- Author: Nicki Anderson
Join us for an evening of farmer focused conversation. Meet your fellow farmers and connect with others who work in agriculture in our region. The goal is to offer space for farmers to convene and converse. While we might occasionally come into contact with each other at field days, events and meetings, it's also nice to have the opportunity to check-in with fellow growers.
The motivations for this occurrence builds upon inspiration from the Lighthouse Farm Network, organized by CAFF starting in the early 1990s, where farmers would meet around meals to share ideas and strategies for sustainable production.This type of farmer-focused organizing is nothing new in the [(tens of) thousands of] years of agriculture. In this country especially, farmers once were deeply involved in government and economy leadership.
*Cue* George Washington's words:
“Agriculture is the most Healthful, most Useful and most Noble Employment of Man.”
While our biggest obstacles may be seem different from what they have been in the past, today's challenges seem to be moving much faster, are in greater numbers, and are drastically more unforgiving in their devastation. As climates of all types (social, environmental and political) are rapidly shifting, it is important to recognize the varying qualities and values our region has to offer, as well as the obstacles and risks we have to face. As keen observers to the rhythms and patterns of soil, plants, animals, weather, etc, farmers are often the first to notice small differences, and draw from real life experiences working every day in a world that is rapidly changing. In addition to creating connections, these meetings also bring fresh perspective and new confidence for what can happen, creating opportunity for knowledge and experience to be shared.
The kick-off launch party will occur on Friday, June 11, 6pm - 8pm, at McGrath Family Farm in Camarillo. There will be food and beverages, but you're welcome to bring your own!
Please let us know you are coming and reserve your spot by registering HERE
Author - Sabrina L. Drill
Kudos to the Ventura County Fire Department, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, National Park Service, US Forest Service, and California State Parks for addressing this very important gap in fire preparedness information. I remember on my first solo backpacking trip near Mt. Whitney waking up one morning to the smell of smoke, and cutting my trip a few nights short to get out of there (turned out the fire was in Monterey County, but the smoke blew inland).
From the guide - "The Ready, Set, Go! Trail Users program is about being prepared (ready), situational awareness – knowing what's going on around you (set) – and getting out of harm's way (go!). By following a few simple steps, trail users can enjoy the natural beauty of Ventura County without putting themselves in the path of a wildfire."
Tips include when, where, and how to safely have a campfire or use a stove, and steps to prepare before your trip:
"• Before you leave, tell someone when and where you will be. This is especially important if you will be travelling alone. Be sure to take a fully charged cell phone and some sort of signaling device with you. This could be as simple as a whistle or a mirror. • Take protective clothing including long pants and long sleeves made of a natural fiber, a bandana to filter smoky air and a hat to keep embers from falling on your head. • Have good maps with you and pre-plan your escape routes. A fire could block your path and prevent you from going out the same way you came in."
- Author: Rose Marie Hayden-Smith
Invasive shot hole borers (ISHB) are tiny beetles that are posing a significant threat in Ventura County and beyond.
There's new information provided in a recent blog post that appeared on website of the Channel Islands Chapter of the Community Association Institute in January 2021. Wayne Farnsworth of
These pests are becoming established in parts of Ventura County. Farnsworth and Oliver note that "Unlike many insect pests, invasive shot hole borers infest a wide variety of tree species, including many common ornamentals, avocados and California natives. Sycamores and box elders are among their favorites, and they also attack live oaks, valley oaks and alders, all of which are abundant in our area."
Per UC ANR, invasive shot hole borers are
"two closely related species of small, non-native, beetles that bore into trees. ISHB introduce fungi that cause a tree disease called Fusarium dieback (FD). The ISHB-FD pest-disease complex is responsible for the death of thousands of trees in Southern California and poses an imminent threat to the integrity of our urban and natural forests.
Invasive shot hole borers attack a wide variety of tree species including avocados, common landscape selections, and California native species in urban and wildland environments."
You can learn more about ISHB at the UC ANR Integrated Pest Management website.
As Julie Di Blasio reported last year, "...invasive shot hole borer (ISHB) infestations have been identified in Ventura County since 2015 but have not significantly spread. Discovery of the pest/disease complex was found in late 2018 in the urban forest of Meiners Oaks. Citizens Journal recently published an article about the removal of a tree that was at risk for amplifying the local infestation and causing potential other community harm."
UCCE Ventura has been collaborating to address ISHB with UC insect, disease, education specialists, Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner, CAL FIRE, US Forest Service, several other agencies and non-government organizations. We are locally active in monitoring and outreach. Ventura County Master Gardeners Invasive Pests Outreach Group augments our work through their efforts to educate the public, firewood users and vendors."
Image credit: Akif Eskalen, UC Davis/UC ANR
- Author: Rose Marie Hayden-Smith
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday.
Join us on Tuesday, December 1 for #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals to celebrate generosity worldwide. #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Kick off the holiday season with us!
COVID-19 put the world on pause, but our mission to connect the power of UC research in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition, and youth development in our community continues to move forward. Your generosity can help ensure we continue to provide essential resources and trusted information in times of crisis and beyond.
In these challenging times, our role as problem-solvers, catalysts, collaborators, educators, and stewards of the land is more important than ever.
With your support, we can continue to invest in research, education, and services in our community—to be a neighbor in times of need.
Consider Donating to the 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 more than 200 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 by:
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
Consider Donating to the 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 #GivingTuesday
Join the #GivingTuesday Movement!
#GivingTuesday is a movement about ordinary people coming together to do extraordinary things. Whether you choose to donate your time or money this year for #GivingTuesday, thank you for helping make a difference!
Photo by Cathy Van Heest for Unsplash.
- Author: Cheryl Reynolds
We're excited to announce that a brand-new online course on air blast spray calibration is now available. This course was developed by Lynn Wunderlich, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor for the Central Sierra, and Franz Niederholzer, UCCE farm advisor for Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba counties.
If you are a grower, pest control adviser, or pesticide applicator working in trees and vines, then this course is for you! You will learn the basic principles of spray calibration, take a close look at the basic components of a sprayer, perform calculations needed for calibration, and take a look at how factors such as droplet size, nozzle type, and weather conditions influence drift and spray coverage. This course also explains the conditions for pesticide applications under the 2018 Pesticide Use Near Schoolsites regulation. Air Blast Spray Calibration has been approved by DPR for a total of 2.5 continuing education units (CEUs), including 0.5 hour of Pesticide Laws and Regulations and 2.0 hours of Other.
Fall is here and 2020 is winding down; it's time to complete your continuing education units and submit your California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) renewal packet. If you are a DPR license or certificate holder and your last name begins with the letters A through L, then 2020 is your year to renew. Renewing now guarantees a quick turnaround time and having enough time to resolve any problems before your license expires. DPR encourages all license holders to send in renewals November 1 to ensure license renewal by January 1, 2021. Why not check out the online courses the UC Statewide IPM Program (UC IPM) has to offer?
Four of UC IPM's most-wanted courses are offered at an early-bird price until November 1st! You can save an additional $20 by purchasing the 4-course bundle for only $85 rather than each course individually.
- Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues (2 hours Laws and Regulations – early-bird price $40; full price $80)
- Proper Selection, Use, and Removal of Personal Protective Equipment (1.5 hours Laws and Regulations – early-bird price $30; full price $60)
- Pesticide Resistance (2 hours Other – early-bird price $20; full price $40)
- Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration (1.5 hours Other – early-bird price $15; full price $30)
Many of our courses are now credited not only by DPR for continuing education hours, and also by the California Structural Pest Control Board (SPCB), Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (WCISA), and the Arizona Department of Agriculture.