- Author: Wendy Powers
I'm anxious to hear how the RCAS tour went that was hosted this year in California. It wraps up today. Lisa Fischer chaired the tour planning committee that included a number of Advisors, Specialists, and REC Directors. One of the tour stops was the Kearney REC. It looked to be a great tour, but one I unfortunately couldn't participate in. I did have a chance to meet the group on Sunday for their business meeting. As the group went around the room and talked about some of the challenges they have in their respective states there were some common themes, most of which are not altogether unfamiliar to CA. The real benefit of having such a group from around the country is the opportunity to share potential solutions and experiences and clearly this group is solutions oriented and not stuck on just discussing the problems.
I spent yesterday at the annual meeting for the UCOP Global Food Initiative. Both NPI and SAREP have ongoing projects with GFI. Peggy Lemaux's CLEAR program was one of the projects discussed in detail. Peggy commented to me how pleased she was to hear many of the GFI participants from around the UC campuses refer to UC ANR. I couldn't agree more. Given the topic is food, it only makes sense that UC ANR is an integral part of the GFI. I had the pleasure of sitting at a table with Jeff Couture's daughter who is a researcher at UCSB where she studies marine food sources. She is quite an impressive young lady; no doubt he is quite proud of her. I don't know Jeff very well but every morning that I head to Davis I hope he has arrived ahead of me so that I don't have to remember my alarm PIN. Fortunately he's pretty regular with his early arrival.
Today we had a UC ANR Strategic Plan Goal Owners meeting to share updates on each of the strategic plan goals and take a reflective look at the feasibility of all that is in the plan. Now that we've had 6 months or so to work on the goals, it is much easier to be realistic about the workload and investments involved in accomplishing the plan, not to mention the benchmarks and metrics to evaluate our progress. Now that's not to say that there isn't a strong commitment to achieving everything in the plan, but it's all about ensuring that we are realistic about how best to accomplish the goals. Time has also led to a new perspective on the 15 goals and how intertwined they are. That's a bit scary if you think of it in terms of potential to fail. On the other hand, that interconnection lends itself to a sense that all of the goal owners are headed in a common direction – an essential factor for success. During the meeting Gabe Youtsey talked about a grant submission to the U.S. Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program only to discover while we were meeting that is was funded! Congratulations to Gabe Youtsey, Glenda and their team for a successful submission!
In other exciting news, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors will be recognizing the 10th Anniversary of our Master Gardener Program this coming Tuesday, September 26th. The BOS will also recognize the few Master Gardeners that have contributed more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time each. Congratulations to my home county! San Joaquin County has and is a tremendous partner with UC ANR. The county provides strong financial support to fund and support Marcy Sousa, the Master Gardener Coordinator, Marcy Sousa, and the Environmental Horticulture Advisor position, held by Karrie Reid. As a result, San Joaquin County is home to 200 certified Master Gardeners. Way to go Marcy, Karrie, Brent and team! It is this type of partnership that makes UC ANR's work so effective and broad-reaching.
I can only guess what the rest of the week holds!