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Posts Tagged: diversity

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month May 25, 31

Lanterns by Surendra Dara

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and everyone in the UC ANR community is invited to join virtual events to learn, share, support and celebrate. Join UC ANR colleagues for presentations May 25 and 31. No pre-registration required.

"Stories in Seeds: Asian American Identity as rooted in heirloom crops"

Kristyn Leach, Namu Farms and Second Generation Seeds 
May 25, 2022
12:30-1:30 p.m.

Kristyn Leach, a Korean American farmer in Yolo County, will share her personal story of activism for food and environmental justice, as well as her passion for nurturing connections between Asian American communities and the unique crops and foodways that are deeply rooted in their heritage. In addition to growing Korean and East Asian produce using traditional methods, Kristyn is active with Second Generation Seeds, a collective of Asian American growers dedicated to offering heirloom seeds and resources that help communities of the Asian diaspora reclaim and revitalize their diverse food cultures. 

Zoom Meeting: https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/91740502032?pwd=dENZY1pkMXFpOVd4RmZ5a3I5djJCUT09    

Meeting ID: 917 4050 2032 | Passcode: 007206 | +1 (669) - 900 - 6833 

 

UCCE helps Asian American small farmers overcome language barriers

UC Cooperative Extension small farms advisors Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, Margaret Lloyd, Aparna Gazula and Hung Doan
May 31, 2022
12-1 p.m.

Meet the UCCE team that serves Hmong, Mien, Chinese and Korean American farmers in California. Farming is a complex business made even harder when English is not your native language. When the pandemic struck, UC Cooperative Extension helped Asian American farmers quickly comply with COVID-19 policies and adapt to new market conditions. The small farms team members are currently assisting Asian American farmers to adapt to climate change, access grants and other resources, and identify more ways to remain competitive and sustainable. The researchers also educate policymakers about issues affecting Asian American farmers to shape policy that is more practical.  

Small farms team serving Asian American farmers:

  • Margaret Lloyd, Pang Kue and Fam Fin Lee, Capitol Corridor
  • Vong Moua, Stanislaus County
  • Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, Michael Yang and Lilian Thaoxaochay, Fresno County
  • Aparna Gazula, Xuewen Feng and Qi Zhou, Santa Clara County
  • Hung Doan, Riverside County 

Zoom Meeting https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/92677709394?pwd=ckZRN2VITzQ5czhDOFhFN05wNkdXdz09

Meeting ID: 926 7770 9394 |Passcode: 591183 | +1 (669) 900-6833 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 9:43 AM

L&D - Urban extension, proposal budgeting, supervisor development, stress management

 

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

ANR Learning & Development
Home | Upcoming Webinars & Recordings

Check below for upcoming opportunities and other resources. 

Extension Methods & Delivery
Building Support
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Office, Team and Personal Management

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EXTENSION METHODS & DELIVERY
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National Urban Extension Conference (Rutgers University Cooperative Extension)
May 23-26
Camden, New Jersey

Visit Conference website here.
The 2022 National Urban Extension Conference will be held on May 23-26, 2022, in Camden, New Jersey – part of the Camden-Philadelphia metro area! 

This event provides an opportunity for Extension professionals and applied researchers to share research and innovative educational strategies that address the needs of urban, suburban, and peri-urban populations as well as urban-rural interdependencies.

Extension Skills (Extension Foundation)
May 12, 2022
11 a.m.-noon Pacific Time

Click here to read more and register.
Each second Thursday of the month, the Impact Collaborative's Extension Skills series will provide an opportunity for Cooperative Extension professionals to build capacity with tools, processes and tech skills training. Each month, we will update the information below for the Extension Skills Session for the month.

Dynamic Discussions (Extension Foundation)
May 26, 2022
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Pacific Time

Click here to read more and register.
Each fourth Thursday of the month, the Impact Collaborative will host professionals from across Cooperative Extension and beyond to address hot topics of interest to Cooperative Extension. Each month, we will update the information for the Dynamic Discussion for the month! For new ANR employees, get your free account here: extension.org/members.

Program Center Stage (Extension Foundation)
May 23, 2022
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Pacific Time

Click here for more information and to register.
The Program Center Stage will highlight programs from across the system including current and past New Technologies from Ag Extension projects, Impact Collaborative projects, National programs like EXCITE, and more on the fourth Mondays of each month at 11 a.m. Pacific time.

Converting from Face-to-Face to Digital Learning (LinkedIn Learning)

Click here to access course.
Digital learning removes many of the barriers associated with in-person training, allowing professionals to tune in whenever and wherever they want. And as the world of work becomes increasingly more digital, it's essential that your content adapt to the times. In this course, learn how to transform a traditional face-to-face training into an impactful digital learning experience. Instructor Daniel Brigham delves into the different types of digital learning — from virtual instructor-led training to traditional elearning — and shares tips and tools for developing in each format.

Request your LinkedIn Learning account by contacting ANR IT at help@ucanr.edu.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

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BUILDING SUPPORT

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Budget Basics and Calculator
May 25, 2022
9:30-10:30 a.m.

Learn how to develop a proposal budget. Topics covered include cost components that make up a budget, applicable cost principles, budgeting techniques and practices, calculating F&A costs, and budgeting tools and resources. Presenter is Kendra Rose.

Zoom webinar: https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/751701428?pwd=Q1ZrbUtoQVJwMXJVRkQydUlwNytJQT0
Password: 4Learning | +1 669 900 6833 | Webinar ID: 751 701 428

Award Process
June 22, 2022
9:30 -10:30 a.m.

Once a sponsor elects to fund a proposal, the review, negotiation and award acceptance process begins. This webinar walks you through what is happening in the Office of Contracts and Grants, and what to do when the accepted agreement arrives in your office. Presenters are Kim Lamar and Heidi Von Geldern.

Zoom webinar: https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/751701428?pwd=Q1ZrbUtoQVJwMXJVRkQydUlwNytJQT0
Password: 4Learning | +1 669 900 6833 | Webinar ID: 751 701 428

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

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DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION

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Becoming an inclusive leader: Six key skills for thriving in a diverse world (UC Davis, Virtual)
Click here to read about this series.

Empowering leaders to lead an increasingly diverse workforce (UC Davis, Virtual)
Click here to read more and register.

Diversity — of locations, customers, ideas and talent — is an omnipresent part of today's work environment. When leaders have clarity about what it means to be highly inclusive, they're positioned for success.

Join the Organizational Excellence team in this interactive, research-based monthly series that prepares leaders to develop inclusive workplaces where everyone feels valued and respected.

Commitment - Because Staying the Course is Hard (UC Davis, Virtual)
May 5, 2022
1:30-3 p.m.

Click here to read more and register.
In this session, we will explore how aligning your personal values with the business need for diversity and inclusion is the foundation of being an inclusive leader. You will gain understanding for how your values support inclusivity and increase your commitment to this work.

Courage - Because Talking About Imperfections Involves Personal Risk-Taking (UC Davis, Virtual)
June 9, 2022
9:30 -11 a.m.
Click here to read more and register.

Inclusive leaders speak up with bravery to challenge the status quo and demonstrate humility about their strengths and weaknesses.

In this session, you will identify where and how you can use courage to challenge entrenched attitudes while acknowledging your own personal limitations and mistakes.

Cognizance - Because Bias is the Leader's Achilles Heel (UC Davis, Virtual)
June 14, 2022
10-11:30 a.m.

Click here to read more and register.
Inclusive leaders are aware of both their own biases and blind spots in the organization.

This session will provide insights onto regulating our own biases, as well as enacting processes and structures to mitigate organizational bias.

Click here to learn about more sessions in this series.

Perspectives: Culturally Responsive Place-based Education Series (Michigan State)
May 5, 2022
3:30–5:30 p.m. Pacific Time

Click here to learn more and to register.
The Michigan State University Extension Tollgate Farm and Education Center is hosting a virtual professional development panel discussion series for formal and nonformal educators about learning to better incorporate the perspectives of those with whom we work in schools and educational programs. Moderators and panelists from each community provide a chance for educators to deepen their teaching practice in a safe online space for open conversation and community. SCHECHs are available for teachers. Perspectives: Culturally Responsive Place-Based Education began Nov. 4, 2021, with a session on indigenous perspectives and experiences of maple sugaring especially as they connect to schools and place-based education centers.

Making the Unconscious Conscious: Understanding and mitigating bias (UC Learning Center Virtual Instructor-led)
May 26, 2022 
9 a.m.–noon

Click to register and for more information.
Participants will be introduced to theory and language in understanding implicit and explicit bias. Using personal reflection, experiential exercises and case studies, participants will gain greater awareness when they engage in bias and gain essential knowledge and skills (tools) in how they recognize and mitigate biases in both personal and professional domains. This session includes an exploration of how the pandemic has impacted this area of diversity, equity and inclusion. NOTE: Class is subject to a minimum enrollment of 15 to proceed. Register with the wait list if the class is full.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

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OFFICE, TEAM, & PERSONAL MANAGEMENT

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2022 UC ANR Programmatic Orientations
Click here to read more.

Virtual Orientation (register)
May 10, 2022
9 -11 a.m.

In-Person Tour and Meeting (register)
May 17-18, 2022
UC ANR Building

Plan to join ANR Leadership for the Programmatic Orientation to discuss the mission of UC ANR and our varied roles in California and the University, as well as see examples of successful research and outreach programs.

Disability Management Essential for Supervisors
May 19, 2022
Noon-12:30 PM

This course is designed to provide supervisors and managers with an understanding of the relevant federal and state law as well as UC policy as they relate to working with employees with disabilities. The course will discuss and demonstrate the Interactive Process and how the Interactive Process leads to reasonable accommodation. Presented by David Ritz, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

Zoom Webinar: https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/751701428?pwd=Q1ZrbUtoQVJwMXJVRkQydUlwNytJQT09
Password: 4Learning | Or join by phone: +1 669 900 6833 | Webinar ID: 751 701 428

Leading Through Stressful Times (Connect Extension)
June 8, July 6, Aug. 10
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Pacific Time

Click to read more and register.
Join this summer series for conversations with special guests to get wisdom on turning volatility into vision, uncertainty into understanding, complexity into clarity and ambiguity into agility. Series led by Karl Bradley, Extension Foundation Leadership Development Specialist.

New (or old) to supervision? Tips from colleagues on being a good supervisor
June 16, 2022
Noon-12:30 p.m.

Be you an experienced supervisor or new, come and share and learn practical tips from your colleagues about what makes and how to be a good supervisor. Who should come?Be you a leader, a manager or simply someone who oversees (or wants to oversee) others, come and learn. Presented by Mark Bell.

Zoom Meeting: https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/5307501239?pwd=WDI3U2g5cXRvWUhVUlY3MitJWkVVUT09 | Meeting ID: 530 750 1239 Phone +1 669 900 6833 US | Password: 4Collab

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue (Connect Extension) 
Win a Seat! *
July 25, 2022 - July 29, 2022
11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Pacific Time
Cost $450.00

Click here to read more.
Backed by 30 years of social science, Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue represents the standard in effective communication and the marker of high-performance individuals & organizations. The course teaches nine powerful skills for working through disagreement to achieve better results.

A limited number of seats are available for this course. Each session can have up to 30 individuals participate. Each member institution can send ONE individual at no cost to one of the two sessions available. Registrants will be asked to provide a special discount code provided by their Extension Director or Administrator valid for one individual per member institution on the registration form. If additional individuals wish to participate, please contact impact@extension.org to check if space is available. A $450 invoice will be sent to additional registrants. Registration will close when the sessions are full.

*ANR has received one complimentary seat from Connect Extension! Please fill in this survey by May 10, 2022 - to enter a raffle for this free seat (applicants did not already take the Crucial Conversations course). The winning name will be picked out of a hat, literally! We will also select two alternates to give people time to ask their supervisor for approval and also, in case of last-minute changes.

Work-Life Skills for the New World of Work UC Davis, Virtual Instructor-led)

The WorkLife Program offers presentations to assist people in minimizing work-life conflict and optimizing their work-life harmony. Look for annual topical series or schedule a WorkLife presentation specifically for your team. (see below).

Stress Management in the New World of Work (part of the Work-life skills series, UC Davis, Virtual)
Tuesday, May 17, 12-1 p.m.

Click here to read more and register.
From the time of our very first breath until our last, the majority of individuals will experience various stressful situations and changes. As we go through times of change and high anxiety that might be taking place in our everyday work-life or in the world, we can explore and implement various ways for managing stress and enhancing our well-being. Join us for a discussion on strategies around recognizing stress, decreasing anxiety, and exercising self-care & self-compassion while navigating challenges, stressors, and experiences. The discussion will focus on:

  • What stress is
  • Causes & symptoms of stress
  • Stress management and self-care practices
  • Grounding exercise

This presentation will provide mindfulness tools and coping skills for stress management and increasing well-being in the New World of Work and Life.

Organizational Excellence: How to Navigate Change (part of the Work-life skills series, UC Davis, Virtual)
June 7, 2022
12-1 p.m.

Click here to read more and register.
“The only constant is change.” Yes, we know. That doesn't make it always easy or pleasant! The last two years have brought fast, interconnected changes that we were not expecting. Undoubtedly, there are more changes to come. How can we use what energy we have left in the best possible way, and continue moving forward? In this presentation we will:

  • Examine the process every individual goes through during change.
  • Discuss what you might notice in yourself and others at different points during change
  • Develop actions, skills and ways of thinking to navigate changes
  • Integrate individualized plans to thrive through change

When we consider our individual process and needs, we are prepared to take actions to not only survive change, but to thrive during change.

How to Advocate for Yourself at Work (recording) (April 26, 2022)

Accomplishing More with Less (UC Davis Virtual Instructor-Led Training)
June 21, 2022
8:30 a.m.-noon

Click to read more and to register.
This workshop is designed for business professionals who are responsible for important projects and initiatives and who want to get outstanding results accomplished. The workshop covers topics relating to managing time, managing priorities, managing to-do lists, organizing email, electronic documents, papers, and most importantly being invigorated and re-energized in the workplace and elsewhere.

Improving Your Listening (LinkedIn Learning)

Click here to access course.
Just as public speaking is a skill that you can hone through practice, good listeners aren't in possession of a special, unattainable gift — careful listening is a skill that you can learn. In this course, join career expert Dorie Clark as she helps uncover why it's hard to listen well, and how to develop the mindset of a good listener.

To request your LinkedIn Learning account contact ANR IT at help@ucanr.edu.

Writing Emails People Want to Read (LinkedIn Learning)

Click here to access course.
In this course, instructor Sam Bennett shows you how to write great emails that'll leave a positive impression. First, Sam explains that being both personal and direct contributes to a high return on investment, no matter who your recipient is. She goes over how to use the basic types of emails: inquiry, transactional or informational, and marketing. She steps you through how to write engaging yet clear emails that grab your client's attention and keep it.

To request your LinkedIn Learning account contact ANR IT at help@ucanr.edu.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay


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Everyone can learn something new.
ANR Learning & Development
Find webinar announcements and recordings here.
Office: 530.750.1239
learninganddevelopment@ucanr.edu

Racial Equity in Extension webinar recordings available

Clockwise from top left, panelists Chanowk Yisrael, Kristyn Leach and Victor Hernandez discuss with moderator Stephanie Parreira the needs of diverse farmers.

If you missed the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program's webinar series “Racial Equity in Extension,” you can watch the recordings. All six of the webinars are now available on UC ANR's YouTube channel in a playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLjlfxpbNglZnj700E62ZB4Gn4UoKAsYv.    

In response to participants' questions, UC SAREP is providing additional reading recommendations on conducting research with Indigenous people, and guidelines for working at the interface between western science and Indigenous knowledge. 

Follow-up reading: 

For employees who are interested in collaborating with colleagues to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, UC ANR has two groups you can join:

  • The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Program Team – Gain opportunities to learn and collaborate with like-minded colleagues to improve our capacity to serve diverse external clientele across California. Contact Clare Gupta or Christy Getz for more information on how to join. 

 

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 5:13 PM

DEI Advisory Council begins work by focusing on hiring practices

The UC ANR Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council to the Vice President has begun working to advise, support and ensure accountability for UC ANR's DEI efforts to improve working environments within UC ANR and quality of life for marginalized populations living in California.

The DEI Advisory Council focuses on inclusion and equity for individuals who have one or more marginalized identities (for example, race, national origin, class, gender, sexuality or ability).  

The DEI Advisory Council members, appointed by Vice President Glenda Humiston, include

  • Jairo Diaz-Ramirez
  • Gail Feenstra
  • Elaine Lander
  • Fadzayi Mashiri
  • LeChé McGill
  • Esther Mosase
  • Keith Nathaniel
  • Laura Snell
  • Katherine Soule
  • Rosa Vargas
  • Ricardo Vela
  • Ron Walker
  • Mohammed Yaghmour

All council members have completed training, finalized the council's charter, and developed and obtained approval for a workplan.

To enhance DEI in recruitment, the council partnered with the DEI Alliance Workforce Diversification Committee to review UC ANR hiring practices through a DEI lens and identify areas for improvement. They are finalizing recommendations for outreach, advertising and search committees to attract a more diverse pool of job applicants.

They presented recommended implementation steps to leadership and plan to work with Human Resources to assess the outcome of implemented recommendations and suggest additional actions as needed.

In February, they plan to host a joint meeting with the DEI Alliance to discuss group roles and purpose, collaborations and communication with the ANR community.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 11:09 AM

Farmers of color share their contributions, concerns in UC SAREP webinar series

USDA’s most recent agricultural census, dating to 2017, counts approximately 25,000 producers of color among 128,535 total producers in California. Photo by Evett Kilmartin

When agricultural advisors came to the Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico during the 1940s, they lined the irrigation ditches with concrete, in the name of boosting efficiency and productivity. But in single-mindedly focusing on water delivery, they neglected to consider how the previously inefficient seepage sustained nearby fruit trees. 

Their actions, as well-intentioned as they might have been, disrupted the local ecosystem and killed the trees that had fed many generations, according to A-dae Romero-Briones, who identifies as Cochiti and as a member of the Kiowa Tribe.

“In my language, we call the extension agents ‘the people who kill the fruit trees,'” said Romero-Briones, director of the Food and Agriculture Program for the First Nations Development Institute, a nonprofit that serves Tribal communities across the mainland, Alaska and Hawaii.

The historically tense relationship between Indigenous peoples and government-affiliated programs is one of the many complex dynamics discussed in a six-part webinar series, “Racial Equity in Extension,” facilitated by UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

During the "Retracing the Roots of Sustainable Agriculture" webinar, A-dae Romero-Briones explains the historical tensions between extension agents and Indigenous peoples.
“As extension professionals, we really need to know about the people we want to work with – what are their worldviews and what's the knowledge base that shapes their decisions,” said Sonja Brodt, associate director of UC SAREP, a program of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. “And this is especially important to pay attention to when those people are from cultures or segments of society that have a history of being marginalized or oppressed by mainstream society, and because their significant knowledge has often been made invisible.”

Making communities of color in the agricultural sector more visible is a priority for Victor Hernandez, a sociologist and outreach coordinator for the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Hernandez, who has organized “Growing Together” conferences for Latino and Black farmers, is trying to get more farmers of color to participate in the upcoming 2022 Agricultural Census.

“If we cannot quantify the demographic, we cannot justify the need,” emphasized Hernandez, explaining that his office uses the data to direct resources that advance equity in service, program delivery and distribution of funds.

A legacy of mistrust

At the same time, however, Hernandez also acknowledged the challenges in registering growers of color for the census, conducted by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. (According to Brodt, USDA's most recent agricultural census, dating to 2017, counts approximately 25,000 producers of color among 128,535 total producers in California.)

“Many of us that are considered socially disadvantaged or historically underserved…a lot of times our peoples come from [nations with] oppressive governments,” Hernandez said. “And so when you come to the United States and you begin to build your life here, to go and engage with the federal government is not the first knee-jerk reaction.”

On top of government mistrust and fears of deportation or detention, other immigrant groups have seen mainstream agriculture – borne by the “Green Revolution” wave across the globe – replace deep-rooted cultural practices, said Kristyn Leach of Namu Farm in Winters.

“It just makes these small farmers distrust our own knowledge, the knowledge that's existed for centuries – before the kind of current iteration of agriculture that we're situated within right now,” said Leach, who works to preserve the agricultural heritage of her Korean ancestors, and facilitates a farmers' collaborative called Second Generation that adapts Asian crop varieties to climate change.

According to Romero-Briones, a collective memory of supplanted culture also lingers in Indigenous communities. In the Cochiti Pueblo, “primarily a subsistence agriculture community” with a long history of corn cultivation, their practices are distinct from those in the mainstream – including regenerative and sustainable agriculture.

Clockwise from top-left: Chanowk Yisrael, Kristyn Leach and Victor Hernandez share their perspectives during the "Serving Farmers of Color" webinar, moderated by UC ANR's Stephanie Parreira.
“These practices are not really rooted in Indigenous agriculture,” she explained. “They're actually meant to displace Indigenous agriculture and food systems.”

Building relationships takes commitment

Given that legacy of cultural displacement and appropriation, how do extension professionals and other agricultural advisors slowly rebuild trust with communities of color? For Romero-Briones, it begins with a genuine respect for Indigenous practices, and she urges interested people to contact their local tribal historic preservation officer to begin strengthening those connections and understanding – beyond a couple of phone calls.

“As someone who works with Indigenous people all day, even I need to recognize sometimes I have to meet with people up to 12 times before we actually start talking about the work that I initially wanted to talk to them about,” Romero-Briones said.

In a similar vein, Chanowk Yisrael, chief seed starter of Yisrael Family Farms, encouraged listeners to reach out to members of the California Farmer Justice Collaborative – an organization striving for a fair food system while challenging racism and centering farmers of color.

“To use a farm analogy: we've got this ground, which is the farmers of color who have been neglected for a long period of time,” said Yisrael, who has grown his farm in a historically Black neighborhood of Sacramento into a catalyst for social change. “It's not just going to be as simple as just throwing some seeds and things are going to come up; you're going to have to do more – that means you got to get out and do much more than you would do for any other community.”

Investing time in a community is one thing – and backing it up with tangible resources is another. Technical expertise is only the “tip of the iceberg,” Leach said, as historically marginalized groups are also seeking land access and tenure, more affordable cost of living, and access to capital.

“All of those things are actually much bigger burdens to bear for most communities of color than not having the knowledge of how to grow the crops that we want to grow, and not knowing how to be adaptive and nimble in the face of climate change," Leach explained, highlighting California FarmLink as an essential resource. (“Understanding Disparities in Farmland Ownership” is the next webinar in the SAREP series, set for Nov. 19.)

Bringing diverse voices to the table

Another key is ensuring that farmers and farm workers of color are represented in management and decision-making processes. Samuel Sandoval, a professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources and UC Cooperative Extension specialist in water management, develops outreach programs in English and Spanish for everyone from farm workers to the “boss of the boss of the boss.”

Samuel Sandoval, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources and UC Cooperative Extension specialist in water management, develops outreach programs in English and Spanish.
Sandoval said there are often gaps of communication between the decision makers and the people, most often Spanish speakers, who implement those measures. He remembers, for example, talking with water resource managers about their plans for a water treatment plant or new irrigation system – and then discovering that the irrigators and farm workers had no idea those discussions are happening.

“It has to be changed,” he said, “because at the end, the person who is going to operate the irrigation system and turn on or off the valves, the person who is looking if there's a leak or not – that's the person who's not being informed, or has not been informed on purpose.”

That exclusion of certain groups can lead to a loss of invaluable knowledge. Leach said there is a real danger in ignoring the wisdom of communities that have contributed so much to the foundation of food systems in California and around the globe.

“These really kind of amazing, sophisticated and elegant agroecological systems that we don't often legitimize through the scientific language and perspectives aren't seen as being really technically proficient – but, in many ways, they're more dynamic and more resilient than the things that we're perpetuating right now,” she said.

As a concrete example, Sandoval said that while extension advisors and specialists conduct studies to remedy a plant disease, farm workers might be developing – separately and in parallel – their own solutions by asking for advice from their social networks via WhatsApp, a phone application.

A reimagining of collaboration, Sandoval said, would include (and compensate) people working in the field for sharing their perspectives – bringing together academics and farmers, integrated pest management experts and pesticide applicators, irrigation specialists and those who do the irrigation.

A need to look within

Concerns about inclusion and validating alternate sources of knowledge apply also to the recruitment process in extension. Leach said that she has seen listings for advisor jobs that would require, at a minimum, a master's degree – which would automatically disqualify her, despite her extensive knowledge of Asian heirloom vegetables.

“When you look at a job description and you see ‘Asian crop specialist,' only required qualification is a master's degree, and then somewhere down the long list of sort of secondary desired, recommended things is some knowledge of Asian crops or communities…you know that just says a lot in terms of what  has weight,” Leach explained.

Before organizations can authentically connect with communities of color, they should prioritize diversity in their own ranks, said Romero-Briones. First Nations Development Institute had to ensure that they had adequate representation across the many Tribes that they serve.

“Before we start looking out, we have to start looking in,” she explained, “and that means we have to hire Indigenous people who know these communities.”

For extension professionals and other members of the agricultural community in California, the UC SAREP webinar series has helped spark that introspection and a meaningful reevaluation of institutional processes and assumptions.

“These discussions have been tremendously illuminating and eye-opening,” Brodt said. “But hearing and learning is just the start – it's incumbent on us, as an organization and as individuals, to take action to ensure that farmers of color and their foodways are truly respected and valued.”

Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 4:20 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Food

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