The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis and its programs are at two locations at this year's Picnic Day at the UC Davis campus Saturday, April 20, 2013.
The institute is sharing organic pepper plants grown by students at the UC Davis Student Farm. Visit the ASI booth at Robbins Hall along California Avenue from 10 a.m. until we run out of plants.
Also, stop by the Memorial Union booth, where we are handing out samples of Russell Ranch Dried Tomato pesto, cream cheese and julienned dried tomatoes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Picnic Day. The booth is directly outside the bookstore in the courtyard next to Freeborn Hall.
In 2012, ASI Director Tom Tomich co-authored an article with ASI Affiliated faculty members and UC Davis faculty about Agroecology from a global perspective in the Annual Reviews and Environment and Resources.
The Annual Reviews has added a video lecture from Tom as a way to share more broadly the messages of this article. In this video lecture, he discusses the agricultural challenges brought on by a world population that could surpass nine billion individuals by 2050, as well as water scarcity, climate change, pests, nitrogen prices, and geopolitical factors. An important question will be how to feed nine billion people and do it in a sustainable way. He stresses the importance of approaching agroecology from an scientific perspective, integrated across disciplines, from economic and social sciences to entomology and genomics.
The entire article can be found here
(though access may require a subscription).
The first in a series of webinars focused on the science of sustainability at the University of California is now available. Watch the video by clicking the image below.
Is there a sustainability science?
- Sustainability: What does it mean?
- Is there a “sustainability science”?
- What is at stake?
Speaker: Tom Tomich
- Director of the Agriculture Sustainability Institute at UC Davis (ASI)
- Director of the UC ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SAREP)
- W.K. Kellogg endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at UC Davis
- Professor of Community Development, Environmental Science & Policy
- Master Advisor of the newly established Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems major at UC Davis
Presented by the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR), the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis and the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SAREP)
The full webinar took place:
Friday, Feb. 15
Details to follow about additional webinars in the series.
Harold McClarty wants to feed the world while teaching his grandson about the importance of giving back.
by Courtney S. Miller
While many grandparents will be giving a bike or doll to their grandkids this holiday season, Harold McClarty is giving his grandson, Reed, a more unusual gift.
Through the Adopt-an-Acre program at the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis, McClarty recently made a donation to “adopt” an acre at UC Davis’ Russell Ranch Sustainable Agricultural Facility in honor of Reed McClarty, the youngest member of the McClarty family. McClarty, who is a prominent Central Valley farmer, said he made the gift because he wants to teach his one-and-a-half year old grandson and the entire McClarty family about the importance of agricultural sustainability while supporting a program that coincides with the family philosophy of giving back.
“Purchasing this acre is a legacy to Reed,” McClarty said. “We’re giving him something for the rest of his life.”
The UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences seeks to hire an assistant Professor in Plant Sciences who would be affiliated with ASI.
The successful candidate’s research will focus on agricultural systems and how management practices affect the use and quality of natural resources. Possible topics might include cropping systems analysis and research to attain sustainable production of irrigated annual and perennial crops (e.g.: resource cycling (nutrients, carbon, water), energy flows, climate change, agrobiodiversity, agroecosytem services. Creativity in collaborative research using field station and farm locations is expected. The appointee will collaborate with other scientists at UC Davis including staff and faculty affiliates of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, Cooperative Extension specialists, advisors and researchers from other universities and agencies to address important agricultural/environmental issues in California. Interest in international agriculture is desirable. Teaching is assigned by the department chair and will include responsibilities in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems undergraduate major and include courses in sustainable agriculture systems, agroecosystem management and crop ecology.
Russell Ranch recently participated in the Robert Mondavi Institute's 2012 Terroir Event . The event, focused mostly on wine grapes, examined the current understanding of terroir -- the concept that soil, climate, topography and similar elements of a local environment affect the quality and taste of the foods we grow.
So much of the focus at Russell Ranch is on soils, we thought it appropriate to share a bit about our own terroir with an infographic.
Approximately every ten years, the research team at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility gets the chance to dig deep into their research material to help answer questions about the long-term sustainability of agricultural systems.
With a steel probe attached to the back of a tractor, the team digs three meters deep to take soil samples at 432 different points around the 72-acre field. The initiative takes the team nearly a month to complete, and the information in each soil core can answer major research questions about the long-term effects of different farming methods on soil health and help inform year-round research efforts at the ranch.
“The effort that has gone into collecting this unique set of samples will pay off in figuring out agricultural impacts on processes happening not only in plain sight, but also out of view, buried deep in the soil,” said Russell Ranch director Kate Scow.
The sampling effort is part of the Century Project, Russell Ranch’s 100-year-long experiment. The project divides 72 acres of land into individual one-acre plots, with each plot given different treatments throughout the year. Some plots are irrigated; other plots are farmed without added water. Some plots are treated with compost; others are treated with synthetic fertilizer. Each individual plot demonstrates how a combination of different practices can affect crop yield, soil health and the health of surrounding ecosystems.
Read more about the 10-year soil sampling at UC ANR's Green Blog.
In anticipation of our fifth annual External Advisory Board meeting, we are pleased to share our 2012 Strategic Snapshot and message from ASI's Director, Tom Tomich.
In collaboration with the Information Center on the Environment at UC Davis (ICE), ASI's initiative on sustainable sourcing seeks to enhance the sustainability of how we source raw materials from around the world. The project seeks to create a scientifically-validated framework that food companies and other stakeholders can use when making decisions about agricultural sourcing.
ASI's director Tom Tomich and academic coordinator Sonja Brodt recently presented a webinar on the Sustainable Sourcing Project to interested stakeholders. The webinar is available on the Sustainable Sourcing Web page.
Learn more about the project.
Located in one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, Russell Ranch seeks to answer the question: Can we increase sustainability as we increase food production?
Russell Ranch operates as a commercial scale farm under strict research parameters, seeking to better understand long-term trends in ho changes in farming practices affect yield, profitability, resource-use efficiency and environmental impacts.
UCTV Prime, the YouTube channel for the University of California, is now airing a series of short videos in a series called The Future of Farming. The series was produced by UC Davis Director of campus communications Mitchel Benson with the help of several faculty and staff affiliated with ASI.
This four-part series examines the challenges of reforming our food production to meet the needs of a growing population, and demonstrates how UC Davis is leading the way in developing sustainable, high-tech agriculture practices and training the next generation of farmers.
A teaser video and the first video in the series – which mentions the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems major, the Student Farm, Russell Ranch, and more – can now be seen here: http://www.uctv.tv/farming/
Episodes three and four will be released Nov. 6 and 13.
Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, a UC Davis graduate student pursuing her passion for sustainable agriculture, has been awarded a $15,000 fellowship from the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation.
As part of her graduate studies, Carlisle-Cummins works on a chile pepper project at the UC Davis Student Farm to teach fellow students and the public about the importance of plant diversity and breeding.
Israel Herrera, facility manager at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility at UC Davis, was awarded a Citation for Excellence by Chancellor Linda Katehi and the UC Davis Staff Assembly this month. The award recognizes outstanding achievements by UC Davis staff.
The Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis nominated Herrera out of appreciation for his overall positive attitude, generosity, intelligence and integrity.
Herrera has been an integral part of Russell Ranch’s success. He has designed farming equipment for better cover crop incorporation with a local equipment manufacturer. In order to improve water research and water monitoring capabilities, Herrera negotiated the repair of two on-site wells with campus Utilities that included adding automated controls and remote access for system monitoring. Herrera advocated for switching from contract-based farm labor to hiring two permanent, fairly paid farm laborers for the ranch. Herrera also keeps strong ties with the local farming community through personal visits and by assisting them with new equipment in conservation tillage and cover crop management.
Herrera remains steadfast in his devotion to both the research and practical needs of Russell Ranch, working long hours and weekends during peak seasons. He has skillfully managed a complex research station with limited resources and support for many years. His leadership, creativity and outreach to the community have created long-lasting relationships within and beyond the university community.
Thank you for all you do, Israel!
On Sunday morning, June 17, thousands of students marched through UC Davis' campus in caps and gowns to receive their diplomas. That afternoon, we gathered at the Ecological Garden to celebrate with Genna Lipari and Alannah Kull, the two students who make up the first graduating class of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Major (SA&FS).
The SA&FS major, officially launched at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, integrates multiple subjects to provide students with a thorough understanding of the many issues facing modern farming and food systems, including production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management.
The degree was created with the goal of instilling in students the ability to step back and see the big picture, said Professor Ryan Galt, who teaches a core course in the major.
For Genna Lipari, that goal was met. "I'm well positioned," she said. "I think I get the big picture a little better than most [new graduates]. It's a valuable perspective to have in the work force."
We want to congratulate Genna and Alannah on their accomplishment, and wish them the best of luck as they head out into the work force. New students are frequently showing interest in the SA&FS major, so we look forward to future graduation ceremonies and the chance to celebrate the work of our students.
The UC Davis campus is the place to be Saturday, April 21.
Join the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis for one of the largest student-run events in the nation – Picnic Day.
The institute will be giving out organic basil plants grown by students at the UC Davis Student Farm – a campus-based program within the institute that was founded in 1978.
Drop by the institute’s booth at Robbins Hall. Take home a basil plant, and learn more about food sustainability.
Learn from a student at the UC Davis Student Farm how to care for basil here.
We are always excited when we get the chance to share the work of our staff and faculty. What excites us even more is when that work is more formally recognized for its quality.
UC SAREP Program Coordinator, Jeri Ohmart and former SAREP employee David Chaney served as the publication coordinators for the recently released Organic Vegetable Production Manual published by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR).
The Manual, which provides detailed information for growers on how to farm vegetables organically and how to succeed in a competitive marketplace, recently received a Silver Award from the 2012 PubWest Book Design Awards.
Congratulations to Jeri and David, as well as Milt McGiffen, the manual's technical editor and UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for their hard work and high quality product.
The Organic Vegetable Production Manual, along with many other publications on agricultural production practices can be purchased through the UC ANR catalog.
The UC Davis Children's Garden is collaborating with Life Lab, the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego and the California School Garden Network to host the California School Garden Training Program.
These workshops, offered throughout California, April through June, will offer important information for teams working to create or enhance their school gardens. Separate "Train the Trainer" workshops will teach school garden professionals how to replicate the workshop model to better expand the reach of California school gardens. For more information or the register for the events, visit Life Lab.
New members have been appointed by UC ANR VP Barbara Allen-Diaz to the advisory panel for the Sustainable Food Systems Strategic Initiative, announced Rose Hayden-Smith, initiative leader.
Among these new members are Tom Tomich, director of ASI and UC SAREP and ASI affiliated faculty member Ermias Kebreab, professor in the department of Animal Science at UC Davis and Sesnon Endowed Chair in sustainable agriculture.
Areas covered in the SFS initiative include:
- Improve Water Quality, Quantity, and Security
- Enhance Competitive, Sustainable Food Systems
- Increase Science Literacy in Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Nutrition
- Sustainable Natural Ecosystems
- Enhance the Health of Californians and California’s Agricultural Economy
- Healthy Families and Communities
- Ensure Safe and Secure Food Supplies
- Managing Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases
- Improve Energy Security and Green Technologies through Innovative Science Linking Engineering, Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Sciences
"In Organic We Trust" is a new documentary film that looks beyond 'organic' for other practical solution like farmer's markets, school gardens and urban farms that are revolutionizing the way we eat.
The film features Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis Director Tom Tomich, Sierra Orchards and the Center for Land-Based Learning President Craig McNamara, and many other important voices in agriculture.
Check out the "In Organic We Trust" world premier at the San Francisco Film Festival in February.
Where: Roxie Theater in the Mission district (3117 16th St.)
When: Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2:45p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:15p.m.
Tickets are $11 and can be purchased here.
Visit the "In Organic We Trust" Web site to learn more.
Several sessions at this weekend's EcoFarm conference in Pacific Grove, Calif., will feature UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program- and program-funded research.
We are looking forward to celebrating the program's 25th anniversary with our EcoFarm friends and UC Davis colleagues, including 10 UC Davis students in attendance with the help of Agricultural Sustainability Institute travel scholarships.
You are encouraged to attend UC SAREP and ASI events at EcoFarm.
- Join us to celebrate SAREP's 25th anniversary at a reception on Thursday evening.
- Thursday, Feb. 2, 8-10 p.m., Kiln room. The reception is open to anyone attending the EcoFarm conference.
Food hubs and value-based supply chains, plenary session
- Thursday, Feb. 2, 3:30-5 p.m.
Friends of UC SAREP are participating in sessions at EcoFarm that are sure to be interesting and informative. Check out:
- Immigration is always an Issue!
- Featuring George Daniels III, Richard Hobbs, and Dave Runsten
- Thursday, Feb 2, 8:30am
- Grazing Systems: From set stock to mob grazing, and everything in between
- Moderated by Roger Ingram, UC Cooperative extension
- Thursday, Feb. 2 10:30am
- On farm habitat diversity for bees and beneficials
- Featuring John Anderson, Hedgerow farms
- Thursday, Feb. 2, 10:30am
Sustainable farming study produces more than research results
Adding to a growing list of campus-produced products, Russell Ranch introduced a new UC Davis product today -- Russell Ranch Dried Tomatoes.
Today, in celebration of the new product, Gunrock Pub is offering an appetizer that includes the organically grown, locally dried tomatoes as a gift from the chef with purchase of an entree.
Also, Tuesday, Nov. 29, Russell Ranch will host a tasting at the UC Davis Bookstore from noon to 2 p.m.
Russell Ranch Dried Tomatoes are grown at UC Davis' Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility, a 300 acre farm west of campus. The organically grown tomatoes are part of a century-long study of agricultural sustainability at the ranch that compares the long-term effects of different ways of farming.
After years of selling tomatoes off campus, Russell Ranch staff began working with UC Davis Dining Services as it sought more sources of locally grown food in order to reduce the carbon footprint of food served on campus. For the past two years, freshly harvested Russell Ranch tomatoes have been used in the Russell Ranch Roasted Tomato Sauce that accompanies a variety of dishes - from pizza to polenta and ratatouille - served on campus.
This year, Russell Ranch staff developed a new limited-quantity product that can be enjoyed on and off campus.
Russell Ranch Dried Tomatoes are also available at the Memorial Union Coffeehouse, the UC Davis Medical Center and for purchase through the UC Davis Bookstore.
$4 for a 2.75 oz bag
$12 for a 9.75 ox bag
ASI and SAREP staff and affiliated UC Davis faculty have recently published two new articles in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources.
The Annual Review of Environment and Resources provides a complimentary
one-time access to each article as a PDF, downloadable from their website.
Agroecology: A Review from a Global-Change Perspective
Tom Tomich, Sonja Brodt, Kate Scow, and affiliated UC Davis faculty formed a multidisciplinary team to map key components of agroecology. The article conceptualizes the future of agroecology as a discipline and seeks to identify forward-looking scientific questions to enhance the relevance of agroecology for the key challenges of mitigating environmental impacts of agriculture while dramatically increasing global food production, improving livelihoods, and thereby reducing chronic hunger and malnutrition over the coming decades.
Energy Intensity of Agriculture and Food Systems
SAREP's Sonja Brodt is a contributing author for a new article in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources. The relationships between energy use in food systems, food system productivity, and energy resource constraints are complex. Moreover, ongoing changes in food production and consumption norms concurrent with urbanization, globalization, and demographic changes underscore the importance of energy use in food systems as a food security concern. The article reviews the current state of knowledge with respect to the energy intensity of agriculture and food systems and highlights key drivers and trends in food system energy use along with opportunities for and constraints on improved efficiencies.
At the request of the California State Legislature, the University of California established the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) in 1986 both to help Californians understand the significance of participating in a sustainable food system and to assist farmers and ranchers in developing and implementing sustainable production and marketing systems.
In celebration of SAREP's 25th anniversary, we asked present and past collaborators to reflect on their work with SAREP, and on SAREP's history with California agriculture.
The College of Agriculture and Environmental Science is hosting its first Outlook Speaker Series on Saturday, November 5. The topic of the program is “Feeding a Hungry Planet.” Faculty members will address their research and how each topic is helping to feed people locally and globally.
Rusell Ranch Director and ASI Deputy Director, Kate Scow, will speak at the event, alongside Dr. Beth Mitcham of Plant Sciences and Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam of Animal Sciences.
Saturday, November 5 at 9:00am
Location: UC Davis Conference Center
8:30–9 a.m. Optional Continental Breakfast
9–9:30 a.m. Welcome: Dean Neal Van Alfen
9:35–10:20 a.m. Capacity building: Dr. Beth Mitcham,
10:25–11:10 a.m. Sustainable agriculture: Dr. Kate
Scow, Land, Air and Water Resources
11:15–noon Biotechnology: Dr. Alison Van
Eenennaam, Animal Science
For more information, visit the Outlook Speaker Series website.
In recognition of Food Day, more than 2,000 events are being hosted across the nation today to inspire Americans to take part in a more sustainable food system by eating healthier; expanding access to food; eating food produced in ways that improve our land, air and water, and more.
ASI is among those sponsoring student-organized Food Day activities at UC Davis today.
Try freshly harvested Student Farm produce prepared by UC Davis Dining Commons:
Noon-2 p.m. Silo Patio
6-8 p.m. Cuarto Dining Commons
6-8 p.m. Tercero Dining Commons
Stop by the CoHo this evening to find but more about this nationwide campaign for delicious, healthy, and affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.
6:30-9:30 p.m. Pedal powered smoothies, food samples and photo booths in the Memorial Union Coffee House
7:30-8 p.m. ASI-affiliated faculty member Ryan Galt will talk about the food system.
8-9:30 p.m. screening of ‘The Greenhorns’, a fun film exploring the lives of America's young farming community - its spirit, practices, and needs.
For more information about Food Day, including a list of events, visit the Food Day Web site.
NETWORK COORDINATOR (PROGRAM REPRESENTATIVE II)
50% part-time position
Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the full position description including a description of the essential job responsibilities and qualifications.
To apply, review directions for “How to Apply” on the UC Davis Career Opportunities Web Page: https://www.employment.ucdavis.edu. Refer to Requisition # 03006375, Payroll Title: Program Representative II. For full consideration, apply by Monday Nov. 7th, 2011.
Under direction of the Director for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI), provide coordination and organizational support to the networking, education, research, and engagement activities of the national Inter-institutional Network for Food, Agriculture and Sustainability (INFAS).
In consultation with Network members, establish an action plan to identify and track the steps necessary to achieve Network goals; facilitate communication and convene Network members as a group (virtually or in person); promote community engagement with Network members and connections with other networks; and serve as a catalyst to connect people strategically where there is potential for mutual benefit.
Guide the development of grant proposals to secure additional funding for collaborative projects. Coordinate national symposia and other meetings to engage diverse stakeholders in discussion of critical issues. Draft and coordinate review of reports and other documents. Organize content and provide oversight to INFAS web page. Facilitate outreach to potential new Network members.
Develop opportunities for mentoring and involvement of emerging leaders and young scholars seeking to address agriculture and food systems challenges.
The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) has awarded $150,000 in grants to 14 projects that focus on sustainable food systems research and outreach.
While all of the projects explore and support sustainable food production and marketing, this year's grant recipients' projects range in subject from health food access issues to rangeland stewardship.
For additional information about this year's grants, including a full list of this year's grant recipients, see SAREP's press release.
For more information, contact SAREP's Sonja Brodt, (530) 754-8547, or Gail Feenstra, (530) 752-8408.
The Agricultural Sustainability Institute invites you to attend the following guest presentations:
Monday, October 3, 1pm:
Christoper Graham, Cornell University
Balancing Nitrogen Sinks and Sources Using Cover Crops and Manured Fields
Location: 140 Robbins Hall
Thursday, October 6, 1pm
Kathleen Guillozet, Oregon State University
Livelihoods and Land Use Change in Highland Ethiopia
Location: Olive room, DANR Building, 225 Hopkins Road
Friday, October 7, 9:30am:
Elizabeth Cedar Louis, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
The Political Ecology of Food Sovereignty Movements in Neoliberal India
Location: Olive Room, DANR Building, 225 Hopkins Road
Monday, October 10, 1pm:
Dilruba Yeasmin, University of Arizona
A Framework for Evaluating and Assessing the Effects of Urban Growth on Protected Areas
Location: 140 Robbins Hall
Please join us on Tuesday, October 4 for a round-table discussion with Nuffield Farming Scholar, Michael Inwood.
Nuffield Farming Scholar
Sheep and rangeland farmer, Toulon
When: 2-3pm, Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Where: 140 Robbins Hall, UC Davis
Free and open to the public
Michael Inwood is a third generation sheep and wool producer from Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. The Inwood family run up to 10,000 superfine wool, merino sheep on their farm "Toulon." Michael has been awarded a prestigious 2011 Nuffield Scholarship to study regenerative and sustainable agriculture with a focus on soil inputs. He is specifically interested in how soil biology can improve the efficiency of nutrient utilization and what inputs are needed to assist the process. He is conducting a farm-level farming systems project in Australia, "Toulon- Engaging Nature" with a focus on future sustainability and includes work on solar powered farm vehicles for sowing crops (www.engagingnature.com). This project aims to engage nature to solve many pressing environmental, farm management and community concerns.
For more information please contact:
Emma Torbert | firstname.lastname@example.org | 530-752-5208
Gail Feenstra of SAREP, Jeri Ohmart of SAREP/ASI and Shermain Hardesty of Agricultural Resource Economics at UC Davis are contributing authors on a recently published article in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. The article, Using a Supply Chain Analysis to Assess the Sustainability of Farm to Institution Programs, responds to rising interest in local and sustainable food among colleges and universities. The study focuses on how to foster farm-to-institution programs by exploring barriers, opportunities, and potential solutions from different perspectives in the supply chain. Using a values-based supply chain approach, the article offers unique insights to people developing and maintaining these programs.
The full abstract for the article can be found here.
*The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development is a new online journal and requires a subscription for complete articles. For UC affiliates, the journal articles can accessed through the UC library system.
SAREP compiled an extensive annotated bibliography of literature relating to values-based supply chains for Know Your Farmer/Know Your Food: A California Project. The bibliography can serve as a valuable resource for anyone involved in creating or researching supply chains, food hubs, and farm to institution programs.
SAREP's Gail Feenstra and Julia Van Soelen Kim are contributing authors on a new article "Value Chains for Sustainable Procurement in Large School Districts: Fostering Partnerships" The article chronicles two separate pilot efforts to create value chains for mid-scale farms to supply large school districts' food-service operations with more healthful, local, and sustainably produced foods, using a modified farm to school model.
The full abstract for the article can be found here.
*The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development is a new online journal and requires a subscription for complete articles. For UC affiliates, the journal articles can accessed through the UC library system.
The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program is collaborating with Verliant Energy Partners to launch a new approach, called solutions centers, to showcase the latest sustainable solutions to critical issues in agricultural and food systems.
A solution center is a combination of virtual, web-based information portals along with networks of live demonstration sites and technical experts who can provide practical, science-based information to end-users. Each solution center will focus on a specific issue in agriculture and food systems, and will provide guidance on how to adapt information to a wide range of conditions, or different use cases, in California.
"Given the diversity of California agriculture, we prioritize engaging end-users like farmers and cooperative extension farm advisors to help us to develop a structure for solution centers that is highly adaptable, and avoids a one-size-fits-all approach," says Sonja Brodt, Academic Coordinator and SAREP's leader on the first solution center project.
Verliant Energy Partners is partnering with SAREP in the first phase of this launch, to develop a prototype solution center focused on re-purposing agricultural waste streams for bioenergy creation (using anaerobic digesters) and for nutrient capture and re-use. The first steps in this phase are already underway - to organize all UC assets on this topic into a central repository. These assets include existing information and learning tools, as well as an inventory of demonstration sites and researchers.
"Best practices in sustainable agriculture are being sought by the ag industry in general. UC Davis is a thought-leader in this field. Creating a platform on campus to allow easy collaboration and flow of information helps all parties. We are committed to supporting this platform by helping to make the SAREP Solution Center a reality," said Haider Nazar, CEO of Verliant Energy Partners and incoming ASI External Advisory Board member.
"SAREP has 25 years of history connecting UC science with the needs of California farmers and ranchers. With the help of Verliant Energy Partners, we feel SAREP's solution center approach will enhance our ability to assist California agriculture in addressing new challenges and seizing emerging opportunities," said Tom Tomich, Director of SAREP and ASI.
Prepared by a team of UC Davis students for the Yolo Ag and Food Alliance, this report examines the plausibility of creating a food hub in Yolo and Solano Counties. Researchers explored recent trends in food hubs across the country and conducted a food system assessment of the two counties. The food system assessment tracks historical trends and data in Yolo and Solano Counties for five sector of the food system: production, processing, distribution, retail, and consumption. By analyzing these sectors, the report provides a context to better understand the viability of a possible food hub in the region and includes exercises and recommendations to help guide the AFA through a planning process.
AGree, a new initiative to transform food and agricultural policy, unveiled the members of both its advisory and research committees this summer. ASI External Advisory Board members A.G. Kawamura and Judith Redmont will both serve on AGree's advisory committee.
ASI Director Tom Tomich was named to AGree's research committee, which provides expert advice to help AGree develop effective policy solutions.
We at ASI are excited for these new important partnerships!
Dr. Ryan Galt won the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Consortium for Women and Research at UC Davis. This award is meant to honor Academic Senate and Academic Federation members for mentoring post-docs, graduate students and/or undergraduates in research, professional development.
Galt works closely with graduate students in the Geography and Community Development grad groups who focus largely on food systems and sustainable agriculture-based research. His undergraduate course in Food Systems is entering its fourth year and will be one of the core courses offered in the new Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems major.
Find out more about the Outstanding Mentor Award here.
The Agricultural Sustainability Institute, with the support of Mars, Inc, is launching a new initiative to improve the sustainability of global agricultural raw materials sourcing, with particular emphasis on key commodities. The institute is searching for two postdoctoral researchers to assist in this endeavor.
The California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply released a set of proposed strategic actions to increase water security for California agriculture while maintaining or improving other beneficial uses.
Roundtable members identified agricultural water stewardship as a key area of importance for sound long-term water management. In its report, Water Stewardship: Recommendations to Optimize Outcomes for Specialty Crop Growers and the Public in California, roundtable members present a unified set of principles for agricultural water stewardship. The report also identifies a set of targeted recommendations for state agencies, water suppliers, local water management groups, and the agricultural and research communities designed to facilitate long-term solutions.
For the full report, visit http://aginnovations.org/articles/view/stewardship_recs/.
Visit the Agricultural Sustainability Institute’s Picnic Day booth.
Saturday, April 16
Starting at 9 a.m.
At Robbins Hall, facing California Ave.
In addition to learning about the institute,
- Win a tomato seedling at the Students for Sustainable Agriculture’s seasonal food game
- Vote on the issues most important to the long-term viability of food production
We're hiring for a new Executive Assistant. Visit our ASI jobs page for more.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the full position description including a description of the essential job responsibilities and qualifications.
To apply, review directions for “How to Apply” on the UC Davis Career Opportunities Web Page: https://www.employment.ucdavis.edu. Refer to Requisition # 03005018, Payroll Title: “__” Assistant III.
For full consideration, apply by Thursday, March 24, 2011.
The top 100 questions of importance to the future of global agriculture / Las cien preguntas mas importantes para el futuro de la agricultura global
A recent paper co-authored by ASI Director Tom Tomich has been translated into Spanish.
Dozens of scholars from around the world contributed to "The top 100 questions of importance to the future of global agriculture." The author list includes ag and food experts from major agricultural organizations, scientific societies and academic institutions.
Those 100 key questions for the future of global food production originally appeared in the Nov. 2010 issue of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, available online here.
The Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis invites you to join us for:
Food Justice: An Emerging Movement Takes Root
A talk by Robert Gottlieb
Co-author, Food Justice
Director, Urban and Environmental Policy Institute; Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy, Occidental College
When: 4:10-5 pm, Thursday, February 3, 2011
Where: PES 3001, on the UC Davis campus
The talk is free and open to the public; copies of Gottlieb’s book Food Justice will be on sale.
About the talk: In today’s food system, farm workers may face hazardous conditions, low-income neighborhoods lack supermarkets but abound in fast food franchises, and food products sometimes resemble more of a high calorie chemical mash than a wholesome and healthful product. In opposition to these conditions, a movement for food justice has emerged, which seeks to transform our food system from field to table. Robert Gottlieb, co-author of the new book, Food Justice, will talk about the dynamic food justice groups and organizing efforts, the emerging new politics around food, and the efforts to transform the very language and understanding about food, from how food is grown to why eating has become a political act.
Speaker Bio: Robert Gottlieb is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. He is the author of a dozen books, including Food Justice (with Anupama Joshi, MIT Press), Reinventing Los Angeles: Nature and Community in the Global City (MIT Press), and Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement (Island Press). He is the editor of two series from MIT Press: Urban and Industrial Environments, and Food, Health, and Environment, and is a long-time social and environmental justice activist and historian of social movements.
For more information about this event, please contact:
Adrian Crabtree | email@example.com | 530-752-3915
When: noon, Wednesday,
January 19, 2011
Where: 3201 Hart Hall,
on the UC Davis campus
Free and open to the public
A first-of-its-kind program set up four years ago around New Zealand's Lake Taupo puts a mandatory cap on agricultural nitrogen emissions. The program is targeting a 20% reduction in the amount of nitrogen leaching into the lake by 2018, through farmland conversion and nitrogen discharge trading.
How are farmers adjusting? Mike Barton, a beef farmer and trustee of the group involved in the implementation of the program, will share his thoughts.
Mike's talk is part of ASI's Nitrogen Speaker Series.
ASI affiliate faculty member Johan Six has been named as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.
Six is an agroecology professor in the department of plant sciences at UC Davis, and a UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow.
His research focuses on the feedbacks between ecosystem management options (tillage, cover cropping, green manuring, sustainable farming, and grazing), global change (elevated CO2 and climate change), and biogeochemical cycling. (Visit the Six lab homepage for more on this research.)
Six is one of 54 scientists from University of California campuses to receive the honor. They were among the new 503 AAAS members selected by colleagues in their disciplines to be honored this year for “efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.”
The official grand opening of the Teaching and Research Winery and the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory is Friday, January 28, at 10 a.m.
As the newest addition to the Robert Mondavi
Institute for Wine and Food Science, these facilities are housed in the
only building on campus that meets the strict environmental standards
known as “LEED Platinum.” The building has high thermal efficiency and
low energy consumption. It uses rainwater in toilets and landscaping,
and includes other “green” features.
To attend the reception, please RSVP at the email address provided on this page.
UC Davis students: A group of students from several undergraduate majors and graduate programs are working with Student Farm Director Mark Van Horn to coordinate the annual seminar on alternatives in agriculture for the Winter 2011 quarter.
Course Announcement - Winter 2011
Alternatives in Agriculture Seminar Series (PLS 190 – IAD 290)
The Winter 2011 Alternatives in Agriculture Seminar will explore diverse aspects of, and perspectives on, agricultural and food systems, with a focus on alternative approaches. We will hear from farmers, community organizers, researchers, educators and others who will describe their work and tell their stories, and we will look for common themes in their situations, efforts, successes and challenges.
We will examine a number of topics related to themes such as:
- Opportunities and challenges for beginning and small scale farmers
- Issues relevant to both rural and urban populations such as food shed assessments, farm-to-school programs and urban agriculture projects
- Ecosystem services in agriculture and on-farm habitat: benefits, incentives, and conflicts and other interaction related to food safety, sustainability, and nutritional quality issues
The course format will include presentations by guest speakers, panel discussions and student led discussions.
Tuesdays 4:10 to 6:00, 101 Bowley
Undergraduates: enroll in PLS 190 (sec 1) CRN 37805
Graduates: enroll in IAD 290 (sec 1) CRN 28865
This course is graded P/NP (PLS 190) or S/U (IAD 290)
For information, contact: Mark Van Horn, firstname.lastname@example.org, (530) 752-7645
ASI director Tom Tomich and Food Systems Coordinator Gail Feenstra will be facilitating a course on food systems analysis for the winter 2010 quarter. Here is some information about the course.
Food Systems Analysis
Winter Quarter 2011
Mondays 2-5pm in 27 Wellman Hall
CRNs for graduate students
CRD 289: 17817 (letter grade evaluation)
GGG 289: 44477 (S/U evaluation)
IAD 298: 28894 (S/U evaluation)
CRN for undergraduates:
CRD 198: 17817 (letter grade evaluation)
(Note: undergraduates must seek instructor permission prior to registration)
Description: This food system analysis course links the conceptual and practical considerations of system analysis and develop a base of resources and tools for emerging practitioners. We will explore the process of food system assessment with an emphasis on:
- Analyzing the relationships among the environment, food supply, markets, American diets and the health of consumers and critically explore the influences on those relationships in the food system.
- Reviewing various conceptual frameworks for analyzing the food system from different perspectives.
- Comparing and contrasting different methods for analyzing the sustainability of different food system sectors.
- Identifying key leverage points in the food system and how they might be influenced to affect positive change.
- The course format will include student-led discussion, guest presentations and panels, and will highlight developing the practical skills to conduct a food systems assessment.
To develop their own tools for analysis, students will select and critically analyze one regional food system assessment in the US and then build on the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the existing approach to outline a design for a food system assessment in Yolo County. The course will be co-facilitated by faculty members Tom Tomich and Gail Feenstra.
Enrollment details: This course is offered for enrollment through Community Development (evaluated with letter grades as required by the department for elective credits) as well as the Geography Graduate Group and International Agricultural Development (evaluated as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory). Undergraduates should seek instructor permission prior to registration.
For additional information please contact: Kelly Garbach, email@example.com.
The College Cafeteria Revolution
By Kelsey Meagher, UC Davis
I find it hard to believe it’s only taken one or two generations for most Americans to lose touch with the source of their food.
Members of my parents’ generation grew up thinking the meat in their burger came from a small ranch instead of a Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operation and likely hadn’t even heard of a CAFO. Fifty years ago, it’s likely that one of their parents or grandparents farmed or raised livestock. But over the years, the number of farmers has steadily decreased and the ones that are left are getting older, with the median age now around 55.
A lot can change in a generation and many college students like me who are coming of age today have several reasons for concern. Food production has become invisible, but the health consequences of sugary, salty pre-packaged food have not. Obesity is now affecting one in four children and diabetes is a way of life for one in 10 Americans.
It’s time for a change and young people are leading the charge. In Sacramento and San Francisco, they’re flocking to plant potatoes and kale in urban patches of dirt. Kids from Elk Grove and Roseville are training to be farmers at places like the Center for Land Based Learning in Winters. In Oakland, teens are part of a movement to provide fresh produce in neighborhoods where liquor stores have traditionally ruled. And then there’s the thousands of college students like me devoting their time to cafeterias across the country,
Cafeterias, you ask? The home of cinematic food fights, uncomfortable silences, and the “freshman 10” – pound weight gain?
You heard right. Cafeterias don’t evoke outrageous images of injustice, but they have serious power to prompt change. In the U.S., more than 4,000 institutions of higher education spend close to $5 billion annually on food. Behind the millions of college food trays of lasagna, burgers and broccoli lies a whole network of ranches and farms. But the way they raise their livestock and crops – whether by using a host of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, or by using the most sustainable farm practices possible – sure isn’t visible when you’re looking at your lunch.
That’s why I got involved in the Real Food Challenge (realfoodchallenge.org), a national student movement asking administrators to purchase “real food,” which we define as ecologically sound, community-based, humane to animals and fair to laborers. This way, we can know the types of farm practices that our college dollars are supporting.
We’re already making progress. At the University of California at Irvine where I was an undergraduate, we introduced the Real Food Calculator in our dining halls. When we discovered that UCI purchased less than 10 percent "real" food, we helped pass a policy requiring them to purchase 20 percent sustainable food by 2015.
Then, by joining with RFC activists around the state, we did the impossible and encouraged the entire University of California system to agree to shift 20 percent of its food purchases at all 10 ten campuses to “real food” by 2020.
On Nov. 9 -10, we’ll be part of “Making the Invisible Visible,” a conference organized by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis. It’s bringing young college activists together with leading academics who have formed a new network for food, agriculture and sustainability with a major gift from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Together, we’ll look at the many steps that are needed to change current farming practices, food distribution and access.
We’ll embark on several food system tours, and interact with students at Grant Union High School who have created a student garden and kitchen program to tackle neighborhood food access challenges. We’ll meet with young farmers in Capay Valley to learn how they balance their love of growing organic vegetables and greens with slim profit margins and 10-hour days.
We hope the conference will further cement ties between our youth food movement and the established agricultural research world, so we can shake up the conventional wisdom around agricultural research and education in the US. By bringing young and old together, the conference will empower us to keep fighting for food justice.
The Real Food Challenge has ambitious plans to bring sustainable food to cafeterias at college campuses nationwide. Our goal? To direct at least $1 billion in annual college food budgets to “real food” within 10 years.
It won’t happen overnight, but we’re encouraged by the surge of youthful energy flowing to the food justice movement. Starting with our own college cafeterias, we can create a more just and humane food system. This way, the next generation will know that the bread and broccoli that nourish them are also nourishing our planet and people.
Kelsey Meagher is a graduate student in the Sociology Department at UC Davis, where she is studying agriculture and the environment.
Dr. Alan Townsend from the University of Colorado will present a talk entitled "Is it limiting or not? Revisiting the tropical forest nitrogen cycle and its implications for human-driven environmental change."
WHEN: noon, Wednesday, November 17, 2010
WHERE: 2005 PES, on the UC Davis campus
To download the flier for this event, click here (PDF Format).
This talk is part of ASI's Nitrogen Speaker Series. The event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Alan Townsend is Director of the Environmental Studies Program and a Professor in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado. He received his bachelor’s degree in from Amherst College, and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. Alan co-directed CU-Boulder’s Carbon, Climate and Society Initiative, and has served on numerous national and international committees and programs, including the SCOPE Nitrogen Program, the International Nitrogen Initiative, the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) Visions Committee, and the Science Advisory Board for the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. He also serves on ESA’s Rapid Response Team, a group that provides environmental information to policy-makers at both state and national levels. He and his lab group study links between terrestrial ecosystems and several aspects of human-induced environmental change, including the role of tropical forests in the global carbon and nitrogen cycles, and the effects of a rapidly changing nitrogen cycle on human health and welfare.
Request for Proposals: 2010 Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Competitive Grants Program
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP, part of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis) is pleased to announce the release of the Request for Proposals for the 2010 Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Competitive Grants Program.
Total available funding is $200,000 divided among four types of projects: planning grants, education & outreach grants, research grants, and graduate student research grants. UC SAREP will consider proposals in the following three Priority Areas:
1. Agriculture, Resources and the Environment
2. Food and Society
3. Social Learning in Agriculture and Food Systems
Eligible applicants include those affiliated with California non-profit, tax-exempt organizations, state and local government agencies, and California public and private institutions of higher education.
Proposals are due December 13, 2010 12:00 noon (PT).
For more information about the grants, including application materials, click here.