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Posts Tagged: Organic

Recruitment for California Organic Institute director underway

Organic strawberries. Photo by Mark Bolda

Applications are being accepted through March 30, 2020, from UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors who wish to be considered for the position of director of UC ANR's California Organic Institute. This opportunity will provide a dedicated source of funds (income from the endowment) to support scholarly activities and outreach focused on improvement of California organic agriculture production.

Through a funding partnership between Clif Bar & Company and the UC Presidential Endowment program, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources has established a $1 million directorship for the UC ANR California Organic Institute.

Through a competitive selection process, a director will be chosen to hold an initial seven-year term.The directorship will be awarded by UC ANR to a distinguished UC Cooperative Extension specialist or advisor currently working in the area of organic production in California.

Application and selection details, including timeline and submission guidelines, are available at http://ucanr.edu/sites/StrategicInitiatives/files/318017.pdf.

For any questions, please contact Mark Bell, vice provost for strategic initiatives & statewide programs, at mozbell@ucanr.edu.

Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 11:41 AM

Clif Bar invests in UC’s first organic research institute

The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic farming. Organic strawberries photo by Mark Bolda.

The University of California system's first-ever institute for organic research and education will be established in UC ANR with a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company and $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano. 

The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic by building on the capabilities of UC ANR's Cooperative Extension and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Although organic is the fastest growing sector of the food economy, funding for research has lagged far behind support for conventional agriculture. Farmers interested in transitioning to organic or improving performance of their organic systems often lack the guidance they need to succeed.

“California's organic farmers already benefit from UC ANR's pest management, irrigation and crop production research, and this partnership with Clif Bar will give UC more capacity to focus on challenges specific to organic farming,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “UC Cooperative Extension advisors work directly with farmers throughout the state so new organic farming techniques can be applied quickly.”

The California Organic Institute is Clif Bar's third organic research endowment and the first in its home state of California, where the company sources several key organic ingredients. Clif Bar is not alone in sourcing from the state, which has the most organic farms in the U.S.: California's nearly 3,000 certified organic farms grow crops on land that represents 21% of all U.S. certified organic land.

“The California Organic Institute will serve many of the organic producers we depend on for ingredients like almonds and figs, as well as farmers outside our supply chain,” said Lynn Ineson, vice president of Sustainable Sourcing for Clif Bar. “We recognize that the future of our food company depends on the ecological and economic success of organic and transitioning farmers.”

Recruitment for an institute director will begin in early 2020, with a search committee including industry representatives and partners. The director will work with a permanent advisory committee, Clif Bar, and UC ANR to launch the institute and recruit additional like-minded partners to support its long-term success.

Ultimately, with the support of UC ANR and a constellation of partners, the California Organic Institute will be in a strong position to increase the performance of organic farming for improved stewardship of natural resources, the economic well-being of rural communities, and greater stability for the next generation of California farmers.

 

Posted on Monday, January 27, 2020 at 11:18 AM
  • Author: Linda Forbes

RECs and county office staff update ANR leaders on current projects

UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food in West Oakland.

To get acquainted with the people at each ANR location, Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of research and extension, has been visiting research and extension centers and UCCE county offices and touring the facilities.

“I'm impressed with how passionate and dedicated you are to helping people,” said Lagrimini to UCCE Contra Costa staff after listening to their project updates. He has been impressed with the work he has seen at all of his ANR visits. 

On Sept. 6, Lagrimini visited Hopland Research and Extension Center, three weeks after the River Fire consumed about two-thirds of its property.

John Bailey, right, shows Mark Lagrimini the difference in fire damage to grazed pasture on the left side of the fence compared to the ungrazed areas at Hopland REC.

“While the River Fire damaged parts of the center, none of the main buildings, residences, livestock nor staff were hurt by the fire,” said John Bailey, Hopland REC interim director.

Scientists are invited to a site tour on Oct. 19 to learn more about research opportunities at Hopland REC. 

“With Hopland REC's extensive pre-fire historical data, plus immediate post-fire, pre-rain observations that we are collecting, we have the foundation to support relevant and timely research on the effects of fire and mechanisms of recovery,” Bailey said.

Marisa Neelon, right, shows Mark Lagrimini, left, and Mark Bell the kitchen where UCCE Contra Costa County nutrition educators can prepare food.

AVP Wendy Powers and Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, are joining Lagrimini for many of the visits to learn the latest about UCCE research and outreach and to answer questions from staff.

On Sept. 11, Rob Bennaton, UCCE director in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, introduced Powers, Lagrimini and Bell to UCCE staff in their Hayward offices, then took them to West Oakland to tour City Slicker Farms. UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food at the site.

“Success to us is putting food where people need it and giving them the skills to grow food,” said Rodney Spencer, executive director of City Slicker Farms.

Mark Bell popped into the office of Leah Sourbeer, nutrition program supervisor, to introduce himself.

In Concord, Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Contra Costa County, gave Powers, Lagrimini and Bell a tour of the new office space, which includes space for Master Garden volunteers, a kitchen for nutrition educators to prepare food and a lab for farm and IPM advisors to store and analyze samples.  

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

Staff from each unit delivered a presentation about their current projects for the ANR leaders, who were joined by Humberto Izquierdo, agricultural commissioner for Contra Costa County and Matthew Slattengren, assistant agricultural commissioner.

Charles Go, 4-H youth advisor, and Adan Osoria, EFNEP community nutrition educator, described how 4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption to improve community health and wellness. They launched 4-H2O at John Swett High School in Crockett. At the request of 4-H members, the local school board approved hydration stations and instructed the schools to provide water at meal times, Go said.

4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project that succeeded at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption.

Andrew Sutherland, Bay Area urban IPM advisor, described his research on baiting for cockroaches, subterranean termites and yellowjackets and outreach to educate pest control professionals to practice IPM in schools and multi-unit housing.

“I appreciate the work Andrew does,” said Izquierdo, noting that there is a need for pest management education, especially among the county's urban and immigrant populations.

After seeing all of the presentations, Bell said, “The enthusiasm you bring to your job is inspiring.”

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

After the visit, Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog on Sept. 14: “The programs we've seen in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties this week as well as Santa Clara County a couple weeks back are good reminders of the benefits to all of UC ANR when we have strong, relevant programs in urban areas. These programs not only help the clientele, directly, but help increase the visibility of UC ANR and all of its programs across both urban and ag areas.”

On Sept. 26, Powers, Lagrimini and Bell visited UCCE Riverside, then UCCE San Bernardino the following day.

“We spent yesterday in Riverside meeting with the teams from both UCCE Riverside and UCCE San Bernardino,” Powers wrote in ANR Adventures on Sept. 27. “It was very informative, particularly seeing the fresh ideas that are coming from some of the new staff. We were able to hear about the tremendous success that both counties are having truly working as a team across program areas and layering their efforts for increased program success and support.”

Federal Report Snapshot highlights ANR accomplishments

Each spring, the UC ANR Office of Program Planning and Evaluation (PPE) compiles and submits a report to our federal funding partner, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In August, NIFA approved UC ANR's 2017 report.

A snapshot of the 2017 UC ANR Federal Report is available at the following link: https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Planning. The snapshot highlights several dozen examples of research and extension occurring in each Strategic Initiative and in the field of sustainable energy.  The Federal Report Snapshot can be shared with stakeholders and potential donors to help them better understand the breadth of projects and range of impacts that occur throughout ANR in a given year. 

The full report that was submitted to NIFA captures the annual activities, outputs, and outcomes that occur throughout ANR as a result of NIFA funding on campuses, in counties and at the research and extension centers. 

Information for the report comes from submissions entered in REEport, DANRIS-X (now replaced by Project Board for FY 2018 and on), and UC Delivers. Content experts identify the most significant research highlights and write the program area narrative summaries. This year we want to thank Chris Greer, Cheryl Wilen, Keith Nathaniel, John Harper, Doug Parker and Jeff Dahlberg. Because the report is thorough and lengthy, PPE has created this condensed snapshot, which is drafted with input from Communications Services. 

Both the snapshot and full report are available at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Planning.

 

 

 

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 7:23 PM
  • Author: Jennifer Caron-Sale

Project Board integrates reporting and may facilitate collaboration

Project Board is a new online system that integrates ANR academic program review, civil rights compliance, and accountability reporting requirements. It also has search features that may facilitate collaboration and support advocacy efforts. Project Board launched on May 3, 2018, for academics who have ANR merit + promotion, and on July 31, 2018, for CE specialists whose merit + promotion packages are processed by a campus.

Project Board will be searchable by keyword by all ANR staff and academics to find projects. Only CE academics are required to enter information into the system. New features, bug fixes and help text are being continuously rolled out. Project Board works best on Firefox and Chrome web browsers.

Goodbye DANRIS-X!

Reporting for the federal fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2017, and ends Sept. 30, 2018, is required in Project Board for all Cooperative Extension academics. Training information and technical assistance Zoom hours can be found on this webpage. DANRIS-X is closed for data entry but will remain open for retrievals and reports.

For more information:

 

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 5:51 PM
  • Author: Kit Alviz

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