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Posts Tagged: urban agriculture

Call for proposals for 2017 National Urban Extension Conference

The University of Minnesota Extension and the National Urban Extension Leaders have announced a call for proposals for the National Urban Extension Conference on “Engaging in Collective Purpose,” which will be held in Bloomington, Minn., May 7-11, 2017. 

Proposals may include, but are not limited to, examples and impacts based on how extension operates in city or regional centers, city neighborhoods through shared partnered offices or through traditional county operations.

The full call for proposals is at

The deadline for submissions is Sept. 30, 2016.

For more information about the National Urban Extension Conference, visit the conference website.

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 8:20 AM

How can ANR support urban farming in California?

Urban farming provides fresh produce for communities.
Here in California, the top agricultural producer in the nation, people too often go hungry. Fifteen percent of California households (roughly 5.5 million Californians) are “food insecure,” according to a 2013 USDA report, meaning they do not have “consistent access throughout the year to adequate food for healthy, active living,” according to Rachel Surls, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Los Angeles County. Families with children are even more likely to run short on food.

Urban agriculture is one tool that has the potential to improve food security in California communities.

To better support the state's urban agriculture, a statewide assessment of urban agriculture needs was conducted by Surls, Gail Feenstra, deputy director of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP); Sheila Golden, former SAREP staff member who now works for Community Alliance with Family Farmers; Ryan Galt, professor in the Department of Human and Community Development; Shermain Hardesty, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; Cheryl Wilen, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Diego County; Claire Napawan, professor in the Department of Human Ecology; Valerie Borel, horticulture and natural resources program coordinator in Los Angeles County; Aziz Baameur, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Santa Clara County; and Rob Bennaton, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

The team conducted a survey of ANR personnel and interviewed urban farmers and policymakers.

They found that 65 percent of ANR academics and staff responding to the survey said that they had provided support, advice, technical assistance or served as a partner for urban agriculture activities within the past year.

ANR personnel said they would like to see educational materials developed specifically for urban agriculture on a number of topics, including pest management, water management, design of community projects, soil testing and remediation and tips for projects at schools.

Their study has been published in the February issue of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, a special issue on urban agriculture.

To read the full report, you can also view it at


Urban ag project surveys ANR to assess needs

Dear Colleagues:
Urban agriculture* is gaining in popularity around California and the nation. Recently, ANR funded a project through its competitive grants program to conduct a needs assessment and develop resources for UCCE advisors and staff, urban agriculture practitioners and policymakers. Part of the needs assessment is learning about how ANR academic and program staff members are engaging with urban agriculture, and what resources would be helpful to them in assisting this clientele group.
As a member of the ANR community, please help us out by participating in a short survey at Our team hopes to gather input from CE specialists and advisors, AES faculty, program representatives, and other staff members in all program areas. If you are not sure if your community is considered “urban,” please go ahead and respond anyway. The survey closes March 15.
Our team includes Co-PI’s Aziz Baameur (UCCE Santa Clara County), Gail Feenstra (UC Davis ASI/SAREP), Shermain Hardesty (UC Small Farm Program), and Cheryl Wilen (UCCE San Diego County/UC IPM) and advisory committee members Susan Algert (UCCE Santa Clara County), Ryan Galt (UC Davis Dept. of Human and Community Services), Christy Getz (UC Berkeley Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management), Carol Goldstein (UCLA Dept. of Urban Planning), Claire Napawan (UC Davis Dept. of Environmental Design), Andrew Sutherland (UCCE Alameda County/UC IPM), and Eli Zigas (SPUR-San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association).

Thank you in advance for your help! 
Rachel Surls, Project PI
Sustainable Food Systems Advisor
UCCE Los Angeles County
*Urban agriculture includes production (beyond that which is strictly for home consumption or educational purposes), distribution and marketing of food and other products within the cores of metropolitan areas and at their edges.  Examples include community, school, backyard, and rooftop gardens with a purpose extending beyond home consumption and education, urban market gardens, innovative food-production methods that maximize production in a small area, community supported agriculture based in urban areas, and family farms located in metropolitan greenbelts.”  (Adapted from the American Planning Association, 2011).

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 11:40 AM

UC ANR leader to 'Tweet' from the White House garden on Friday

Michelle Obama works in the White House kitchen garden. (White House photo.)
California will be well represented on Friday, Oct. 19, when Michelle Obama's kitchen garden – a model vegetable garden on the south lawn of the White House – is the site of a national "Tweetup.” Rose Hayden-Smith, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources sustainable food systems initiative leader, will be part of the White House Social Fall Garden Tour.

Follow the event in real time from 5 a.m. to 12 noon Pacific Time on Twitter using the tag #whgarden.

White House Social is a series of in-person meetings of people who engage with the White House through social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Hayden-Smith has followed Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and the White House on Twitter since Obama's election in 2008. She won the invitation after entering a contest that asked contestants to describe in 140 characters why they wanted to visit the White House garden.

"I'm really excited to be part of this,” said Hayden-Smith, who is also a UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Ventura County, specializing in 4-H youth, family and community development. "The fact that the Obamas are cultivating a food-producing garden on the grounds of the White House says really wonderful things about our country. The First Family is showing its concern about the health of Americans and reducing childhood obesity. That's something we at UC Cooperative Extension care a great deal about.”

Hayden-Smith Tweets as "Victory Grower” (@victorygrower) a persona she created to reflect her interest in a national revival of the Victory Garden movement, in which increasing food production was considered vital to bolstering national security by creating a more secure food supply.

"It's a different 'victory' now, but many of the goals are the same," Hayden-Smith said. "Gardens connect people with food and food production. Food is fundamental. It's what everyone shares in common. As we are entering a more challenging era of increased population and pressure on resources, it is vital for people to understand how to cultivate food.”

Hayden-Smith travels to Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Oct. 17. On Thursday, she and her colleague Rachel Surls (@rachelsurls), UCCE advisor in Los Angeles County, will tour urban garden projects in the nation's capital. They will be Tweeting about their tour on Thursday afternoon using the tag #urbanag.

Though not an official part of White House Social, Surls will have a brief tour of the White House Kitchen Garden on Friday. She will Tweet on Friday using the tag #whgarden.

Surls and Hayden-Smith are joining with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources to promote urban agriculture in California, an effort that is expected to generate multiple benefits. Gardening provides a way for people to be physically active, to improve food access, to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and to reconnect people with agriculture.

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM
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