Posts Tagged: equity
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
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.
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.
The 21-Day Challenge takes place Sept. 14, 2020, through Oct. 5, 2020.
You and a group of 6 to 8 ANR colleagues with whom you'd like to explore and learn with.
- 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.
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:
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 1 – Monday, 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!
California is constantly being challenged by pest invasions, obesity, labor shortages, water scarcity, food insecurity, climate change and more. To accelerate the development and adoption of technologies that address these challenges and advance food, agriculture and natural resources in California, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and AgStart will receive a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to cultivate the Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship (the VINE).
Like a grapevine, the VINE will connect existing clusters of innovation across California and link entrepreneurs with mentors, advisors, collaborators, events, competitions, education and other services to turn good ideas into products and services people can use.
“We want to make sure every Californian has the support system to take a novel idea and commercialize a new product or start a new business,” said VP Glenda Humiston. “They don't have to be a university inventor, they could be a farmer or a young person.”
AgStart itself was established with an EDA i6 Challenge grant to assist agriculture and food technology entrepreneurs in the Sacramento Valley region. Since 2012, AgStart has supported more than 58 entrepreneurs and their companies.
“In 2016, of the 16 entrepreneurial companies that AgStart assisted, eight resided outside our region, and leveraged AgStart's program to make connections into our Sacramento Valley region,” said John Selep, president of AgTech Innovation Alliance, AgStart's sponsor.
“The VINE will expand this AgStart model of connecting entrepreneurs to the resources they need to be successful, to enable entrepreneurs residing anywhere in California to connect to the clusters of resources, contacts, mentors and potential partners that have emerged across the state,” said Selep.
“There are many wonderful regional innovation hubs in food, agriculture and natural resources so we plan to bring value by amplifying their efforts, connecting regions and organizations into a more cohesive ecosystem, and bringing value-added resources that ultimately benefit all Californians through the innovations affecting our economic prosperity, food supply and environment,” Youtsey said.
UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors, who work in every county, can provide insight into real-world conditions that entrepreneurs should consider in the development stage. UC ANR's nine research and extension centers can provide locations to field-test products and demonstrate their effectiveness. For example, start-up Blue River is testing its technology by flying a drone over sorghum crops to collect data at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
For the last two years, UC ANR has hosted the Apps for Ag hackathon and has introduced the winners to mentors, tech industry advisors, farmers, funders and legal experts who can advise entrepreneurs on business structure.
The VINE, which is working with UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health and Valley Vision, is being structured to complement other efforts to establish food, agriculture, and natural resources incubation and innovation resources in cluster locations around the state, such as the BlueTechValley Regional Innovation Cluster, the Western Growers Innovation & Technology Center, UC Merced's VentureLab and others.
Youtsey and Selep are seeking more VINE partners with expertise across the business spectrum.
“If our vision is successful, the VINE will make California the most fertile region in the world for entrepreneurs in ag and food technology to establish themselves, to prosper and grow,” Selep said.
Slattery rejoins UCCE in Butte County
Chelsey Slattery rejoined UC Cooperative Extension on Sept. 18, 2017, as an area nutrition, family, and consumer sciences advisor in Butte County.
From 2013 to 2016, Slattery was a UCCE community education specialist, supervising the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties.
From July 2016 to September 2017, Slattery was a program manager at UC Davis Center for Nutrition Schools, where she oversaw a statewide, multi-component, evidence-based, and research-tested nutrition education program. She facilitated training in coordination with the UC CalFresh State Office and UC CalFresh counties throughout the state of California.
Concurrently, Slattery has been working as a per-diem nutrition specialist since 2015 at Shady Creek Outdoor Education Foundation, where she provides oversight and guidance for the Fit Quest program, bringing comprehensive children's wellness programs to Northern California schools.
Slattery earned an M.S. in organizational leadership from the School of Business Management at National University. She completed a B.S. in exercise physiology/exercise science from CSU Chico.
Based in Oroville, Slattery can be reached at (530) 538-7201 and email@example.com.
California Naturalist wins ANROSP outstanding team award
The California Naturalist Program was named the 2017 Outstanding Team by the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP). Sabrina Drill, associate director of California Naturalist and UC Cooperative Extension advisor, and Marisa Rodriguez, community education specialist with California Naturalist in Southern California, accepted the award on Sept. 21 at the annual ANROSP conference held at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Ore.
Led by director Adina Merenlender, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, the CalNat staff includes Greg Ira, academic coordinator; Brook Gamble, community education specialist; Drill and Rodriguez.
Teamwork is fundamental to the program structure. Since 2012, California Naturalist has certified more than 1,800 Naturalists, who have logged over 100,000 volunteer hours.
The team credits its success to the support and efforts across UC ANR and an extended team of course partners, instructors, statewide partners, educators, scientists, conservation practitioners, and many others who have contributed to the continued adaptive development of the program.
Grant to be inducted into Ag Hall of Fame
On Oct. 19, Joseph Grant, UC Cooperative Extension advisor emeritus, will be among the people inducted into the San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall of Fame at the 33rd Annual Agricultural Hall of Fame Banquet.
For most of his career, Grant, who retired in 2016, worked as a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor and is known for his research on walnuts, cherries, apples, olives and other tree crops.
“It's kind of awesome. I mean when you look at the other people that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, I don't consider myself in that class of people so it's humbling,” Grant said about his induction to the Lodi News-Sentinel.
In addition to Grant, the San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall of Fame will honor Henry “Skip” Foppiano, Jack and Pati Hamm and Hank Van Exel, and give a posthumous honor to winemaker Robert Gerald Mondavi.
According to the Hall of Fame, it “honors those individuals who have contributed to agriculture and to their community in significant ways.”
The banquet will be held at the Robert J. Cabral Ag Center in Stockton. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased by calling the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce at (209) 547-2770 or by visiting http://stocktonchamber.org/ag-hall-of-fame.
USDA-ARS bestows B.Y. Morrison Medal on Zalom
Frank Zalom, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology and integrated pest management (IPM) specialist, has been named the recipient of the 2017 B.Y. Morrison Medal by U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS).
Zalom is the first entomologist to receive the coveted award established in 1968, according to Kim Kaplan of the USDA-ARS Office of Communications.
Zalom was singled out for his outstanding work in IPM related to sustainable horticulture production, specifically for “his outstanding leadership and public service in IPM for horticultural crops at the regional, state, national and international levels; his stellar accomplishments in horticultural crops sustainability and pest management and his work ethic, service, courage and integrity, all driven by his insatiable curiosity and passion to solve problems in the horticultural crops landscape,” Kaplan said.
Zalom received the award, co-sponsored by USDA-ARS and the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), on Sept. 21 at the ASHS conference in Waikoloa, Hawaii. He presented the Morrison Memorial Lecture on “Significance of Integrated Pest Management to Sustainable Horticultural Production – Observations and Experiences.”
Read more at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=25218. -- Kathy Keatley Garvey
The UC ANR Staff Assembly Council will hold a Staff Assembly Ambassadors meeting at the ANR Building in Davis on Oct. 10. The engagement will provide an opportunity for ambassadors to visit and network with colleagues and review Staff Assembly priorities. Additionally, they will discuss opportunities for staff to become more involved in addressing staff concerns and furthering organizational goals.
UC ANR Tote Bags
In an effort to help spread the word about UC ANR Staff Assembly, all Staff Assembly members will receive a We Are UC ANR Staff Assembly tote bag. Members of the UC Staff Assembly include all ANR staff, whether employed by the county or the university, represented by a union or not represented. UC ANR Staff Assembly Ambassadors are the points of contact for distributing the bags at each office.
CUCSA Fall 2017 Meeting
UC San Diego was the site of the CUCSA (Council of University of California Staff Assemblies) Fall 2017 Meeting Sept. 6-8. The meeting included a team building exercise, work group action planning, post retirement health benefit discussions and a review of UC Employee Engagement Survey results. UC ANR junior delegate LeChé McGill and senior delegate Jeannette Warnert represented UC ANR staff at the meeting.
On the subject of potential changes to post-retirement health benefits, CUCSA chair Lina Layiktez provided the summary below and links for more information.
Proposed change to post-retirement health benefits
The proposed action item for the July 2017 Regents meeting was to remove the 70 percent floor on the UC contribution to retiree health benefits and place a cap of 3 percent on year-over-year increases to UC costs. This is a policy change to offset the accounting rule changes required in "GASB 75." GASB 75 requires that the full actuarial value of other postemployment benefits (OPEB) be included on the systemwide balance sheet. This means that UC will have a perceived “new” liability of $21 billion, which would affect the system's overall credit rating. A hit to the UC's credit rating has obvious impacts to financing for the university.
The “new” GASB 75 requirement definition is subject to interpretation, since it was already a liability that was disclosed in previous year's financials. The value of this liability under current assumptions/retiree rules is approximately $21 billion. The current assumptions are being driven by the number of retirees in the system plus the number of potential retirees (active staff and faculty) and how much it would cost the system in health-care costs should the current employees retire today.
What does this all mean?
By removing the floor and capping UC's costs, the university effectively transfers rising health-care premiums to retirees. The assumed rate of health-care cost increase is 7 percent. Over the course of 20 years this would flip the proportion that UC pays to ~30 percent and the retiree to ~70 percent. The 70 percent floor was designed to provide some stability to retiree health-care costs.
What do we see happening?
Many UC employees choose to retire after calculating their retirement income. This is necessary because, except for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), there is no way for retirees to increase their income from the university. So when out-of-pocket health-care costs go up for retirees, this eats into their living expenses. There are already retirees and survivors of retirees who have to choose between health-care costs and food. To suddenly remove the 70% floor exacerbates this problem.
What can you do?
The campus staff assemblies are collecting feedback locally and sharing this up to the Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA), who will be coordinating a response to the UC President and/or Board of Regents. We are also working on a list of questions that include queries, such as what OPEB would look like if it grandparented current employees and implemented the changes to future retirees? What does this mean for retention of employees with 10 to 20 years of service?
The most powerful and helpful thing for us now is to hear about your personal concerns and how this impacts you. Would no OPEB mean you are less likely to retire from the UC system and take a job elsewhere for more money now? Will you have to postpone your retirement if, in retirement, you will have to pay a greater portion of your OPEB than you had planned for under the current plan?
Share your questions and stories with us on the UC ANR Staff Assembly website.
Fortunately, the July agenda was revised and this item was moved to the November meeting agenda. Moving the item to November will allow for more consultation and discussion. It is unknown what approach the UC Office of the President (OP) will take to solicit feedback and engage in discussion. But as that information becomes available, we will make sure to share it broadly. We are hopeful that CUCSA (and therefore a voice of staff) will be included in the discussions and that OP will convene a task force representing all parties that will be affected by the proposed changes. Stay tuned.
Click here for the original July Regents Meeting Agenda Item (F7), which was then revised to remove the discussion on the 70 percent floor.
The immediate past chair of the systemwide Academic Senate, Jim Chalfant, has already written a letter to the UC President on this issue. You can read it online here: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/reports/JC-JN-Retiree-Health.pdf.
We can work collectively to inform and educate staff on this important matter. We are stronger together and the more voices that participate, the louder the message will be to those making the decisions that affect all of us.
UC ANR human resources director John Fox also said one important point that isn't addressed in the CUCSA summary is Medicare coverage. “When a UC retiree enrolls in Medicare, the monthly medical premium costs are significantly reduced (both for the retiree and for UC). Much of the future liability that UC is trying to control (and the risk of high monthly costs for the retirees) is during the time between retirement from UC and the start of Medicare eligibility (typically age 65).”
If you would like to share your stories or post a comment on this proposed change, please fill out the form on the UC ANR Staff Assembly website. We will share comments and stories from UC ANR with CUCSA leadership, who will compile it with information from other campuses to share with the UC President and UC Regents.