task Force. Most recently, she co-authored a seminal Healthy People 2020 report for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, on model policies to increase fruit and vegetable intake in the population.
Training the next generation
Given her commitment and her influence, it's no wonder that Pat Crawford won the 2013 David Kessler Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Public's Health, as well as multiple honors from the American Public Health Association. In 2018, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health honored Crawford as one of its 75 most influential alumni in recognition of her significant contributions to reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity in California and across the country. And she's not done yet — as an emeritus Cooperative Extension specialist, her research will go on. That won't surprise anyone who knows her. As Crawford said in a 2015 interview, “What keeps me passionate is knowing that change is possible when high-quality, policy-relevant research is conducted and communicated to decision-makers and those who work with children.”
To honor the work that Crawford does and to continue this kind of work, the Nutrition Policy Institute has established a student fellowship fund to train the next generation of students on nutrition research and its policy impacts. Donors to the student fellowship fund help honor Crawford and help NPI continue its work to improve the nutrition and health of children.