- Author: Wendy Powers
Congratulations to Deepa for making the headline story in last week's Ag Clips! Not only did the story feature Deepa's research and the work of her team, but it was a great plug for the EFNEP and CalFresh programs. A UC website page quotes Jodi Azuli for her work in leading a pilot staff mentorship program. The feedback from the first cohort group was very positive. A second cohort just launched in January. Excellent work, Jodi, and team!
There were good conversations at the strategic plan retreat last week. It was nice to provide an overview of the work to date and accomplishments through a consolidated presentation. For those interested in reading about the progress, be sure to check out the website where you can find 4 Accomplishment documents. I suspect the slide deck used at last week's meeting will make its way to that website soon. I appreciated the expanded participant list to include non-ANR members of UC, providing us a more comprehensive array of perspectives and not just talk to ourselves. Gemma and I had a great table of participants, including two non-ANR guests. I particularly appreciated a comment from one of them who shared that her philosophy, as a former physical therapist, is to 'work with what you've got.' Often, I think we direct our focus towards what we don't have rather than exploiting what we do.
I spent the latter portion of last week in Chicago at the Trust in Food Symposium. I believe we were talking to ourselves rather than to those we wish to learn from or influence. However, it was eye-opening to learn about the coalitions formed to educate consumers about practices behind food production. The meeting had a heavy focus on regenerative ag with coalition partners sharing how they teach growers about best practices. In general, Cooperative Extension was noticeably absent from the coalitions. As a national organization, we can change that and help other partners see the benefits of working with what already exists and builds on local research. It was fun running into Tracy Schor at the meeting. She attended the Top Producer Summit (ran in conjunction with the meeting I attended) as a finalist for a national recognition. Way to go, Tracy!
This week is Program Council. We are only meeting on Wednesday. Tuesday, the Academic Assembly Council meets, and the SI Leaders meet; I will join both groups for a short bit of time. Later in the week, I am off on a short field trip. More on that later. Before I get to that point, there are many, many meetings this week. Thursday, in particular, looks to be stacked from 8 AM to past 5 PM before needing to catch a flight. That's the way it goes when calendars are tight. You have to work with what you've got as far as scheduling options.