I am currently on a sabbatical leave, co-authoring a book about the food system. The sometimes overwhelming and frustrating process of writing makes me appreciate good writing even more.

This quick wrap features a couple of interesting pieces and a video. Two of the most powerful pieces I’ve read in the last couple of weeks are about very different topics. Both authors use their personal experiences to inform their work…and that makes these pieces incredibly evocative and memorable, what I would term “essential” reading.

Essential Reading: Children and Food Insecurity

What Children Understand About Food Insecurity, by Lela Nargi for Civil Eats. Food insecurity researchers are interviewing children about food insecurity…and finding that “food-insecure kids cope and comprehend in ways unique from other family members.” The findings will have implications for policy and practice. Related: Study finds hunger and homelessness are widespread among college students. Vanessa Romo reports on the issue for NPR.


Essential Reading: “I killed the Colorado River – and so did you.”

Ryan Sabalow writes about water, drought and the environment for the Sacramento Bee. I’m a fan of his work. His most recent piece explores our role in the demise of parts of the Colorado River. And no one’s off the hook. One of the most thought-provoking pieces I’ve read in a long while.

Sabalow writes:

“Nearly 100 years ago, before dams and canals drained it dry, naturalist Aldo Leopold canoed through the Colorado River’s delta.

He called it a “land of a hundred green lagoons,” and one of the most stunningly beautiful habitats he had ever encountered, two million acres of wetlands teeming with fish, migratory birds, even jaguars.

That’s almost gone now…”


Simply incredible.

Related: UC California Institute for Water Resources (CIWR) video series finale. The series of three videos was inspired by a collection of 19 drought tips produced by CIWR and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers during the drought of 2010-16. The first of the three videos premiered Feb. 2 on the UCTV Sustainable California channel. (UCTV is well worth checking out).

The final video features Lisa Brenneis of Churchill-Brenneis Orchard in the Ojai Valley. (Churchill-Brenneis Orchard produces the best Pixie tangerines I’ve ever tasted, btw). Brenneis worked with UCCE advisor Ben Faber to install a new water-efficient irrigation system. “Irrigation is the only job we really have to do,” Brenneis said, “and we have to get it as right as we can.” The video is below; drought tips are available here.



ICYMI: Free Egg Testing

There’s understandable concern about the potential for wildfire contaminants to pass into eggs. UC will test eggs from backyard chickens in fire-impacted areas for free. Additional information – and other resources/insights about wildfire – are available here.

And be sure to have a great week!