- Guest Blogger: Joseph Nosrat-CSUCI Student
Alli explained that the State Water and Efficiency Sweep is one of the programs she works on that is focused on irrigation upgrades, pump retrofits as well as any practice that reduces water and energy use. This is important to avocado growers along with almost any kind of tree grower who might have access to a pump and can manage irrigation networks. She also runs the Healthy Soils program which is focused on any practice that helps sequester carbon in the soil to reduce greenhouse gases. The soil demands are different with each system which creates complex needs with each grant project. Alli explained, “I kind of act as a communication bridge between scientific advisors and the farmers or ranchers”. Alli does the grant writing for these programs as well as helps farmers implement new practices acting as a helpful intermediary. A 32-acre plot that will be transitioned from row crops to avocado crops is one noteworthy grant project Alli discussed. The problem is the soil was heavily tilled by previous owners which stripped it of carbon rich nutrients. Alli explained, “the research component is looking at different cover crop mixes with each season to build up organic matter”. In this project reducing the disturbance of soil and reintroducing organic matter are the key factors to restoring the soil to grow avocado crops.
Alli will also be a guest educator explaining climate smart agriculture at HAREC and she will help deliver the 4-H Sustainable Youth Summer Camp 2019 in June.
- Author: Susana C. Bruzzone-Miller
Cooking is one of my greatest joys. So, when Master Gardener lead, Susan Carter asked me to teach a Cooking with Herbs class for fellow gardeners last year, I jumped at the chance. I was even more thrilled to be invited back for a command performance.
A previous MG continuing education focused on how to grow herbs. This class was all about prepping and storing fresh herbs, methods for drying herbs, when to use fresh vs dry herbs and cooking demo of easy recipes. By far the best part of the April 17 two-hour class, was tasting. Participants learned how to make and sampled herb and fruit infused waters, cilantro pesto, basil vinaigrette, lemon-thyme tea bread and three herb green bean salad. Over 30 VC Master Gardeners participated.
Green Bean & Herb Salad
2 lbs. fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. each fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup each chopped fresh basil, chives, cilantro
1 cup sliced red onion or shallot thinly sliced
¾ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup feta cheese, crumbles
Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse vegetables and herbs with cold water
- Bring large sauce pan of lightly salted water to boil. Drop green beans into water and cook until bright green and slightly softened—about 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into cold water to cool. Drain and pat dry.
- In a small bowl whisk together lemon, mustard, oil to make dressing.
- In a large bowl, combine green beans, herbs, onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon dressing and toss well. Before serving add feta cheese and walnuts.
Source: Sunset Magazine. Adapted from a recipe featured in January 2014
- Guest Blogger: Joseph Nosrat-CSUCI Student
A warm HAREC welcome to Dr. Tracylee Clarke and her Leadership Studies class from CSU Channel Islands. Dr. Clarke brought 22 students to see how leadership skills learned in class might be applied on a Research and Education Center. Throughout the visit, Dr. Clarke, referred students to curriculum learned in class and how it is reflected at the Center. Some students are environmental communication majors who might come to volunteer at UC HAREC in the future for their capstone project.
Dr. Annemiek Schilder, Center Director, provided insight into Ventura County agriculture and research projects in progress at UC HAREC. Dr. Schilder also provided insight from her personal history with agriculture and explained how she sharpened her expertise over time. One student asked Dr. Schilder whether UC HAREC is doing research on hemp. She emphasized that industrial hemp is different from cannabis even though they are the same plant species. Industrial hemp is grown for its high-quality fiber and CBD oil and does not have the chemicals (especially THC) that make people high. At this time, help in California can only be grown under a research agreement and registration with the county agricultural commissioner. At harvest, the THC level must be under 0.3%; if it is above that, the crop will be destroyed.
Susana Bruzzone-Miller, Youth, Family & Community Education Program Manager, discussed youth education program opportunities at the Center. She also reviewed potential career paths and internships opportunities for communication majors at the Center. After the presentation, she led students on a tour of the grounds stopping at each research project to briefly describe. The class concluded their field trip with an opportunity to harvest kale, beets, carrots and sugar snap peas.
Oscar Vasquez commented, “I have been to the farm before and I always find it fascinating when I get to walk around the research projects that are in progress. The students were very perceptive and showed genuine interest in the discussion about research at UC HAREC as well as within the industry. A great opportunity to get real-world exposure while still in college.
- Contributor: Joseph Nosrat-CSUCI Student Guest Blogger
4-H Student Farm is an after-school program that has inspired students to engage in healthier eating habits and learn where their food comes from. The six week program also provides an opportunity for middle schoolers to acquaint themselves with agriculture. The students follow a curriculum that touches on the agriculture industry, the complexity of good soil, importance of pollinators as well as the practices of planting and harvesting.
When asked about their experience with the program, students had this to say...
“I loved the planting and outdoor activities, my favorite subject we learned was the one about pollinators. I wish I could come back next year.”--Morgan
“My favorite part of student farm was the planting outside, and I enjoyed learning about pollinators. I look forward to coming back next year.”--Destiny
“I thought the pollinators were interesting and it's cool that some only fly at night. My favorite thing to do was the cooking activities, I can't wait to come back next year.”--Louie
Twelve students from Ventura Unified School District participated in...
- Author: Susana C. Bruzzone-Miller
Joseph obtained an Associate Degree at Mt. San Antonio College. He was on course to become a civil engineer when he found his true calling for communications in a public speaking course. A transfer student to CSUCI, Joseph chose a Bachelor of Science Communication major with emphasis on the Environment Studies. Living in Ventura County Joseph began to connect the importance of agriculture with the environment “and the copious opinions associated with agriculture”. In his final semester, Joseph is honing his communication skills in advanced course work—environmental conflict and resolution course encourages students to mirror both sides of environmental conflicts without bias. And a collaboration innovation and teamwork course places groups of students to work in local non-profits.
Upon graduation in May 2019, Joseph is interested in pursuing a job with the National Parks Service or The Nature Conservancy. Long-term plans include furthering his education in graduate school. Joseph believes “there is a future in the environment and that future begins with communication along with resolving contrasting opinions”.
His spring internship at HAREC will put Joseph's public speaking and communications skills to good use. Joseph will be working along-side staff and volunteers in the 4-H Farm Field Trip and Student Farm programs to deliver agricultural literacy, nutrition, and sustainability concepts to youth ages Kindergarten to 8th grade. Joseph will also be a guest blogger for Hansen News.