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Posts Tagged: Equity

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council appointed

VP Glenda Humiston has appointed 11 ANR people to an initial two-year term as founding members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. This appointment is effective retroactively from Nov. 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2022. 

In a Jan. 29 ANR Update, Humiston wrote:

I am convening this advisory council to support DEI efforts that UC ANR staff and academics have undertaken to improve working environments within UC ANR, as well as to improve quality of life for marginalized populations living in the state of California. Diversity is one of our core values and developing an equitable and inclusive society is one of our public values. This Council is a commitment by UC ANR leadership to take division-wide action on the existence and impact of longstanding discrimination within our Division, as well as in our efforts throughout the state.

I am asking the founding members to recommend a formal charter to document the objectives, organization and functions of the council. While the initial appointment for all founding members is two years, the intent is for members to have staggered appointments to allow for turnover and continuity. I ask that the Council work to develop the Charter and an agenda for an initial meeting with myself, AVP Powers and AVP Tran by June 30, 2021. 

Council members include

  • Elaine Lander
  • Esther Mosase
  • Fadzayi Mashiri
  • Gail Feenstra
  • Katherine Soule
  • Keith Nathaniel
  • Laura Snell
  • LeChé McGill
  • Mohammed Yagmour
  • Ricardo Vela
  • Ron Walker

 

 

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2021 at 12:09 PM

UC ANR 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Sept. 14–Oct. 5

Welcome to ANR's 21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge!

Sept. 14–Oct. 5, 2020 ucanr.edu/21days

ANR employees, along with other UC locations and thousands of other people across the US and beyond, are committing to deepening understanding of, and willingness to confront, racism for 21 consecutive days.

Diversity scholar Eddie Moore, Jr. created the 21-Day Challenge to encourage a deeper understanding of race, privilege, supremacy, power and oppression. Why 21 days? Some say it takes 21 days to create a habit. The intention of this initiative is to support ANR employees in developing “effective social justice habits” to effect meaningful change.

People at Food Solutions New England Sustainability Institute (FSNE) were inspired by his work and the work of Debby Irving and Marguerite Pennick-Parks to adapt the 21-Day Habit-Building Challenge to their food system network. FSNE has been organizing and hosting the Challenge every year since 2015.

ANR has adapted FSNE's February 2020 21-Day Equity Challenge titled “Beyond Words: to Action and Resiliency” to make it easy for employees to independently dive into their own examination of the program or to create a cohort of ANR employees with whom to share the experience.

ANR has adapted Food Solutions New England Sustainability Institute's 21-Day Equity Challenge for ANR employees .

Purpose

Through a look at the food system challenge developed by FSNE, we will distinguish that racism is expressed through institutions, cultures and behaviors instead of personal character defects. Uncovering inequities and injustices will assist each of us in broadening our understanding and compassion and grow our engagement towards anti-racism and toward the experiences of Black Americans.

In examining the Black experience, we will consider our own personal layers of privilege and those of all marginalized people, keeping in mind marginalized colleagues, clientele, community members or maybe even family members. Marginalized people include and are not limited to age, class, ability, immigration status, race, sexuality, spirituality, gender, gender expression, ethnicity, culture, gender expression and identity and generation.

Most importantly the challenge will help us discover the many ways we can individually and collectively promote a more just and equitable food system for all. It will also prompt us on ways we can work as individuals, with others at ANR, with marginalized clientele, within our communities and families to dismantle these systems everywhere. 

When

The 21-Day Challenge takes place Sept. 14, 2020, through Oct. 5, 2020.

Who

You and a group of 6 to 8 ANR colleagues with whom you'd like to explore and learn with.

How

  • Reach out to a group of ANR colleagues and form a cohort of 6-8 participants.
  • Create a set of Group Agreements (example) that foster a secure space for discussion.
  • Refer to the assignments listed below and consider how often you will meet (ex., once/week) via phone or Zoom to discuss what you learned, or whether you will share thoughts via some type of chat system such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.

You do not need to complete every single reading and every single assignment to reap benefits. Do what you can.

Activities

As mentioned above, the activities of ANR's Challenge are based on FSNE's February 2020 21-Day Equity Challenge titled “Beyond Words: to Action and Resiliency. We are entering this examination of inequities in the food system to:

  • Learn
  • Act
  • Reflect

Prework - Getting prepared

The post at this link provides suggested “pre-work” to prepare you before you start your journey. Think of it as stretching before a jog or a softball match. Note – you will not receive daily email prompts as suggested in the post. You and your cohort will work through the listed activities independently.

2020 Racial Equity Challenge Launch Webinar (57:45)

Feel free to view the recorded webinar that took place at the start of the March 2020 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. 

Day 1Monday, Sept. 14  Racial Identity Formation

Understanding the process of racial identity development is important for self-awareness, relationship-building, and work for equity. We are, all of us, wonderful mashups of identities, and experiences. Refer to the post at this link to reflect specifically on where you are in the different stages of racial identity development. 

Day 2 – Tuesday, Sept. 15  Racial Socialization

Socialization is a process we all undergo – it is how we develop values, habits and attitudes and learn to function in the world. Understanding the process of socialization can help us understand how we came to where we are in our views of race and racism in the food (and other related) systems and what we are willing and “able” to do to work for justice.

Day 3 – Wednesday, Sept. 16   Indigenous Food Ways

In her book Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change, Penobscot lawyer, activist and teacher Sherri Mitchell (Weh'na Ha'mu Kwasset) writes, “One of the most important things we can do for ourselves, our children and the future of the planet is to decolonize our minds and ways of life.”

Day 4 – Thursday, Sept. 17  Food and Farm Workers

The very foundation of our food system in the United States is grounded in slavery. This started with the system of plantation slavery in the Southeast, moved into indentured servitude and share cropping and has continued over time with “agricultural exceptionalism,” which has left farmworkers out of labor protections over time.

Day 5 – Friday, Sept. 18  Whiteness and Anti Blackness

Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk, in an article titled “Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity,” write “Processes aimed at racial equity change can overlook the privileged side of inequity.” Work for racial justice in our food and other systems must include naming and de-centering whiteness, white privilege, and white superiority/supremacy, which racism is designed to protect and uphold.

Day 6 – Saturday, Sept. 19  Catch -Up and Reflections

While reflecting on the first week's prompts, we invite you to take some time to get quiet and reflect. Is there anything that you see differently based on your participation so far? What images come to mind? How does this impact how you think about your life, work, volunteerism, studies in food systems or your relationship to food? Is there anything you are inspired to do differently?

Day 7 -  Sunday, Sept. 20  Week One Catchup and Reflections

Part of grounding in the reality of racism and other forms of oppression is not simply about thinking, but also honoring our emotional and embodied reactions. There is important information in our feelings and bodies that dominant professional culture can often marginalize. As you reflect on this week's prompts and resources, what emotions come up? What do you sense in your body? What does that tell you? What can you learn from that?

Day 8 – Monday, Sept. 21  Internalized Racism

Of the four levels of racism (internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic) internalized can be the hardest to see and is often the hardest to talk about. And yet for healing to happen, what is otherwise unseen must be named. Internalized racism can manifest as internalized racial inferiority on the part of Black, Indigenous and People of Color and as internalized racial superiority for White people.

Day 9 – Tuesday, Sept. 22  Interpersonal Racism

Though some would believe otherwise, interpersonal racism is very real. We are seeing more visible evidence of this in the time of COVID19, including escalating attacks on Asian and Asian-American communities. Everyone, and especially White people, have a role in calling out racism and bigotry, and this can be a hard thing for some people to do. Even if it is not difficult to do, it can be difficult to do in a way that is ultimately productive, inviting someone who has said or done something that perpetuates racism to change or to consider changing. 

Day 10 – Wednesday, Sept. 23  Institutional Racism

Institutional racism shows up in both formalized and informal ways, from Human Resources policies that privilege white dominant norms of “professionalism” to cultures that instill a sense of belonging to those who feel more comfortable in norms of whiteness (go back to the prompt from Day 5 to dig back into this).

Day 11 – Thursday, Sept. 24  Structural Racism and New Narratives

Poet and novelist Ben Okri wrote, “Beware of the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.” Systems scientist Sally J. Goerner has added, “The stories we tell ourselves about how the world works form our greatest survival tool.” Stories hold tremendous power in our world, work, and lives. Writer Chimamanda Adichie notes: “Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” 

Day 12 – Friday, Sept. 25 Structural Racism & the Racial Wealth Gap

As Inequality.org puts it, “Systemic and structural racism has contributed to the persistence of race-based gaps that manifest in many different economic indicators. The starkest divides are in measures of household wealth, reflecting centuries of white privilege that have made it particularly difficult for people of color to achieve economic security.” This gap means that many Black and Indigenous people and communities and People and Communities of Color are more at risk financially than White people and communities at times of disruption.  And with respect to the food system, it means having less access to the means to purchase land, start a business, etc. 

Day 13 – Saturday, Sept. 26Catching Up and Reflections

Take some time to catch up on this past week's prompts. Reflect on the different approaches we have explored so far for addressing the different levels of racism (internalized, interpersonal, institutional, structural) and white superiority/supremacy.

Day 14 – Sunday, Sept. 27 Reflection 

As with last weekend, we invite you to find some quiet time (if possible and desirable) to get centered and to consider the past two weeks of your participation in the Challenge. Check in with yourself. What do you sense/feel? How are you physically? Intellectually? Emotionally? Spiritually? What are these sensations telling you?

Day 15 – Monday, Sept. 28 Reparations

The National Black Food and Justice Alliance, along with growing numbers of regional and local groups, including white “accomplices,” are calling for reparations of land and resources to Black and Indigenous people to account for decades of extracted wealth.

Day 16 – Tuesday, Sept. 29 Equitable & Liberation Forms of Food System Governance 

Government and governance have both been and continue to be forces for perpetuating and exacerbating racial inequities. By governance, we mean “the processes of interaction and decision-making among actors involved in collective problem-solving that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions.” Governance happens through government, and also through organizations, communities, markets and networks.

Day 17 – Wednesday, Sept. 30 Sovereignty & Self Determination

Someone at a Food Solutions New England Network Team meeting once said, “Equity within fundamentally dehumanizing systems is not what the goal is.” Rather, equity is tied to “liberation” (from racism, othering, white supremacy, patriarchy, extractive forms of governance and economics) when it lifts up food sovereignty and self-determination.

Day 18 – Thursday, Oct. 1 Raising the Next Generations

Each generation is hopefully building on the work of those that came before. We certainly see that up and coming generations seem to be more aware of what is wrong in our food and related systems and are determined to create something better. And this is ideally about multi-generational work …maybe four generations to carry the work forward. 

Day 19 – Friday, Oct. 2 New Patterns, New Vision 

At FSNE, we believe that vision and imagination are powerful “leverage points” in systems for finding a path forward beyond oppressive structures and extractive mindsets. And we know we are in good company! In her book Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown writes that we are engaged in an “imagination battle”, that the current conditions are the result of someone's imagination, a de-humanizing and domination-oriented view. There are so many other alternatives, if we would be bold, broaden our view, and band together with one another to create new living and life-affirming stories. 

Day 20 – Saturday, Oct. 3 Week Three Reflections 

What are your main takeaways from the Challenge? Where are you now compared to before you started? How do you feel? What new knowledge or insights do you have? What hopes? 

Day 21 – Sunday, Oct. 4 Closing Reflections

Today's prompt builds on yesterday's reflection about how the Challenge has guided you to think and act differently, perhaps more boldly, on this journey of racial equity and justice.

How will you put any of your new commitments into action, starting as soon as Monday, October 5? What kinds of support do you need to do so? Do you have those supports or can you organize them into being, perhaps with help from others? Please share your comments here. You have an option to share anonymously in this survey. We really want to hear your responses!

ucanr.edu/21days

 

Posted on Friday, August 28, 2020 at 3:10 PM
  • Author: Jodi Azulai

ANR reaches out to donors on #GivingTuesday

Last year, 4-H in Placer County was successful in attracting donations through its #GivingTues campaign.
This year ANR will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season. 

Last year, the 4-H Youth Development Program and UC Master Gardener Program successfully participated in #GivingTuesday campaigns.

“Our goal for 4-H was to raise $10,000 and we exceeded our goal with donations totaling over $13,000,” said Andrea Ambrose, acting director of Development Services. 4-H programs in 17 counties participated. In Placer County, the robotics team got their friends and family involved to promote #4HGivingConfidence on social media, leading Placer County to collect the largest amount for the 4-H Youth Development Program.

Although not as widely recognized as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year.

“#GivingTuesday is a wonderful opportunity for all ANR programs to augment their funding with private donations,” said Ambrose.

A website is being created with links to all of ANR's programs, Research and Extension Centers and extension offices. Donors will be invited to designate the program or location to which they wish to donate. The URL for the #GivingTuesday website will be announced in ANR Update soon. 

ANR will provide a toolkit for county offices and programs to participate. It will include:

  • A customizable letter to send to stakeholders
  • Templates for “unselfies.” Donors may take photos of themselves holding an unselfie sign and share on social media how they are giving.
  • Sample tweets and social media posts
  • Sample thank you note
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 12:29 PM

UC Research to Policy Conference puts science into action

Jason Delborne described the roles of a scientist in policy as outlined in Roger A. Pielke, Jr.'s book "The Honest Broker": pure scientist, issue advocate, science arbiter and honest broker.
A diverse group of UC scientists working on agricultural, natural resources and food issues came together at the First Research to Policy Conference to explore how to use research to effectively engage in public policy. The event, hosted by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was held on the UC Davis campus on Oct. 12-13.

“We focused on fostering a good dialogue and facilitating co-learning among attendees,” said event co-chair Leslie Roche, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist in rangeland management. “We hosted university faculty, statewide CE specialists and academics, and county-based CE advisors—as well as local policymakers and leaders from non-governmental organizations and statewide programs.”

UC researchers who have successfully engaged in the public policy arena provided numerous models of linking research and policy. There were five key take-aways for scientists:

-          Honest broker role – Present policymakers with various policy options, based on sound research. Have a clear understanding of the science behind your messaging. Use qualitative data to tell the story of the hard quantitative data.

-          Active engagement – Be part of informational and oversight hearings. Empower communities to take action and foster community engagement.

-          Build coalitions – Collaboration is imperative. Develop unexpected allies and foster long-term relationships, realizing it may take some time to bear fruit.

-          Disseminate information – Share your data in user-friendly formats. Target local community, Legislature and state agencies to inform policies. Get your science into trainings and continuing education programs. Leverage your coalition to expand the circulation of your research results.

-          Target messages – Develop a strong, concise message to deliver your research. Use an emotional connection – “Old-growth oak woodlands” versus “oak woodland.”

Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted the multiple levels of engagement for researchers in the policy arena, with different roles matching different needs – some take a center stage, while others play imperative behind-the-scenes roles.

Keynote speaker Jason Delborne, associate professor of science, policy and society at North Carolina State University, encouraged engaging the public. “Science is a social process,” he said, noting that community and public engagement is often key to successfully applying research to policy. Delborne also touched on the tension between expertise and democracy, commenting that we can't always resolve it and often we have to learn to live with this tension.

From left, Mindy Romero, Lorrene Ritchie, Thomas Harter, David Lewis and Yana Valachovic, shared what they have learned from engaging in policy.

A diverse set of researchers shared their perspectives from experiences in engaging in policy. The panel included Thomas Harter, Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy and UCCE specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis; Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute; Mindy Romero, founder and director of California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis Center for Regional Change; and Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor and county director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. They discussed the importance of building strong science-based programs, actively engaging local communities and building coalitions of support.

From left, Amrith Gunasekara, Tina Cannon Leahy, Anne Megaro, Rebecca Newhouse and Juliet Sims described how they use research to shape policy.

Guests from both government and non-government organizations who use research to shape policy shared their perspectives on translating science to decision-making.

“Science is the foundation for developing programs,” said Amrith Gunasekara, science advisor for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Tina Cannon Leahy, attorney with the State Water Resources Control Board, noted that policymakers and decision-makers are often looking for a clear, “black-and-white” answer, while for scientists, there is “no answer,” but rather information.

Anne Megaro, consultant to the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Rebecca Newhouse, consultant to the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, both emphasized the importance of making sure science is accessible and digestible.

Juliet Sims of the Prevention Institute explained how her organization uses both published scholarly literature and community stories to effectively inform its advocacy platform.

Keynote speaker Rachel Morello-Frosch, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, introduced the concept of moving from “translational research” to “transformational research,” a shift that requires deep community engagement in meaningful ways to effect policy change.

During a breakout session, participants discuss current research that has policy implications.

In the afternoon, four breakout sessions were offered: “Policy structures and opportunities for engagement” with Robert Waste, “Relational approaches to science communication and engagement” with Faith Kearns, “Putting it into practice–UC ANR case studies” with Dave Campbell, Clare Gupta and Lucas Frerichs, and “Navigating policy engagement: Education vs advocacy,” with Adrian Lopez and Kit Batten. These training modules helped participants build technical skills and analytical frameworks for successful policy engagement.

The Research to Policy Conference was a forum to exchange ideas and share perspectives, continuing to bridge the gap between science and policy communities. It challenged attendees to be open to new ways of thinking, shared innovative outreach methods and showcased how research can have an impact in the policy arena.

“The event brought cross-fertilization and co-learning between disciplines – nutrition, forest management, water quality – and there were common themes that resonated for all participants,” said event co-chair Gupta, assistant UCCE specialist in public policy and translational research.

VP Glenda Humiston wrapped up the policy conference by saying, "Good science is vital for good policy. It's great to see UC folks enhancing these skills to bring science together with policy."

For more information on applying research to policy, contact Frerichs, UC ANR government and community relations manager, at (530) 750-1218 or lfrerichs@ucanr.edu, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at cgupta@ucdavis.edu and Roche at lmroche@ucdavis.edu

Names in the News

Rebecca Ozeran
Ozeran named UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor

Rebecca Ozeran joined UCCE on Sept. 12 as the area livestock and natural resources advisor in Fresno and Madera counties.

Raised in Yuba City with a passion for animals and the land that supports them, Ozeran plans to focus her research, outreach and extension education efforts on current issues impacting livestock producers and land managers in both counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Ozeran was a range management intern for the Bureau of Land Management in the Salt Lake City field office. Her duties included collecting inventory, utilization and rangeland trend data, checking livestock compliance on BLM allotments and collaborating with local archaeologists to ensure compliance with archaeology requirements before grazing permit renewal. From July 2014 to May 2016, Ozeran was a graduate research and teaching assistant for the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University.

She earned a B.S. in animal science with a minor in Spanish from Cal Poly, and an M.S. in animal and range sciences with a certificate in applied statistics from Montana State University. Her thesis studied patterns and risk factors of cheatgrass invasion in Montana foothills rangelands.

Ozeran is based in Fresno and be reached at (530) 415-2555 and rkozeran@ucanr.edu.

Axelson joins UCCE as forest health specialist

Jodi Axelson

Jodi Axelson joined UCCE on June 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in forest health in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at UC Berkeley.

Axelson's broad research interests include forest resilience, adaptive management and forest disturbance; specifically, she is focused on forest dynamics and response to insect disturbances from outbreaks of bark beetles and conifer defoliators using a range of methods including dendrochronology. Learn more about her research at http://ourenvironment.berkeley.edu.

Prior to joining UCCE, Axelson was employed by the British Columbia government as a forest entomologist with Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In this position, she was responsible for forest health issues in an area covering 42,000 square miles comprised of distinct wet- and dry-belt ecosystems. She gained considerable experience in taking into consideration timber, wildlife and land stewardship objectives when performing insect monitoring, treatment and risk-mitigation.

She earned her B.S. in geography from the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), an M.S. in geography from the University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Victoria.

Axelson is based at the UC Berkeley campus and can be reached at (510) 642-8459 and jodi.axelson@berkeley.edu. Follow her on Twitter @DisturbedDendro.

Haghverdi joins UCCE as urban water specialist

Amir Haghverdi

Amir Haghverdi joined UCCE on July 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at UC Riverside. His research focuses on integrated urban water management.

Prior to joining UCCE, Haghverdi had been an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, performing research and extension on irrigation and water management, since July 2015.

Haghverdi earned his B.S. in irrigation engineering from University of Tehran, Iran, an M.S. in agricultural engineering - irrigation and drainage from Bu-Ali Sina University, Iran, a Ph.D. in irrigation and drainage engineering from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, and a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Haghverdi can be reached at (951) 827-4774 and amir.haghverdi@ucr.edu.

Saitone named ag economics specialist

Tina Saitone
Tina Saitone joined UCCE on June 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) at UC Davis, where she is focused on livestock and rangeland economics. Saitone conducts research on a broad range of topics in agricultural economics including food quality and safety, agricultural cooperatives, industry competition, generic commodity promotion, and federal and state marketing orders.

Prior to joining UCCE, Saitone had been a project scientist for ARE since July 2015. Before returning to UC Davis, she worked for OnPoint Analytics, an economic consulting firm in the Bay Area, where she conducted research on a wide variety of agricultural industries including meatpacking, dairy, eggs, broilers and sugar beets.

Saitone earned her B.A. in economics at Sonoma State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis.

Saitone can be reached at (530) 752-1870 and saitone@primal.ucdavis.edu.

Bautista named 4-H STEM coordinator

Jessica Bautista

Jessica Bautista joined ANR on July 5 as the 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) academic coordinator.

Prior to joining ANR, Bautista was a graduate research assistant in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside. Bautista's area of research interest focused on molecular biology and genetics in plant developmental biology.

As a native Californian and a first-generation student born to Mexican migrant parents, Bautista speaks Spanish and has fostered various methods to make her research accessible and advocate for STEM career paths for underrepresented communities. In 2012, Bautista co-founded UCR's Plant Discovery Day in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. This annual outreach event is filled with interactive science demonstrations for elementary school students in the community. She has also presented her research and discussed her career path annually since 2013 at workshops geared towards teaching and empowering young Latina women to pursue higher education and various career options.

Bautista completed a B.S. in biotechnology (chemistry minor) from California State University Northridge and a Ph.D. in plant biology from UC Riverside.

Bautista is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1341 and jbautista@ucanr.edu.

Pourreza wins international prize for HLB detection

Ali Pourreza

Newly appointed UC Cooperative Extension agricultural engineering advisor Alireza Pourreza has been awarded the 2016 Giuseppe Pellizzi Prize by the Club of Bologna, an honor presented every other year to the best doctoral dissertations focused on agricultural machinery and mechanization. The Club of Bologna is a world taskforce on strategies for the development of agricultural mechanization.

Pourreza, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2014, worked on early detection of Huanglongbing disease of citrus. Huanglongbing, an incurable disease that is spread by Asian citrus psyllid, has seriously impacted citrus production in Florida. The disease has been found in commercial and residential sites in all counties with commercial citrus.

Early detection allows growers to remove infected trees before the disease can spread to healthy trees. Currently HLB infection is confirmed when leaves with yellowing blotches are submitted for PCR testing, which is expensive and time-consuming. However, the yellowing can be also symptomatic of other conditions, such as nutrient deficiency.

"We discovered we could see the symptoms of Huanglongbing using a camera, a set of cross-polarizers and narrowband lighting before it is visible to the human eye," said Pourreza, who is based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.

He said the yellow blotches on HLB-infected leaves are caused by starch accumulation.

"If we could detect abnormal levels of starch in the leaf, we could tell it is affected with HLB," Pourreza said. "Starch showed the ability to rotate the polarization plane of light. We used this optical characteristic to develop the sensing methodology."

Pourreza said the team has patented the technique and is working on developing a commercial product. He is seeking funding to continue the research in California, where, to date, HLB has only been detected in isolated Los Angeles neighborhoods. Asian citrus psyllid is found in important California commercial citrus production regions from the Mexican border to as far north as Placer County.

From left, Keith Nathaniel, Fe Moncloa, Shannon Horrillo, Russell Hill and Dorina Espinoza.

4-H Youth Development team wins national diversity award

4-H Youth Development advisors Dorina Espinoza, Russell Hill, Fe Moncloa and Keith Nathaniel and 4-H associate director Shannon Horrillo have won the National Extension Diversity Award for systematically enhancing the intercultural competency of 4-H personnel and others in California.

The award, given by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), honors the team for creating and using Intercultural Development Inventory© to shift organizational culture. This shift includes mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among diverse people.

To meet the needs of a culturally and ethnically diverse youth population in California, they created a professional-development intervention for 4-H academics and staff. The Intercultural Development Inventory© is a cross-culturally generalizable, valid and reliable assessment of intercultural competence. Calling themselves the Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrators, they applied the strategy over three years, providing 176 hours of intercultural communication feedback sessions, learning communities and regional conferences to enhance the intercultural competence of 65 4-H personnel.

Evaluations demonstrated that after the intervention UC 4-H Youth Development Program personnel had acquired skills and characteristics to become more culturally competent. The program has moved from focusing on similarities across diverse people that can mask deeper recognition of cultural differences to recognizing the complexity of dimensions of diversity.

The action plan and resulting positive change provides the potential to improve hiring and professional development nationwide by replication in other states. A summary of California's IDI professional development activities can be found in the National 4-H Latino Youth Outreach: Best Practices Toolkit, Professional Development.

The National Extension Diversity Award will be presented on Nov. 13 at the 129th APLU Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. 

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