- Author: Wendy Powers
We spent yesterday in Riverside meeting with the teams from both UCCE Riverside and UCCE San Bernardino. It was very informative, particularly seeing the fresh ideas that are coming from some of the new staff. We were able to hear about the tremendous success that both counties are having truly working as a team across program areas and layering their efforts for increased program success and support. Yes, I said ‘support'. San Bernardino County UCCE, in particular, has been increasing partners and support in terms of positions programming dollars. If you happen to have met either Maggie or Dee you can certainly understand why – their energy and passion are infectious. Chutima and her team are conducting impressive work with nutrition education for both adults and youth with great synergy across the EFNEP and CalFresh programs. We were fortunate that some of her new team members were able to join us. We were also joined by a Riverside participant of the 4-H Juntos program and her mother. Truly moving to hear the emotion in this 4-Her's voice as she spoke about what the program has meant to her. Sonja, Jose, Janet, Chris, Eta, Carmen, and Michael all shared their programs with us and I was struck by how obvious it was that this group works very closely with other CE Advisors but also across the continuum of clients, CE Advisors, CE Specialists, and AES faculty. A really rewarding day and we are so appreciative of those that traveled from both far and near to meet with us.
We use the word ‘innovation' often in UC ANR. Sometimes I feel like that term is a bit out of reach for perhaps the work I've done over my career and certainly the work I do now. But Jose reminded me just how innovative we all are. He shared with us the story of Ernesto Lopez, Jr., a vegetable crops farmer in Coachella Valley who took a risk and started growing spinach in a new way. Despite the critics that said it would never work and powdery mildew would be a bigger problem and one among many problems if this new way were pursued, Mr. Lopez persevered with his non-traditional production methods and proved his critics wrong. Now, spinach in the area is grown in wide rows, just the way Mr. Lopez said it could grow. It's not always easy to try something new, and no doubt critics are quick to line up, but eventually even the ‘new' ways often become the norm. Remember, decades ago some laughed at the idea that every home would have a computer.
I've received a number of responses, comments and inquiries about my recent post on research integrity. It seems that liability may be a topic where we could all use a bit more information. Thanks to one of you who sent a link to a fascinating and eye-opening story about a widely-acclaimed Cornell researcher. It was another reminder for me that ‘intent' not always be a component of research misconduct and that ‘reckless' behavior may be characterized by acts that don't seem very extreme. A good reminder for us all about due diligence and the need to keep the bar very high if we want the public to trust science. I have to think through how innovation fits into the equation.
On to LA County UCCE in the morning.