Happy summer! It's time to get the barbecue grilling and the pool party started. To keep your summer healthy and fun, UC ANR offers some important safety tips.
Food poisoning is a serious health threat in the United States, especially during the hot summer months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 Americans suffer from a foodborne illness each year, resulting in thousands of hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
Both the CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest four key rules to follow to stay food safe:
- Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water while preparing food. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water.
- Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards. And be sure to keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs away from other items in your refrigerator.
- Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature; be sure to check internal temperature by using a food thermometer.
- Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.
Here are some additional tips from the USDA. Be sure to check out the CDC's comprehensive food safety website, which also has materials in both Spanish and English. For food safety tips in real time, follow USDA Food Safety on Twitter.
Summer also means more outside grilling, which can pose unique food safety concerns. Before firing up the barbecue, check out these five easy tips from UC Davis.
Handling food safety on the road
Before you take off on a road trip, camping adventure or boating excursion, don't forget to consider food safety. You'll need to plan ahead and invest in a good cooler.
Remember, warns the USDA, don't let food sit out for more than one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees F. And discard any food left out more than two hours; after only one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees F.
If there are any doubts about how long the food was out, it is best to throw it out!
Get more food safety tips for traveling from the USDA.
Avoid heat illness
“Summer can be a time for fun and relaxation, but in warm climates, we need to stay aware of the signs of heat illness and help keep our family members and co-workers safe,” says Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services at UC ANR.
“UC ANR provides comprehensive resources on our website, but it's designed around California requirements for workplace safety.” But, Oatman notes, much of the information applies.
“The training and basic guidance – drink water, take a rest when you are feeling any symptoms and having a shaded area available – are useful for anyone at any time.”
To increase your awareness of heat illness symptoms – and to learn more about prevention – Oatman suggests a few resources.
“Our Heat Illness Prevention page has many resources, including links for training, heat illness prevention plans, and links to other sites. One of the external sites for heat illness that I recommend is the Cal/OSHA site, which spells out the basic requirements for heat illness prevention in the workplace. It's also available in Spanish."
For those on the go, Oatman also recommends the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) mobile heat safety app.
On Friday June 5th, UCCE Ventura will launch a local campaign as part of UC ANR's statewide giving day, which we're calling “Big Dig Day”...a day to “dig deep” to support the UCCE programs that you care about in Ventura County.
Ventura County Master Gardener Program
We invite you to support our mission to extend research-based knowledge about home gardening, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices to our communities. Our program is driven by 209 active volunteers who use UC science-based information to offer solutions to gardening, landscape, and pest challenges. Last year, our volunteers donated 12,561 hours of service to the program.
The Master Gardener Program helps Ventura County grow in many ways, including:
Offering water-wise workshops to help residents optimize use of a scarce resource
Staffing a helpline to answer questions for home gardeners
Working with other community organizations to maintain 9 demonstration gardens throughout Ventura County
- Delivering dozens of educational and hands-on outreach programs and talks each year
Ventura County 4-H Program
Since 1914, the Ventura County 4-H Program has served generations of youth and families. Our motto is “To Make the Best Better.” Through our volunteer-driven experiential programs, we help Ventura County youth develop life and leadership skills that enable them to succeed. In the last 100 years, Ventura County has changed. But some things never change, including our belief in the power of youth.
4-H grows here:
7,300+ youth reached across Ventura County each year
14 community and 2 military clubs providing educational opportunities in STEM, healthy living, animal husbandry, leadership, and civic engagement
Outreach programs delivered in classrooms and virtually that connect youth with one of our county's most important resources: agriculture
Efforts driven and supported by 150 motivated and highly-trained volunteers
Help us serve even more youth by donating on “Big Dig” Day.
What We're Asking
Now more than ever, we all know the value of community. In times of crisis and beyond, we are here. We live where you live.
By donating to the Master Gardener Program and the 4-H Program, you help us extend the knowledge and resources of the University to our community. Join us on 6/5 and #DigDeep to support our UCCE programs.
Mark your calendar, spread the word, and stay tuned for more details.
Here's news we hope you find useful, including food preservation resources, a new podcast, and a reading recommendation.
UC ANR and Citrus Research Board Co-Funding New Citrus IPM Advisor
The citrus IPM advisor will help fill the role of retiring UCCE citrus entomology specialist Beth Grafton-Cardwell and will be based at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center.
Per UC ANR's Jeannette Warnert, “The new IPM advisor will conduct a multicounty extension, education and applied research program and provide research-based technical and educational assistance to the citrus industry…”
Beth Grafton-Cardwell is well known to growers in Ventura County for her work on Asian Citrus Psyllid.
Food Preservation How-To Videos
As a result of the pandemic, we're seeing dramatically increased interest in “traditional” home arts, including gardening, bread baking, cooking and food preservation/canning. Because of food safety issues, finding science-based, reliable information is vital when it comes to home food preservation.
UC ANR is helping by curating the best video resources in this area.
“To make reliable home food preservation how-to videos easy to find, a team of UC Cooperative Extension professionals and volunteers reviewed and aggregated research-based food preservation videos produced by Cooperative Extension programs across the nation on one website – http://ucanr.edu/MFPvideolibrary.”
Water Talk Podcast
“Water Talk” is a new podcast from UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources. Hosted by Drs. Mallika Nocco, Faith Kearns, and Sam Sandoval, this great new listen explores a range of topics related to water in the Golden State. Recent episodes have explored:
California water law;
The history of Victory Gardens...and what's happening with gardening today;
The food-water-virus nexus; and
Ranching and water in California
And Speaking of Water...
H/T to Ben Faber for sharing this #goodread by Edmund Andrews: Less water could sustain more Californians if we make every drop count.
“As climate change and population growth make drinking water costlier, here are six strategies to quench the state's thirst without busting its budget.”
It appears in Stanford University's Engineering magazine.
Learn About California Agriculture
Join us on Thursday, May 21st, 9:30 am PST, for Part 2 of a webinar series on California agriculture, where we'll learn about major crops and production areas. This webinar will feature UCCE Ventura County advisors Andre Biscaro and Ben Faber. Watch it live or view after on YouTube. Part 1 is up. This is an ideal webinar series for the home classroom.
Fumigants and Non-Fumigant Alternatives: Regulatory & Research Updates
Growers, PCAs, applicators and supervisors of fumigant and non-fumigant technologies and decision makers should plan to attend this free, virtual educational outreach event, scheduled for Monday May 29th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This workshop is open to the public. Although targeted to strawberries, most of the learning will generally apply to other crops. The program is being hosted by Dr. Oleg Daugovish, who serves as the Strawberry and Vegetable Crop Advisor for UCCE Ventura County.
- Most pertinent regulatory requirements for fumigant use and application
- Industry updates on fumigant and non-fumigant tools use
- Fumigant application based on need within fields
- Soil-borne pathogen management
Continuing Education Units are available: 1.5 hours of "Other" and 1.0 hours of laws and regulations have been applied for from California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).
Registration is required and participants will receive a link and instructions prior to the workshop. Register here.
Announcing Treemendous Learning Webinars for Middle and High School Students
Join us on alternate Tuesdays in May and June, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, for this opportunity designed for middle and high school students. Treemendous Tuesdays is a collaboration of U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles Center for Urban Natural Resources, California Project Learning Tree, California 4-H, and UC Agriculture & Natural Resources
Five webinars will be hosted every other week starting May 5 and ending June 30. These events are free and registration is required.
- May 5: Invasive Species (invasive shot hole borers)
- May 19: Invasive Plants & Trees
- June 2: Benefits of the Urban Forest
- June 16: iTree
- June 30: Living with Fire
New Resource to Diagnose and Manage Plant Disease
UC's Integrated Pest Management Program has a new Pest Notes publication available, which provides information to help diagnose and manage Anthracnose, fungal diseases that can impact many deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. These diseases can also infect vegetables, flowers, fruit and turfgrass in some regions in California. Dr. Jim Downer, an Advisor in our UCCE Ventura County office, is a co-author.
Preparing for Fire Season
UC ANR has organized an electronic portal - Homeowner's Wildfire Mitigation Guide - that contains a wealth of resources to help homewoners prepare for fire season. Please visit our Fire Resources and Information page for the latest research and information.
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Nearly two tons of fruit and vegetables grown at UC's Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC) in Santa Paula have been donated to Food Forward and the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD), destined for children and families.
Some of the vegetables – planted by volunteers and farm staff - became available when UC HAREC's farm field trips were canceled due to COVID-19. Other vegetables were harvested from the student farm located at HAREC, a partnership with VUSD and the city of Ventura. Kale and lettuce at the student farm were planted by youth from DATA and Montalvo schools.
Every fall and spring, volunteers from the UC Master Gardener program propagate seedlings for schools, bundling them into variety packs of vegetables and herbs, which are given to schools with gardens. Because of COVID-19, plants were given to schools for direct distribution to families. Ventura Unified School District staff partnering in this effort include Kara Muniz, Director of Food and Nutrition Services; Ashely Parrish Decker, Nutrition Educator, who runs the Student Farm; and Alise Echles, RDN.
Additional fruit and vegetables were harvested from HAREC's citrus demonstration area, the site's educational gardens and the farm grounds.
UCCE's education program manager Susana Bruzzone-Miller said, “We are saddened that spring field trip season is cancelled and miss the sound of children delighting in harvesting, sometimes for the very first time. But, it warms my heart that our field trip garden can help feed so many families in need.”
John Antongiovanni, farm manager, worked with the farm staff to organize the harvest. He said, “Working together during this difficult time is very rewarding.”
Food Forward is a gleaning organization that helps residents turn the surplus produce grown on their property into a nutritious food source for local communities. Rick Nahmias, founder and executive director, indicated that the Food Forward Backyard Harvest team remains active, and may be reached via phone at 805.630.2728 or email.