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University of California
ANR Employees

2016 Call for Positions

On December 14, 2016 UC ANR Vice President Humiston announced the the release of 26 CE positions from the 2016 call for a new round of hiring over the next two years. This new release continues the commitment for hiring to exceed projected turnover, thus achieving the goal of academic growth. And, as funding becomes available, UC ANR will consider additional positions.

2016 approved CE positions

January 12, 2016 solicited proposals for Cooperative Extension (CE) advisor and specialist positions in the ANR Update. The call identified positions for strengthening and expanding the UC ANR network to address programmatic gaps and emerging needs. Below this public webpage displays all 138 new CE position proposals (there is a search tool to assist in finding proposals).

The online submittal process was open from January 12 – May 5 (5:00 PM) to allow as much time as possible for internal consultation and external input from UC ANR stakeholders in all program areas. Submissions were accepted from the following official submitter groups:

The Review Phase was completed May 5 – August 1. All proposals were reviewed. The program area and unit reviews were conducted by the Program Teams; geographic groups of County/Multicounty Partnership and Research and Extension Center Directors, and the UC ANR affiliated colleges and school. These groups prioritized and provided rationale for the position proposals under their purview. This input was used to inform UC ANR Program Council’s recommendations and ultimately the UC ANR Vice President’s decisions. More information about the review process is available in the review orientation.

The public comment period was open Jan. 12 through July 11, 2016. Comments can be viewed by clicking the position links below. Comments were reviewed by the review groups, Program Council and the Vice President.

Relevant documents:

If you have any questions, contact Katherine Webb-Martinez at (510) 987-0029 or


2016 URS Call for Positions

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2016 cycle.

Position Details

039 Area Silicon Valley Urban Agriculture/ Food Systems Advisor

This advisor will focus on an emerging rapidly growing food production system- the cultivation, processing and distribution of food in urban areas and related policy.  The County of Santa Clara has adopted Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones which could create more than 1000 new urban agricultural parcels (

Proposed Location/Housing

Santa Clara

Proposed Area of Coverage

Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties


Associated Documents



The position description describes the need and opportunity behind this request, however I would like to emphasize that this position could provide significant leadership for the research and coalition-building necessary to propel urban agriculture efforts in the South Bay/ Silicon Valley. This position would help UCCE in Santa Clara county improve our support to the existing urban farmers in the county by working with them to define and conduct research to address their unique research needs, which are often very different from small rural farmers. We need strong, participatory research-based efforts to help identify knowledge gaps concerning the urban ag value chain, determine the best UA models and policy frameworks for the area, as well as to quantify the value of urban ag outcomes beyond agronomic indicators, in terms of improved social, health, and economic outcomes of underserved, low-income communities. It would also enable UCCE urban ag efforts to move beyond helping individual urban farmers or community and school gardens, towards examining the food system in the county as a whole and identifying where our existing partnerships should focus our efforts.

Jessica Schweiger, Urban Agriculture Program Manager, UCCE – Santa Clara County
Posted Jun 15, 2016 4:29 PM by Jessica Schweiger
Urban agriculture is at an inflection point, and Santa Clara County is well positioned to become a national leader in urban agriculture and local food system development on account of its excellent weather, large population, preponderance of fruit trees and vacant lots, and expertise in the field spread across several passionate organizations dedicated to urban agriculture. But there are several unique challenges that require additional research and education. How can urban agriculture best galvanize public interest in healthy food consumption? There is a powerful subtlety to living next to a farm or garden, but what is the highest and best use these projects can serve? How do we create a more efficient local aggregation and distribution system? This is the number one factor hindering local food system development. How do we balance the needs for sustaining jobs with the needs of feeding our most vulnerable residents? Growers have to be able to support themselves, but we must ensure that low-income residents enjoy the spoils of the local food economy as well. Its a delicate balance, and we absolutely need more research and support to figure out the best model.

Zach Lewis, Executive Director, Garden to Table (non-profit operating the Taylor St. urban farm in San Jose, as well as food justice/ food systems policy advocates)
Posted Jun 20, 2016 9:29 AM by Zach Lewis
Urban food production stands at the confluence of important discussions about sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty and food access, urban form and the preservation of biodiversity within cities. Resources and public attention are being directed towards urban agriculture as never before. One of the great questions surrounding this wave of interest relates to the appropriate articulation of goals and expectations for the true impact of urban agriculture. In a state where small-scale diversified production is nearly an economic impossibility, it is increasingly important to candidly evaluate the role of urban food production and what success will be. This may be different for different projects (focus on education, focus on food access etc) and frequently may not include economic viability in the absence of grant funding or income from other services. Also of critical importance is the need for sophisticated technical assistance for highly diverse stakeholders that can be provided in culturally sensitive ways. Opportunities for regional collaboration and coalition building will also abound and help to keep this position in the vanguard of discussion about the future of urban agriculture.

Susan Ellsworth, Food Systems Specialist, Alameda County Resource Conservation District
Posted Jul 5, 2016 10:27 AM by Susan Ellsworth
There is a tremendous amount of energy around urban agriculture in Santa Clara County as well as the surrounding counties. A UC Extension staff person could provide valuable technical assistance to city farmers and gardeners while building connections between the urban and rural area. Such a position would help bridge existing resources with practitioners on the ground.

Eli Zigas, Food & Agriculture Policy Director, San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (civic planning organization)
Posted Jul 5, 2016 4:48 PM by Eli Zigas
The Santa Clara Valley has an unprecedented amount of opportunity in urban agriculture. There are several large farms in the thick of urban development, there is agricultural land just south of the most populous areas of the region, and there are eager consumers all throughout the Silicon Valley. As opportunity continues to grow, so do questions about water and land access, soil quality, pest control and food safety in urban environments, health and economic impacts and more. A permenant advisor position focused on Local Food Systems and Urban Agriculture would set a clear research agenda to guide this opportunity in a sustainable and highly impactful new food and farming system for the region. With so much support from land agencies and the implementation of the new Urban Agriculture incentives zone in metropolitan area, there is a high need for UCANR to shape best practices and research based solutions to challenges and barriers in growing urban ag. CAFF works to connect farmers to markets and sees a growing demand in local food that needs more farmers. We would greatly benefit from having the support of an advisor to help grow these opportunities.

Sheila Golden, Regional Food Systems Manager at Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)
Posted Jul 6, 2016 11:19 PM by Sheila Golden
At Santa Clara University, we have enjoyed productive research partnerships with now-retired UCCE Santa Clara County Advisors. The research into local urban agriculture initiatives that these Advisors developed and led resulted in useful data for our community partners, a new method for assessing the contributions of urban gardens to the local food supply, and peer-reviewed publications that amplify these research findings well beyond Santa Clara County and the wider Bay Area. Since then, the demand for applied research in urban agriculture and the number of potential research partners, both inside and outside of the university, have only grown. This position would fill a critical need for research into multiple aspects of urban agriculture and play a key role in building on existing partnerships as well as creating new ones. As food system researcher at a local academic institution, I would welcome the opportunity to renew our research partnership with UC Cooperative Extension Santa Clara County and offer my strong support for the creation of this position.

Lucy Diekmann, USDA NIFA postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University.  (Food systems researcher)
Posted Jul 8, 2016 11:25 AM by Lucy Diekmann
Urban agriculture needs to be supported. I wish this was in Contra Costa County, where I live. There are a lot of projects in Santa Clara County that would benefit from this type of support. I hope you include promoting seed saving as part of the job description.

Rebecca Newburn, Cofounder of the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library
Posted Jul 8, 2016 10:10 PM by Rebecca Newburn
The California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) represents more than 75% of the nearly 4,000 California EPA licensed pest control advisers (PCAs) that provide pest management consultation for the production of food, fiber and ornamental industries of this state. CAPCA is dedicated to the professional development and enhancement of our member's education and stewardship, which includes legislative, regulatory, continuing education and public outreach activities.
CAPCA membership covers a broad spectrum of the industry including agricultural consulting firms, U.C. Cooperative Extension Service, city, county and state municipalities, public agencies, privately employed, forensic pest management firms, biological control suppliers, distributors, dealers of farm supplies, seed companies, laboratories, farming companies and manufacturers of pest management products. Research on new and innovative tools to address pest pressures and emerging invasive species while staying compliant with current regulations are key to the ongoing success of this industry.

Lien Banh, Northern CA CE Coordinator, California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA)
Posted Jul 11, 2016 11:37 AM by Lien Banh, CAPCA
As the manager of Martial Cottle Park, a 287 acre public park and working farm managed by Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation, I am writing to express our support for the creation of a UCCE Advisor position that would assist with our research programming and outreach.
As an important partner at Martial Cottle Park already, UCCE is providing programming to our visitors primarily with master gardeners, 4-H and composting. Small farm research will soon follow, and we, with our other partners Jacob’s Farm and Our City Forest, are looking for subject matter expertise in urban agriculture applied research in soil quality, integrated pest management, with appropriate cultivars et al.
Additionally, we are looking for this position to assist us in our community and school garden program, and local agriculture promotion as well as provide research advice to guide our department, local decision makers, community organizations and local government to develop and support policies of benefit to urban agriculture and accordingly to social, economic and health benefits to our community.
Stepping away from Martial Cottle Park and looking at the big picture in Santa Clara County, this position would play a significant role in examining the food system in the county as a whole and identify where we should be focusing our efforts in improving the overall health of our community.
While linked with our agrarian past, we’re moving into the future with urban agriculture and need the expertise to maximize the use of our resources. With our park open for a year now, there is no time to waste in getting this started.
Posted Jul 11, 2016 11:53 AM by Eric Goodrich, Manager at Martial Cottle Park
I manage La Mesa Verde, a leadership network of urban gardeners in San Jose building access to healthy food. As we have become more involved in the network of urban agriculturalists in Santa Clara County, I have been impressed both by the incredible potential and enthusiasm around connecting all people to their source of food and increasing the quality of food available, and by the need for coordination of efforts. This position could provide crucial guidance and support to new and growing organizations -- as well as established organizations that are working in this field -- to work together more effectively and create a more just and accessible local food system. As new potential policies emerge, there will be a great need to analyze the best paths forward and to coordinate between non-profits, urban farms, other stakeholders, and elected officials' offices. Without deep research, involvement of the community, and true collaboration between agencies, urban agriculture can become simply an elite phenomenon that never realizes its full potential. We strongly support the creation of this position.

Jamie Chen, Program Coordinator La Mesa Verde
Posted Jul 11, 2016 4:26 PM by Jamie Chen
I commend UCCE for requesting this position, for the following reasons:
  • Interest in urban agriculture in the area is escalating.
  • Given that Santa Clara is the heart of the tech industry, the Advisor would also be instrumental in aggressively engaging Silicon Valley in support for urban agriculture.
  • With demand for housing and services in the South Bay reaching critical levels, there are many competing uses for land in the county currently. More research needs to be done to identify economically viable models for urban ag in the county.
  • The success of future urban farming efforts will depend on defining the ideal policy environment to promote urban ag, as well as the economic, social, and political conditions of success. Such research will necessarily be collaborative and need to engage groups outside Santa Clara within the larger Bay area and State.
  • Individual urban farms struggle with technical production issues, like pest and soil problems unique to urban areas; with finding the appropriate business model, marketing, distribution; and with complex zoning and regulations at both city and county levels, among other challenges. Many urban farms struggle with all of these issues while also providing education, training, and low-cost produce to some of the region's neediest households. Their value is thus not just measured by yield and income alone, but by social, economic, and health benefits to the community. The University of California can impact the sustainability of urban farming and the long-term presence of urban farms in Santa Clara county communities through research that improves the profitability or urban ag and quantifies the social, economic, and health impacts of urban agriculture for policy makers.

Joseph Deviney, Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner
Posted Jul 11, 2016 7:19 PM by Joseph Deviney
As Executive Director of Veggielution, a 6-acre community farm located in the historical City of San Jose Emma Prusch Farm Park, I am writing to express our support for the creation of a UCCE Advisor position to assist with research programming and outreach. We hope that this new position will assist us in the further development of our community engagement, youth education and economic development programs as well as provide research advice to guide
our evolution as an urban agriculture organization in the Bay Area.
Posted Jul 12, 2016 9:44 PM by Cayce Hill

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