- (Focus Area) Health
The California Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot Project aims to develop and refine a scalable model for increasing the purchase and consumption of California-grown fresh fruits and vegetables by delivering supplemental benefits to CalFresh recipients in a way that can be easily adopted by USDA Food and Nutrition Service authorized retailers in the future. The California Department of Social Services EBT, in partnership with CalFresh, Office of Systems Integration, and California Department of Food & Agriculture awarded three grants to non-profit organizations or government agencies to meet this goal. Nutrition Policy Institute's Wendi Gosliner received $90,313 as part of a larger $537,690 grant from CDSS to collaborate with the Ecology Center to evaluate and understand the experiences and impacts of the pilot project on farmers' market managers, vendors, and CalFresh shoppers. The Ecology Center of Berkeley coordinates the Market Match consortium and will pilot the new program in Los Angeles, San Bernadino, Alameda, Napa and Sacramento counties. The two-year project began on October 1, 2022. The NPI project team includes Carolyn Chelius and Sridharshi Hewawitharana. Gosliner has conducted evaluations of CDFA's Nutrition Incentive Program for the past five years.
- Author: Janet Hartin
Fall is a great time to plant trees in our urban landscapes. Temperatures are cooler than summer and trees adjust to transplanting much better than during the heat of summer.
Why trees? Trees reduce surface temperatures of asphalt and other dark impervious surfaces by over 60 degrees F in inland cities during spring and summer. They also reduce energy usage and costs, enhance habitat and pollinator populations, absorb and store carbon dioxide, provide oxygen for our subsistence, reduce erosion, reduce glare and noise, add beauty to our neighborhoods, and enhance mental and emotional health.
I am appreciative to UCCE San Bernardino County Master Gardener trainee Alex Shippee for his graphic design wizardry, making a drab publication on planting trees inviting and appealing to read.
Have more questions about your trees? Contact the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener tree helpline in San Bernardino County. firstname.lastname@example.org or our general telephone helpline at (909)387-2182 or email email@example.com where your gardening questions can also be addressed. (You will also reach this website by following the QR code link above.) We also have this handout available in Spanish.
- Author: Deborah Schnur
For the first time in three years, the California Agriculture in the Classroom Conference was held in-person this past September. Ventura County, with its rich agricultural heritage, was the perfect location for the conference to make its comeback. Growing up on the beaches of Long Island, New York, I was excited to attend the conference and spend some time by the shore. The conference agenda was filled with opportunities to learn and network through tours, presentations, exhibits, workshops, and discussions. Best of all, I returned home with three full bags of materials to use for school and environmental education.
Pre-Conference Tour and Reception
My second favorite part of the tour was walking through Air Force One and seeing how it was used during Reagan's time. The plane was retired after Reagan left office and moved to the site of the Library, where the building was constructed around it. The Air Force One Pavilion also houses vehicles from the presidential motorcade.
After the tour, I returned to the hotel for conference registration and a reception with Maureen McGuire,CEO of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County. I also took some time to network with exhibitors including the California Farm Bureau, California Women for Agriculture,Ventura County Farm to School, Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), and the Ventura County Agricultural Museum.
The last speaker was Christine Birdsong, the Undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, who emphasized the importance of agricultural literacy for students and teachers. Because California has about 24 million acres of agricultural land and $20 billion in agricultural exports, the state's economic health is closely tied to agriculture. Agriculture is a growing career field that increasingly relies on technology, and a diverse group of young farmers is needed to replace those who are retiring.
The opening session was followed by two workshop sessions. The first workshop I attended was “Youth Can Run a School Garden Program”, presented by Abbi Mars of UC CalFresh Healthy Living and students from Arthur Hapgood Elementary in Lompoc. I was inspired to hear how fifth and sixth grade students run all aspects of the school garden and teach younger students about gardening and nutrition. The student leaders rotate through different teams to learn about composting, fruit tree care, hydroponics, harvesting, and teaching. At the end of the workshop, the students gave a demonstration of the “Pest or Pal?” lesson from the CalFresh TWIGS (Teams with Intergenerational Support) curriculum.
My second workshop was “Bringing Gardening into the Classroom”, led by Veronica VanCleave-Hunt of CalFresh Healthy Living. She and her colleague presented three TWIGS garden lessons that can be taught in the classroom without a garden. The first lesson was “Seed Magic” where students dissect a seed and identify the parts. The workshop attendees received lima bean seeds that had been soaked in water and were instructed to remove the seed coat and identify the leaves, root, and cotyledon (food source). Who knew a simple seed could be so interesting?
The second lesson was “Soil” where we used our senses to observe the soil components of sand, silt, and clay. Then we learned how to conduct a soil test by mixing a soil sample with water in a jar and watching the layers separate. The final lesson was “Eat Your Plants” about how food can come from all plant parts: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. The workshop instructors passed around bags, and the attendees tried to identify the fruit or vegetable inside and the plant part.
After the workshops, we were treated to a hearty lunch and an engaging talk from Coach Kiah Twisselman Burchett, “Grow Through It: Blooming Through Hardship”. Coach Kiah is a cattle rancher turned motivational speaker who shares her triumphs and struggles with body image and weight loss to empower others to find joy in life.
Field Trips and Taste of California Dinner
The day ended with the Taste of California at the Ventura County Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula. Each of the 13 tables was decorated according to a theme by a host organization. Hosts ranged from the Santa Paula High School Ag Department to the California Farmland Trust. I opted for the “CA Central Coast Cornucopia of Freshness” table hosted by the California Women for Agriculture, Ventura County. After a welcome from Shannon Douglass of the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, Coach Kiah took the reins as the emcee for some table games. At the end of the night, I filled a bag with take-home gifts of seeds, citrus, trail mix, and local Blue Ridge honey from my table host.
After the panel were the Make ‘n Takes, 20-minute activities to share with students. During the Beads and Books session, I made a daisy beaded bookmark from natural materials. From the Orange You Glad We Have Farmland? session, I learned the percentage of land available to grow food for the world–only 3 percent! The MyPlate Nutrition activity demonstrated ways to introduce the five food groups to students and help them list foods in each group.
I was sad to see the California Ag in the Classroom Conference come to an end but happy to spend a few hours on the beach before heading home. Next year, I look forward to attending the state conference again and maybe even the national conference in Orlando! If you're involved in agriculture education, I highly recommend checking out the resources that Ag in the Clasroom offers at https://learnaboutag.org and https://agclassroom.org.
Have you enjoyed reading this blog? Do you have questions? Need help with school gardens or environmental education? If so, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The occasion: the college's Award of Distinction dinner and ceremony, held Nov. 3 in the Activities and Recreation Center Ballroom.
Page, considered by his peers as the world's leading honey bee geneticist, traces his "bee biology roots" to UC Davis. He drew a standing ovation.
Page received his doctorate in entomology in 1980 from UC Davis, studying with Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., and went on to join the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty in 1989 and chair the department from 1999 to 2004. He then transitioned to emeritus and was recruited by Arizona State University (ASU) to be the founding director of its School of Life Sciences. His career at ASU led to a series of top-level administrative roles: from founding director of the School of Life Sciences (2004-2010) to vice provost and dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2011-2013) and then to University Provost, 2014-2015.
"Rob is a pioneering researcher in the field of evolutionary genetics and social behavior of honey bees, and a highly respected and quoted author, teacher and former administrator,” wrote nominator Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
While at UC Davis, Page worked closely with Laidlaw, "the father of honey bee genetics." Together they published many significant research papers and the landmark book, “Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding” (Wicwas Press, 1998), considered the most important resource book for honey bee genetics, breeding, and queen rearing.
For 24 years, from 1989 to 2015, Page maintained a UC Davis honey bee-breeding program, managed by bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk. Their contributions include discovering a link between social behavior and maternal traits in bees. Their work was featured in a cover story in the journal Nature. In all, Nature featured his work on four covers from work mostly done at UC Davis.
Since his retirement from UC Davis, Page has published 65 research papers, eight major reviews and two scholarly books, many using his UC Davis affiliation. He authored “The Spirit of the Hive: The Mechanisms of Social Evolution” (Harvard University Press, 2013) and the “Art of the Bee: Shaping the Environment from Landscapes to Societies” (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Now residing near Davis, Page continues to focus his research on honey bee behavior and population genetics, particularly the evolution of complex social behavior. His continuing academic activities bring credit to bee biology and UC Davis, Nadler said. “His large number of publications and citations continue to be an important component of the high national rating of our entomology department.”
To date, Page has published more than 250 research papers and articles, edited or authored five books, and is listed as a “highly-cited author” by the ISI Web of Knowledge, representing the top 1/2 of one percent of publishing scientists.
Page continues to work closely with UC Davis professors and students, offering advice, helping them with grants, and editing manuscripts. A few years ago, he held an international workshop at the Laidlaw facility. He teaches courses (including “The Social Contract: from Rousseau to the Honey Bee,” and “The Song of the Queen: Thrilling Tales of Honey Bee Mating Behavior”) for the UC Davis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).
“Not surprisingly, Dr. Page humbly considers his most far-reaching and important accomplishment, the success of his mentees, including at least 25 graduate students and postdocs who are now faculty members at leading research institutions around the world,” Nadler wrote. “He also built two modern apicultural labs (in Ohio and Arizona), major legacies that are centers of honey bee research and training. He has trained many hundreds of beekeepers. His public service now extends to working as a Fellow with the California Academy of Sciences.”
Among Page's many honors:
- Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Awardee of the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award (the Humboldt Prize - the highest honor given by the German government to foreign scientists)
- Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences
- Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Elected to the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences (the longest continuing academy in the world)
- Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
- Fellow of the Entomological Society of America
- Awardee of the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Fellowship
- Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences
- Fellow, Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation, Munich, Germany, September 2017-August 2018
- Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Award from UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- James Creasman Award of Excellence (ASU Alumni Association)
- Regents Professor, Arizona State University
- UC Davis Distinguished Emeritus Professor
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The Paleolithic rock art depicts a person smoking a beehive. Also quite visible: the honeycomb and the bees. "The keeping of bees" dates back to 10,000 years ago when humans began maintaining colonies of wild bees in such artificial hives as hollow logs, wooden boxes, pottery vessels, or woven straw baskets (skeps), according to Wikipedia.
Mussen never talked much about the rock art or where he got it, but a quick TinEye reverse image search indicates the original apparently belongs to the International Bee Research Association (IBRA), which "promotes the value of bees by providing information on bee science and beekeeping worldwide."
The same image of the rock art appears in Eva Crane's book, "The Rock Art of Honey Hunters," published by IBRA in 2011. Then behavioral ecologist and nutrititional anthroplogist Alyssa Crittenden of the University of Nevada published "The Importance of Honey Consumption in Human Evolution" in December 2011 in the journal Food and Foodways, and used the same image (see ResearchGate).
The Crittenden abstract: "It has been suggested that honey may have been an important food source for early members of the genus Homo, yet the importance of meat and savanna plant foods continue to be stressed as the most relevant foods in dietary reconstructions. Here, the importance of honey and bee larvae in hominin diets is explored. Ethnographic reports, examples of Paleolithic rock art, and evidence from non-human primates are used to show that early hominins likely targeted beehives using the Oldowan tool kit. The consumption of honey and bee larvae likely provided significant amounts of energy, supplementing meat and plant foods. The ability to find and exploit beehives using stone tools may have been an innovation that allowed early Homo to nutritionally out-compete other species and may have provided critical energy to fuel the enlarging hominin brain."
The Smithsonian magazine's piece on "Humans, the Honey Hunters: Energy-Rich Honey May Have Helped Hominids Evolve Big Brains," published Dec. 19, 2011, also includes the illustration. Author Erin Wayman wrote that Crittenden considers honey a super food. "It's very energy dense, about 80 to 95 percent sugar, and it's a good source of the glucose needed to nurture brain development," Wayman wrote. "Wild honey also contains traces of bee larvae, adding fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. And on top of that, it's easy to digest. The nutritional benefits of honey are clear, but there is no concrete evidence in the fossil record of hominids eating honey; honey consumption doesn't leave behind the kind of scraps that can fossilize the way that hunting and butchering does. So Crittenden relies on some indirect clues to bolster her argument." (See more here.)
Eric considered "starthistle honey" his favorite honey varietal. If he were still with us, he'd be attending The HIVE's big anniversary party on Saturday, Nov. 12. It will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 1221 Harter Ave., Woodland.
HIVE Public Celebration. "We're celebrating 43 years in business as Z Specialty Food and the completion of our first year in our new home, The HIVE," Amina Harris, the Queen Bee of Z Specialty Food, wrote us in a Nov. 1 email. "This celebratory event includes a full schedule of interactive activities. Guests will learn how to taste honey and mead (honey wine), participate in tours of our production facility and pollinator gardens and relax in the courtyard while listening to live music from Royal Jelly Jive, The Gold Souls and Nathan Ignacio. For more information, visit our website: here."
Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, worked closely with Mussen. She wrote this about him in her tribute: "When I first came to California in the early 1980s, I was working with my husband establishing and growing a varietal honey company. One of the first people I met at UC Davis was Eric Mussen, the state apiculturist. Eric was someone who had a lot of answers to a lot of questions! Ever the educator, Eric was well versed in all of the issues of the bee world and readily shared his knowledge with any and everyone who asked. His answers were always down to earth and understandable, with his wry Midwestern sense of humor running underneath. You'd ask a question – and you always got an answer!"
Amina's husband, Ishai Zeldner, who died in 2018 at age 71, founded Z Specialty Food. Like Amina, Ishai was close friends with Eric Mussen.
And just like Eric, Ishai favored the honey varietal, starthistle./span>