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Food news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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Food news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Advances in Pistachio Production Short Course offered Nov. 14-16
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will be offering a three-day, multi-topic Pistachio Production Short Course on Nov. 14-16, 2017. Held in Visalia, this course will provide participants with the latest information and research from several UC experts on pistachio orchard production, field preparation, planting, pruning, economics, diseases, integrated pest management, and harvesting. The course is designed for orchard decision makers, and covers the latest scientific research that supports...




UC ANR Global Food Initiative fellows take aim at food insecurity and obesity
Three University of California students have been selected by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources as Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellows for 2017-18. UC Berkeley graduate students Kristal Caballero, Elsbeth Sites and Sonya Zhu are the GFI fellows who will work with ANR academics and staff to address the issue of how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach 8 billion by 2025. The GFI fellows are part of a group of 50 UC graduate and undergraduate students...




Quirky storytelling on a powerful platform supports economic development, farmers and families
Nick Papadopoulos wants to create a culture of infectious enthusiasm in the farm and food world. This year he's hit the road with a cell phone and eight-foot selfie pole, digging into communities to find everyday people who are having a positive impact on farms, gardens, markets and food banks. He found his passion as a small-scale organic farmer dismayed by a cooler full of wholesome food without a buyer. Just miles away families were suffering food insecurity. The dilemma sparked the...




Supplement promises to create climate smart cows
Belching beef and dairy cows emit a significant amount of methane, sending a potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere where it can contribute to climate change. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researcher Ermais Kebreab, a professor in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, is studying a potential new solution. In European studies, supplementation with just 15 grams of a formulation called Mootral, derived from garlic and citrus extracts, killed bacteria in the cow's gut that...




Partnering with produce providers
What's one way to combat food waste, save money, and expand food knowledge? Ask a UC Master Food Preserver. Or rather, have a group of dedicated volunteers do a hands-on demo at a CSA pick-up location. Tanaka Farms, located in Orange County, did just that. The farm's Community Supported Agriculture program delivers more than 1,600 produce boxes a month to a subscriber base that is highly motivated to prepare and cook food. Educating their customers is a mission of Tanaka Farms CSA as well as a...




The beautiful and healthful pitahaya thrives in Southern California
Farmer Arian Williams is successfully tending 16 acres of avocados in the De Luz area of Temecula, but he and his wife came to the 10th annual UC Pitahaya Festival in August to see whether there is commercial potential in producing pitahaya. "We're taking cuttings, and trying it now," Williams said. Vanessa Caballero, Williams wife, was enthusiastic about the prospect. "I love the way pitahayas look, and there are not too many grown commercially now," she said. The field day at...




Sunpreme raisins a hit at the UC Kearney Grape Day 2017
Excitement over the new Sunpreme raisins was evident at UC Kearney Grape Day Aug. 8, 2017. As soon as the tram stopped, dozens of farmers and other industry professionals rushed over to the vineyard to take a close look and sample the fruit. Raisins pulled from the vine were meaty with very little residual seed. The flavor was a deep, sweet floral with a muscat note. Sunpreme raisins, bred by now-retired USDA breeder David Ramming, promise a nearly labor-free raisin production system....




#Collabatition: A new network of food hubs looks past competition to help each other succeed
In today's food system, large scale food distribution has become the standard way food moves from farm to market. The system works well to feed a lot of people, and has allowed us to eat tomatoes in December and send produce far distances while keeping it fresh. But the system is not without its sacrifices. Through large scale food distribution, farmers can lose the ability to set their own prices, and small-scale farmers can be cut out from the system for not being able to fill high volume...




Go back-to-school with a garden
It's that time already when the kids start heading back to school and meals go back to a strict schedule. It can be easy to turn to take-out and other convenience foods to make meal times more manageable, especially during the rush of back-to-school. However, there's a long school year ahead and focusing on good habits now can set the tone for the next nine months. The old adage that “food is fuel” rings true - healthy choices help kids maintain a healthy weight, avoid health...




Explore tools that UC researchers use with smallholder farmers around the world
Planted in a corner of the UC Davis campus is a display of technologies and vegetable crops that researchers with the Horticulture Innovation Lab have been using with farmers in Africa, Asia and Central America. Led by UC ANR's Elizabeth Mitcham in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, this program harnesses the agricultural expertise of a network of U.S. university researchers to improve how farmers in developing countries grow fruits and vegetables. More often than not, the learning...




Food waste is an ethical and environmental issue
Summer brings an abundance of luscious and healthy fruits and vegetables. It's easy to buy more than we can eat, which sometimes results in #foodwaste. In a guest blog post for the UC Food Observer, UC researcher Wendi Gosliner (part of the team at UC ANR's Nutrition Policy Institute, a cutting-edge unit that's using research to transform public policy) shared this observation: “Food waste presents a major challenge in the United States. Estimates suggest that up to 40% of the food...




School gardens get new life from UC Cooperative Extension volunteers
When children grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables, they are much more likely to eat healthy food, so for decades California politicians, teachers and nutrition educators have advocated for a garden in every school. However, UC Cooperative Extension experts in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties found that garden care can dwindle over time. “Students and their parents ‘age out' of their elementary schools,” said Shannon Klisch, UC CalFresh community education...




UC ANR hosts workshops for California's urban farmers
In communities around California, urban farms provide fresh produce, community green space, and even job training. However, a 2014 UC ANR needs assessment indicated that urban farmers face challenges, as well as opportunities. They are often beginning farmers, and encounter barriers related to growing in the city, such as zoning restrictions. Building on the needs assessment, a team of UC ANR researchers created a resource website for California urban farmers. This year, team members and...




FOOD IT: How will technology shape the future of food?
More than 300 people gathered in Mountain View for the fourth annual FOOD IT: Fork to Farm on June 27 to discuss the role of information technology in the food system – from managing crops in the field to dealing with consumer food waste. The event, hosted by The Mixing Bowl, attracted professionals who intersect with every part of the food system, from farmers to scientists, from entrepreneurs to venture capital investors. Panelists discussed the shift in power caused by the rise of...




Late-harvest processing peaches produce more profit, new UC studies show
Tree fruit growers can receive premiums for delivering certain extra-early varieties of peaches, but peach farmers may net roughly $800 more per acre from late-harvest processing peaches than extra-early harvest varieties, according to new cost studies released by the UC ANR Agricultural Issues Center and UC Cooperative Extension. To help farmers make decisions on which peach varieties to plant, UC researchers present sample costs to produce extra-early harvested cling and freestone...




UC's Pat Crawford weighs in on childhood obesity
Today marks the start of the 9th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference. Since it's founding 18 years ago by UC ANR Specialist Pat Crawford, it has grown from a small gathering of California researchers, educators, and health care professionals to the nation's largest gathering on the topic of pediatric obesity/overweight. So today seems the perfect time to revisit a 2015 conversation with Rose Hayden-Smith, UC's Food Observer, and Crawford, now the Senior Director of Research at UC ANR's...




Delta farm tour gives UC students a broader view of food system
UC Global Food Initiative student fellows from University of California campuses throughout the state gathered for a springtime field trip in the Central Valley to learn more about the relationships between food, farming and the environment. The day-long tour, hosted by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, began at a farm that is maintained to support wildlife in the breezy Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta region. The GFI fellows also viewed a habitat restoration project at LangeTwins...




Bananas!
Did you know that a banana tree is not really a tree? It's a giant perennial bulb that grows to maturity in less than a year, producing one flower that becomes one huge bunch of bananas. I learned this fact last month from banana growers while visiting the home of organic bananas, the Dominican Republic. I was invited by a US AID Farmer-to-Farmer project to spend a couple of weeks as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic, primarily to work with the Banelino Banana Cooperative. Banelino is a...




Rainbow of potential alternative pomegranate varieties
Almost all pomegranates grown in the United States are one variety: Wonderful. John Chater, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside, wants to change that. He would like to broaden the varieties of pomegranates available so that someone going to a supermarket can, like apples, buy varieties of pomegranates that vary in sweetness, seed hardness, flavor profile and color. With that in mind, he has spent the last four years researching the commercial potential of 13 pomegranate...




UC ANR scientists help fledgling Tanzania avocado industry
Dedicated growers and research support from the University of California have made avocados a California success story. As part of the UC Global Food Initiative, which is channeling UC resources toward sustainably feeding the world's growing population, the California avocado experience can help alleviate food insecurity and poverty overseas. Two UC Cooperative Extension specialists found a way to do that in Tanzania, Africa, where 69 percent of the population live below the poverty line and...




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