Good morning! It’s going to be a busy week. A few things to highlight:


ICYMI – A thoughtful piece about water and public art. Despite a persistent drought, many Californians take water for granted. A wet winter (at least in much of the state) has eased concerns somewhat, but the need to conserve water and improve water quality remains.

This interesting post by Faith Kearns is about FOG waste (fats, oils and greases), which “can lead to problems in local sewer systems and beyond.” A public art installation is making visible the connection between household wastewater and city infrastructure, she shares. The project was developed by UC Davis faculty Claire Napawan, Department of Human Ecology, and Brett Snyder, Department of Design.

Faith – one of my favorite science bloggers – coordinates research and outreach programs for UC’s California Institute for Water Resources. The Institute is part of UC’s division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It facilitates “collaborative research and outreach on water issues across California’s academic institutions and with international, federal, state, regional, nonprofit, and campus communities.” Follow the Institute on Twitter. You can read more of Faith’s work at The Conversation

Bonus: I’m loving Water Deeply (website and Twitter). Providing well-researched and incredibly well-written articles on water/environment in the American West. #mustread #goodread It’s part of the News Deeply platform.


Breaking News: Federal Budget

The proposed federal 2018 budget is slated for release tomorrow. Advance reports indicate that the budget proposes massive cuts to a number of federal programs, including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as “food stamps”). In addition, farm subsidies are targeted, Andrew Taylor reports for the Associated Press.

The budget proposal is likely to meet stiff resistance from both sides of the aisle.

On cuts to the USDA and farm programs, a quote from Taylor’s piece:

“We think it’s wrongheaded,” said Rep. Mike Conaway, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, when asked about looming cuts to farm programs. “Production agriculture is in the worst slump since the depression – 50 percent drop in the net income for producers. They need this safety net,” said Conaway, R-Texas.

Read the full article here.


“Mothership” of Agroecology – UC Santa Cruz

Fifty years ago, a movement started at the UC Santa Cruz campus. The newly opened campus (1965) reflected the cultural impulses of the 1960s and focused on fostering creativity through experiential learning. Experiential learning became key to what has become a world-renowned knowledge and training hub for sustainable and organic food production – the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

According to Daniel Press, executive director of UC Santa Cruz’ Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CAFS), what happened was not part of the master plan; Santa Cruz, after all, was not an official “agriculture” campus within the UC system. (Note: the “official” agricultural campuses under the land-grant mission are Berkeley, Davis and Riverside, although every UC campus has food systems and/or agricultural efforts, including gardens, farms, outreach efforts, courses, etc. Learn more about those efforts, supported by UC’s Global Food Initiative). #GlobalFood

The rest is history. As CAFS celebrates its 50th anniversary, following are a handful of pieces to share this very important story, through interviews and profiles of those who have been part of it:


Podcast – Farm to Table Talk

Host Rodger Wasson interviews Martha Brown and Daniel Press of CAFS. Compelling. Runs a bit over 30 minutes.


UC Food Observer Interview – Mark Lipson

Mark Lipson

For more than three decades, Mark Lipson has been intimately involved with the organic movement from the local to national level, as an organic producer, a researcher and an advocate. He has been extremely influential in shaping state and national policy surrounding organics, including certification standards.

Lipson has recently returned to his roots at UC Santa Cruz, where he is serving as a research associate with UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Read the Q&A here.


Fair Food Advocate has UC Santa Cruz Roots

“Sustainable agriculture is more than about cultivating crops. It is also about creating a healthy and just food system that is equitable, transparent, diverse and accessible.

Oran Hesterman, founder of Fair Food Network, is committed to these principles. A UC Davis alum, Hesterman was also one of the original “home farmers” to live and work at the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden in the early 1970s, when organic farming was just taking root.”

Read this profile of Oran Hesterman. Written by Melissa DeWitte, it appeared as a guest post on the UC Food Observer.


Have a great week!