Feeding America published a new resource, the Nutrition in Food Banking Toolkit, aimed to guide the charitable food sector to better meet the nutritional and cultural food needs of people they serve. The toolkit, released on March 23, 2021, was developed by Feeding America's Nutritious Food Revisioning Task Force, made up of more than a dozen food banks and national organization staff, with input and expertise from partnering organizations. This first edition of the Nutrition in Food Banking Toolkit is composed of three main sections, each focused on a different aspect of the charitable food system. Healthy Eating Research (HER) Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System provides recommendations to improve the quality of food in food banks and food pantries in order to increase access to healthier food for food-insecure households. Applying an Intercultural Competence Lens provides insights and recommendations for developing nutrition-related cultural competence at the organizational, partner, and individual levels. Role of Food Bank Nutrition Policies: A Guide to Action provides food banks with strategies to achieve nutrition policies that lead to a more nutritious food supply. The final section on food bank nutrition policies was developed by University of California (UC) Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) researcher Karen Webb and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources advisor Laura Vollmer. This section was adapted from NPI's Guide to Drafting a Food Bank Nutrition Policy, which was created for the online course Developing a Food Bank Nutrition Policy. Toolkit partners include Healthy Eating Research (HER); the CDC's Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network; UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity; UC NPI; MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger; Partnership for a Healthier America; and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The toolkit is available online.
The Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation has released a new interactive resource for Indigenous communities and all communities interested in increasing consumption of drinking water in place of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). The resource, Increase Healthy Beverage Consumption and Reduce Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs): A Community Roadmap, displays easy-to-understand concepts, developed from high-level research. The resources guides users through five steps, each offering specific information, links and resources. It was created in partnership with the NB3 Foundation, the National Tribal Water Center, and the Nutrition Policy Institute's (NPI) Christina Hecht and Laura Vollmer, who coordinate NPI's National Drinking Water Alliance.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Douglas Amaral is the new pomology, water and soils advisor in Kings and Tulare counties
“I am very excited to be part of the UC Cooperative Extension system and am looking forward to serving growers, producers, processors, and support industries for their research and extension needs in the Southern San Joaquin Valley,” Amaral said.
Before joining UCCE, Amaral was a project scientist and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. His research has focused on the physiology and biochemistry of plant nutrient uptake, and molecular and genetic aspects of nutrient acquisition and tolerance in citrus, almonds, pistachios and other crops.
Amaral said he is currently meeting growers in Kings and Tulare counties and assessing their needs.
“Numerous research needs exist in the tree nut industries, including, but not limited to, irrigation and fertigation efficiency, salinity management, and water use improvement,” he said. “I believe that the most relevant scientific inquiries start with observations of the challenges faced in the field and the opinions of observant growers and the vision of industry leaders.”
Amaral, who was born and raised in Brazil, is fluent in Portuguese and English. He earned a doctoral degree in plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, a master's degree in plant nutrition and soil fertility at Federal University of Lavras, Brazil, and a bachelor's degree in biological sciences at University Center of Lavras, Brazil.
Amaral is based in Hanford and can be reached at (559) 852-2737 and firstname.lastname@example.org. His Twitter handle is @UCCE_DougAmaral.
Apurba Barman named UCCE integrated pest management advisor in Imperial County
"I am very excited for my new role as IPM advisor based in Southern California and for the opportunity to serve one of the most important vegetable production regions in the state,” Barman said. “The diversity and intensity of crop production in this region demand targeted research to solve pest management issues and effective extension programs to reach out diverse clientele. I feel prepared for this job with my experience and passion to serve the community.”
Barman earned a bachelor's degree at Assam Agricultural University in India, and a master's degree at Texas Tech University, Lubbock. In 2011, he completed a doctoral degree at Texas A&M University in College Station, where he worked on insect pests of cotton. Subsequently, he worked as a cotton extension entomologist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service and developed a research program to understand the extent of damage and management of thrips in the Texas High Plains region.
Barman comes to UC Cooperative Extension from the University of Georgia, where he led a whitefly monitoring and management program targeting cropping systems in the southern region of the state. Barman can be reached at (209) 285-9810, email@example.com. His Twitter handle is @Ento_Barman.
José Luiz Carvalho de Souza Dias named area agronomy advisor in the northern San Joaquin Valley
Prior to joining UCCE, Carvalho de Souza Dias was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he worked on identifying management practices and environmental factors to ensure successful establishment of alfalfa interseeded into corn silage, sustainable management of waterhemp in established alfalfa for dairy systems, and weed control, clover selectivity and resulting yield of grass-clover mixed swards.
“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with growers, industry and academia within the agriculture industry in the Central Valley. It is amazing how diversified, complex, and productive the different production systems can be in the region,” Carvalho de Souza Dias said. “Knowing that I have the chance to work with many different challenges present in economically viable and sustainable crop production is something that makes me very excited and looking forward to the future.”
Carvalho de Souza Dias earned a doctoral degree in agronomy with a focus on weed science from the University of Florida, a master's degree in crop protection and bachelor's in agronomy from São Paulo State University in Brazil. He is fluent in Portuguese and English.
His doctoral research centered on developing and implementing integrated management practices to reduce giant smutgrass populations in bahiagrass pastures. For his master's degree, he researched herbicide selectivity in sugarcane. Based in Merced, Carvalho de Souza Dias can be reached at (209) 385-7403 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCCE feedlot management specialist to work at UC ANR's Desert Research and Extension Center
Carvalho grew up on his family's cattle and crop farm in the state of Goias in Brazil. In 2012, while an undergraduate, he came to the United States to work as an intern in the beef cattle reproduction and nutrition labs at The Ohio State University.
After earning a bachelor's degree in animal science at Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil, he completed a master's degree at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He recently earned his doctoral degree at Pennsylvania State University, where he conducted research projects to enhance the efficiency of Holstein steers in the feedlot.
“My plan as an extensionist and researcher at the Desert Research and Extension Center is to first understand what the needs are from our feedlot operations in Imperial County,” Carvalho told Stacey Amparano, Farm Smart manager, who wrote a Q&A with him. “After that, I plan to implement and conduct actions (research projects and on-farm training) to help our beef producers and farmworkers. I really hope that I can bring value to our stakeholders by providing information on nutrition and management, as well as helping to train and improve the lives of the workers in feed yards of our state.”
Read the full text of Carvalho's Q&A with Stacey Amparano at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=43442. Carvalho can be reached at email@example.com and (217) 418-0202. Follow Carvalho on Twitter at @pedrocattle.
New youth, families and communities academic coordinator named for Central Coast counties
The new position was created in a reorganization, and allowed the office to maintain existing multi-disciplinary programs, including Master Food Preservers, Master Gardeners, 4-H and CalFresh Healthy Living, UC.
“I am excited to step into this new role,” Klisch said. “I know that my six years of experience managing the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program will help inform my academic work in community health and that experience has definitely helped prepare me for taking on a leadership role in the other Youth, Families and Communities program areas.”
As community education supervisor, Klisch led the expansion of 4-H programming across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties through the UC Garden Nutrition Extender program and the 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council youth engagement program. Prior to joining UC ANR, Klisch worked as a private consultant with the Center for Family Strengthening.
“I am looking forward to having the time and the mandate to publish the results and accumulated data of our work in food security, positive youth development and healthy communities,” she said.
Klisch earned a master's degree in community health education at San Jose State University and a bachelor's degree in anthropology and communication from UC San Diego. She holds credentials as a master community health education specialist and community health education specialist. Klisch is headquartered in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at (805) 781-5951 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gerardo Spinelli is the new production horticulture advisor in San Diego County
“Since I saw the job description for this position, I thought, ‘Wow, what a cool job!'” Spinelli said. “The agricultural setting of San Diego County is quite unique and so is this position. I'll be working with thousands of crops, ornamentals, flowers, succulents, palms. And if it wasn't enough, I also get to work with urban agriculture and a new and dynamic vegetable production industry in hydroponics. Can you dig it?”
Prior to joining UCCE San Diego, Spinelli worked for the Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District since 2015, focusing on irrigation and nitrogen management for strawberry and lettuce. He collaborated with UCCE advisor Michael Cahn to promote the adoption of CropManage, an online decision-support tool that helps farmers optimize irrigation and nitrogen application.
Spinelli also served as a visiting scientist at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources in the late 2010s, where he designed and built hydroponic farming systems for lettuce.
Spinelli grew up in Italy on an olive and vegetable farm on the hills overlooking Florence and is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish. He earned a bachelor's degree in agronomy and a master's degree in tropical agriculture at the University of Florence. He also earned a master's in international agricultural development and a doctorate in horticulture and agronomy at UC Davis. Spinelli can be reached at (858) 822-7679 and email@example.com.
Tian Tian is the new viticulture advisor in Kern County
“I feel very excited to join the UC Cooperative Extension and be part of this collaborative group,” Tian said. “I look forward to working with local growers and industry to improve management practices in the vineyard and increase the profit margin of table grape production.”
Tian earned a master's degree at California State University, Fresno, and a bachelor's degree at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China, both in viticulture and enology. For several years she worked in industry, including an internship at E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto and as the assistant vineyard manager at Berryessa Gap Vineyard in Winters.
Tian's doctoral research focused on development of better guidelines for vineyard nitrogen management for growers in the Willamette Valley. She and the research team evaluated the influences of vineyard nitrogen on vine productivity, fruit composition and wine characteristics in chardonnay and pinot noir.
Tian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Twitter handle is @TianUcce.
Laura Vollmer is the nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for the Bay Area
“As a multigenerational Bay Area resident (born and bred on the San Mateo County coast), it's a dream come true to serve the community that raised me,” Vollmer said. “The Bay Area has long been a leader in child nutrition and I am particularly excited for the opportunity to help implement and evaluate innovative programs that support the well-being of children and communities.
Vollmer previously worked at the UC Nutrition Policy Institute, where she helped to coordinate the National Drinking Water Alliance, a national network of allies working to ensure that all children in the U.S. can drink water in the places where they live, learn and play. She also contributed to research on food security and the charitable food assistance system, and on the impact of community nutrition and physical activity on children's health. Vollmer served as a grant writer and institutional giving associate for City Harvest, an anti-hunger nonprofit in New York City, for two years.
Vollmer earned a bachelor's degree in English at Wesleyan University and earned a master's degree in public health from UC Berkeley. She is a registered dietitian. She is a board chair of Oakland-based Youth Outside, which works to ensure equitable access to the outdoors. When she's not at work, Vollmer enjoys swimming in the ocean, cooking and hiking.
Vollmer can be reached at (650) 276-7429, email@example.com.
Grace Woodmansee is the new livestock and natural resources advisor in Northern California
“As an undergraduate research assistant at the Chico State Beef Unit, I discovered my passion for rangeland science and management a discipline that combines my interests in social, ecological and livestock production research,” said Woodmansee. “I am very excited to join the community of Siskiyou County and to work with ranchers and land managers to identify research priorities, develop projects and address challenges related to livestock production and natural resource management.”
Woodmansee has a bachelor's degree from Chico State and completed a master's degree in agronomy at UC Davis in November. She will be based in Yreka and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Laura Vollmer joined UC Cooperative Extension in San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties on Sept. 8, 2020, as a nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor.
For four years prior to becoming a UCCE advisor, Vollmer served as a policy analyst with the Nutrition Policy Institute. At NPI, she helped to provide strategic direction to the National Drinking Water Alliance, managed research, evaluation and policy advocacy efforts related to the charitable food assistance system and wrote policy briefs aimed at improving federal and state nutrition policy. She was a grant writer and institutional giving associate for City Harvest, an antihunger nonprofit in New York City, for two years.
She currently serves as a board member of Oakland-based Youth Outside, which works to ensure equitable access to the outdoors.
Vollmer is a registered dietitian and earned her Master of Public Health at UC Berkeley and Bachelor of Arts at Wesleyan University.
Vollmer is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7429 and
Mary Blackburn, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Alameda County, received the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Hall of Fame Award on Sept. 14.
“Your dedication to NEAFCS has been exhibited through the educational resources and leadership you have provided to your community, state and across the nation throughout the years to help families improve their living conditions,” Roxie Price, NEAFCS president, wrote to Blackburn.
Blackburn, who has served with UC Cooperative Extension since 1990, is nationally renowned for her pioneering work delivering research-based nutrition and quality of life education to senior citizens, pregnant teens and other vulnerable groups. Collaborating with the UC CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program staff and UC Master Gardener volunteers, she recently launched a gardening project designed to improve the nutrition, physical activity and overall well-being of senior citizens living in affordable housing in Oakland, with special consideration for seniors with physical limitations.
“Mary Blackburn has really made a difference in the lives of Bay Area residents. Her work with local communities makes it easier for people to stay active and eat healthy food,” said Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “It's wonderful to see her receive national recognition from her peers.”
Read more about Blackburn's career at https://bit.ly/2ShbLUj.
Tulare, Kings and Alameda nutrition teams win NEAFCS awards
UC ANR was well-represented at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Virtual Annual Session awards Sept. 14.
Deepa Srivastava, UCCE nutrition family and consumer sciences advisor in Tulare and Kings counties, and her CalFresh Healthy Living, UC & EFNEP Team was the second-place Western Region winner of the SNAP-ED/EFNEP award. Program supervisor Teresa Rios-Spicer and nutrition educators Marina Aguilera, Alice Escalante, Grilda G. Gomez, Maria Gutierrez, Mariana Lopez, Eldon Bueno and Susan L Lafferty share in the SNAP-ED/EFNEP award.
The third-place Western Region winner of the Community Partnership award was the Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP). The partnership coordinates and cross-promote SNAP-Ed and other public, private, and community programs, to benefits low income and vulnerable populations. Mary Blackburn, UCCE nutrition family and consumer sciences advisor for Alameda County, has represented UCCE in CNAP since the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) providers organized in 2006.
UC CalFresh program supervisor Tuline Baykal, Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition family and consumer sciences advisor and Leah Sourbeer, nutrition program supervisor, share in the Community Partnership award.
Partners include Alameda County Area Agency on Aging, Alameda County Community Food Bank, Alameda County Nutrition Services, City Slicker Farmers, Project EAT Alameda County Office of Education, Oakland Unified School District Health Wellness and Nutrition, Alameda County Social Services Agency, All In To End Hunger, Fresh Approach, Inc., Healthy Oakland People and Environments, Mandela Marketplace, Oakland Food Policy Council, and Alameda County Women, Infant and Children.
Nutrition Policy Institute is collaborating with The Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc. and Public Health Foundation Enterprises (PHFE), Inc. on two projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research Program, as announced today. NPI's Christina Hecht and Laura Vollmer, of NPI's National Drinking Water Alliance, received funding to collaborate with Sonya Shin at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc. on a project to expand and evaluate a community-based intervention to increase healthy beverage consumption by Navajo preschool children. The second project is a collaboration between NPI's Lorrene Ritchie and Lauren Au with Shannon Whaley of PHFE Women, Infants and Children (WIC) on a project that will pilot test and evaluate an expansion ofWIC's $9 per month cash value benefit for the purchase of fruits and vegetables to $23 per month. These research teams are being funded through Healthy Eating Research's annual call for proposals. This call for proposals focused exclusively on children ages 0-8, and the resulting projects focus on a range of topics, including WIC, healthy beverage consumption, and food purchasing patterns.