- Author: Karen Giovannini
2014 Annual Report letter from Stephanie Larson, County Director and Livestock & Range Management Advisor:
As we move into the next 100 years of Cooperative Extension, we continue to value the public/ private partnerships that have been the foundation of our organization, raising the bar by supporting the County of Sonoma Initiatives on local agriculture and healthy communities. UCCE advisors are critical partners with local farmers and ranchers, providing scientific-based information on techniques that can be used to increase production and thus increase economic stability, while addressing environmental concerns.
This past year, UCCE conducted research and provided educational programs to help commercial row crop farmers and livestock producers in Sonoma County deal with drought and climate change. Our frost tower research in vineyards evaluated methods for making the most of local water resources through increased irrigation efficiency. Water conservation programs are also focused on the urban gardener, partnering with the Sonoma County Water Agency to educate the public on how to use less water; and with the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to develop an evaluation tool for documenting ecosystem services that have been maintained or increased through implementing conservation easements and proper rangeland management.
We partnered with other county departments to increase access to healthy, local, sustainable food. One outcome was the County Land for Food Production (CLFP) project; which allowed UCCE to work on creating an incubator farm on county land. These efforts are aimed at increasing access to land for food production, and the number of farmers and ranchers growing local food, respectively. The goals align with the Sonoma County Healthy and Sustainable Food Action Plan. Our Agricultural Ombudsman played a critical role in assisting individuals who want to create or expand their farming and ranching enterprises, and is currently working with PRMD to address local poultry processing.
Learn about these programs and more in our 2014 Annual Report.
- Author: Julia Van Soelen Kim, UCCE North Bay Food Systems Advisor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Attendees were interested in learning the ins and outs of creating small-batch and artisanal “value-added” products featuring locally grown fruits and vegetables. Value-added production is an emerging food trend with the potential to help grow the local economy and support farmers' livelihood by tapping new revenue streams from preserving the peak of harvest and farm seconds which may otherwise go to waste.
The workshop opened with a warm welcome from Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt (District 2) and Supervisor Shirlee Zane (District 3) and thoughtful facilitation from Joseph McIntyre with Ag Innovations Network. These leaders “built a foundation of trust, care, and urgency for the work, resulting in a productive and energizing day for the audience and presenters alike,” explained Pamela Swan with Sonoma County's Department of Health Services.
The workshop was offered as part of the “Opportunities in Ag Business” series presented by UC Cooperative Extension and Sonoma County Department of Health Services and was generously sponsored by American Ag Credit. The workshop complemented the work of the Sonoma County Food System Alliance and helped move forward the goals of the Food Action Plan, the countywide vision for a vibrant local food system.
- Author: Karen Giovannini
North Bay iHub announces the first annual North Bay Innovation Week highlighting innovation in the North Bay the week of Sept 15 – 19 2014. A Relationship & Information Conference for Entrepreneurs – dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through a free, crowd-sourced, decentralized conference in the North Bay Tri counties, in which entrepreneurs connect and exchange ideas that inspire the entrepreneurial & innovative spirit, featuring a format that is hands-on and all about high-energy, sharing ideas, connecting with new people and stoking the fires of new possibilities.
Goals of the week-long conference will be to showcase the breadth and depth of North Bay organizations that stimulate innovation & entrepreneurship. Also to raise awareness of North Bay iHub as the umbrella organization that fosters collaboration between partners who offer education, mentoring, services and funds to entrepreneurs.
Wednesday's topic is Food System Innovation: Economic Development Marketing and is presented by Go Local, UC Cooperative Extension, CAFF (Community Alliance with Family Farmers) and Sonoma County Department of Health Services. There are two FREE events on September 17 with the same speakers at both events:
- South/Morning session: The Hatchery, 5701 Old Redwood Hwy, Penngrove – 10-11:15am
Register for the FREE morning session
- North/Evening session: The Shed, 25 North Street, Healdsburg – 5:30-6:15pm
Register for the FREE evening session
- Kenny Belov, TwoXSea (sustainable seafood company)
- Evan Wiig, Farmer's Guild (farmers thinking inside the row)
- Heather Granahan, CAFF (innovative opportunity seeking entrepreneurs)
- Terry Garrett, GO LOCAL (Made Local Magazine publisher)