It’s a busy time of year. So, we want to make sure you don’t miss these recent food and agriculture news stories from UC Food Observer. From bees to sorghum to female farmers, we’ve looked at a number of different topics of interest. Here are a few examples:
Arctic Bees in Alaska
The sun did not set the entire trip. The mosquitoes were unbearable. But this UC Riverside team of scientists still learned a great deal about the elusive Bombus polaris, one of only two species of bumblebee in the high Arctic. Team leader Hollis Woodard said about the elusive bee:
“It’s the biggest frickin’ bumblebee I have ever seen.”
Come along on the scenic scientific journey in a guest post by Sean Nealon.
Spotlight on Sorghum
Believe it or not, sorghum may be one of the most interesting foods we should be eating.
The world’s fifth most popular cereal crop is drought tolerant and a “cash crop” for some farmers. One of the nation’s leading experts on the crop is Jeff Dahlberg, director of University of California’s Kearney Agricultural Research Center in Parlier, CA. Jeff previously served as the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) curator for sorghum and as the research director for the National Sorghum Producers. He told us:
“The plant has inherent drought tolerance and can thrive in growing conditions that would seem too harsh for other crops. With more research and outreach, sorghum could be an extremely valuable crop for helping to feed the world in the future as we deal with limited inputs and water.”
Take a look at this interesting plant and a new infographic.
A Chat with Sophie Egan
What unites us as Americans in the way we eat?
To find out more, we speak with UC Berkeley alum Sophie Egan. This UC Global Food Initiative “30 Under 30” honoree recently authored the book Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies – How What We Eat Defines Who We Are.
She found 10 phenomena that collectively define American food culture. For instance:
“One is the prevalence of snacking and how blurred the lines have become between definitions of snacks and mealtimes, and the times and places you eat or don’t eat. This has happened in a very short amount of time – in the last five years or so, to where suddenly, food is everywhere.”
Pausing for Pulses
Before the year comes to an end, we simply have to pause a moment for pulses. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations named 2016 the year of the pulses, but really these seeds of legumes should be eaten every year.
Pulses are not only healthy and delicious, but growing them is healthy for the planet. Here’s why, says Liz Carlisle, fellow at Center for Diversified Farming Systems at University of California, Berkeley, and author of the highly acclaimed book Lentil Underground:
“Pulse crops are critical to the sustainability of the global food system. Because they supply biological nitrogen, pulse crops can regenerate soils, replace resource-intensive synthetic fertilizers and provide a healthy protein source for people.”
Q&A with Mary Kimball
This UC Davis alum is the executive director for the Center for Land-Based Learning in Woodland, California. Her goal is to develop the next generation of farmers, and she’s doing it in innovative ways that are making a difference. In this article, she talks about a number of farming issues, including:
“What’s not happening is an increased interest in all the other jobs that make agriculture successful and viable and all the other services and innovation that we are going to need to address complex issues such as water shortages, climate change and growing population.”
And A Hat Tip to Lisa Kivirist…
The author of Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers also heads the Rural Women’s Project, a woman-farmer training initiative of Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). She is also Endowed Chair at Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.
She went to three conferences, spoke with hundreds of other women and offers five excellent tips you won’t want to miss.