Dennis Pittenger, UC Cooperative Extension's area environmental horticulture advisor, released a new study, "Evaluation of Interspecific Hybrid Pears for Use in Southern California Landscapes." Pittenger looked at finding new varieties of ornamental pears in order to improve the performance and increase the use of these trees.
Conducted at the agricultural experiment station at the University of California at Riverside, he planted six promising, but untried hybrid pear selections from a breeding program by the nonprofit Landscape Plant Development Center and Washington State University. Unlike the Bradford ornamental pear and its close relative, the Kawakami pear, the new varieties have better disease resistance and branch structure. Their suitability, disease resistance and flowering abilities were evaluated for five years, and Pittenger concluded that three of the new hybrids are great trees for today's small-scale landscapes in Southern California.
"Three new hybrids showed slow growth, which keeps them small," said Pittenger. "Slow growth can be great in the landscape, but it might mean these trees are too slow for a nursery to grow profitably," he added.
For Pittenger, the next step is to communicate his findings to wholesale nursery growers and see if any want to try out these new varieties of ornamental pears. If the growers are interested, Pittenger will need to spend some time working out the best ways to properly grow the trees.
For more information on the study, please contact Dennis Pittenger at (951) 827-3320, firstname.lastname@example.org. To visit the Center for Landscape and Urban Horticulture, click on http://groups.ucanr.org/CLUH/.
Due to a renewed interest in food preservation, Cooperative Extension will bring back the Master Food Preserver (MFP) program to Los Angeles County.
Classes will begin on Monday, March 28, and meet every Monday until June 20, 2011. Conducted at UC Cooperative Extension office in East Los Angeles, the classes will be led by UC Master Food Perserver Ernest Miller, a formally trained chef. Miller has years of experience with home food preservation and is the chef at The Farmer's Kitchen, a project of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (the nonprofit organization that manages eight farmers markets in the Los Angeles area, and includes LA's largest market, the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market). Participants will learn how to can, ferment, pickle, cure, smoke, dehydrate and brew.
"As the sole Master Food Preserver in Los Angeles for more than a year, I know that there is a tremendous interest in traditional methods of food preservation," said Miller. "We also teach people skills on proper emergency food preparation. The immense tragedy taking place in Japan illustrates the need for people to learn how to prepare for natural disasters in earthquake-prone California," he added.
Once trained, the Master Food Preservers will conduct food preservation workshops for the general public. The response to this program has been tremendous. Many preservation enthusiasts are looking forward to MFP-led workshops and are hoping to become certified MFPs in the future.
Support for the Master Food Preserver program is provided by the Metabollic Studio, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation.
For more information, please contact Brenda Roche at (323) 260-3299, email@example.com.
Cooperative Extension will launch its third round of the "Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative" gardening workshops this spring.
The initiative helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard or at a community garden, bringing together local families and neighborhoods to share their experiences, skills and produce. Participants will be able to turn their new interest into successful, productive gardens that will generate positive changes in their homes by helping to lower grocery bills and enhance opportunities to eat healthy, nutritious foods.
Master Gardener volunteers will organize and lead low-cost gardening circles and teach the basics of gardening. Eighteen gardening circles are scheduled to throughout LA County. Each circle will meet about four times, mainly on weekends, to receive instructions and engage in hands-on activities. Participants will become UC-certified Victory Gardeners upon completing the series.
"Last year's initiative was a wonderful success with more than 700 participants," said Yvonne Savio, Common Ground Garden program manager. "Graduates of the series continue to meet informally in neighborhood gardening circles where they share what they've learned, their harvests and new seedlings," she added.
For more information on the "Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative," please contact Yvonne Savio at (323) 260-3407, firstname.lastname@example.org. The schedule of classes can be found by clicking here.
The University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County is partnering with the Foundation for Early Childhood Education to help local East LA families make healthy food choices while celebrating National Nutrition Month. The event, "March into Health!," will take place in Cooperative Extension's demonstration kitchen in East LA.
When: Friday, March 11, 2011
Time: 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
Where: UC Cooperative Extension Office, 4800 E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90022
Participants will receive tips to improving their fruit and vegetable consumption; learn about healthy snack ideas for children; taste test delicious recipes; visit interactive booths and receive valuable information for their families; and be able to win door prizes.
For more information on this event, please contact Brenda Roche, nutrition, family & consumer science advisor at (323) 260-3299, email@example.com. For more information on UC Cooperative Extension's program offerings, please visit http://celosangeles.ucdavis.edu.
To combat the rising trend of childhood obesity in Los Angeles County schools, fourth and fifth grade students and their parents are participating in the "Kid Healthy--Steps to Healthy Living" campaign. Illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other medical complications are linked to obesity; and controlling weight problems early in life--when they can be better managed--is critical to better health later on.
From March 1 to April 30, students and their parents will learn more about nutrition and exercise. Students will get a free pedometer, courtesy of Kaiser Permanente, to track their walking and running. Logging what they eat during the four-week campaign will help students understand the relationship between exercise, eating and weight management.
Fourth and fifth graders are targeted because research shows this is when many children begin taking an active role and interest in their health as they move into their teen years. It's an ideal time to reach them and reinforce the important messages of healthy eating and exercise.
The Kid Healthy campaign was founded by ABC7 in 2003 and is a partnership with the Network for a Healthy California--Children's Power Play! Campaign as well as schools, teachers and parents. UC Cooperative Extension manages the Power Play! Campaign in Los Angeles County.
Source: Kid Healthy--Steps to Healthy Living Campaign, 2011