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January 22, 2024
By Mia Reyes
University of California scientists will be participating in the 44th Annual EcoFarm Conference this week in Pacific Grove. EcoFarm participants gather to celebrate and learn about advances in farming and food systems throughout the state. This year, the three-day conference will highlight Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities that depend on agriculture, while also showcasing the new technological advances that further the development of agriculture.
The conference started today and runs through Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Researchers from the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital's Department of Population Health, the Western Institute of Food Safety and Security and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will be attending the conference to highlight the importance of food safety and technical skills in urban farming.
At EcoFarm, the Western Institute of Food Safety and Security will showcase its Civic Urban Farmer Program with an exhibit. The program, led by UC Davis assistant project scientist Sara Garcia and supported by UC Cooperative Extension, strives to uplift BIPOC communities.
The Civic Urban Farmer Program – a no-cost, 11-week program for farmers in the Sacramento region and Bay Area – provides technical support for new and upcoming urban farmers through webinars and in-person events. The program is available for any race, gender, age and skill ability, and seeks to provide safe, expert advice for farmers at any scale.
Soil health, composting, pest management, business marketing, food safety and urban policy are among the topics covered in its lecture-style classes.
Earlier this year, the program graduated its second cohort, with the support of two nonprofit organizations, Three Sisters Gardens in West Sacramento and Common Vision in Oakland. The program is supported by industry professionals, researchers and government officials, as well as local nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.
Elina Niño, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in apiculture, joined the Civic Urban Farmer Program to support urban farmers with training on managing pollinators to increase crop yields and create value-added products such as honey. The success of the pollinator program revealed that small urban farmers desire resources and education that are tailored specifically toward the cultivation of healthy and safe food.
For more information about the Civic Urban Farmer Program, visit https://www.wifss.ucdavis.edu/urbanfarmers.
The UC Organic Agriculture Institute, led by UC Cooperative Extension specialist Houston Wilson, will have an exhibit at EcoFarm. UC Organic Agriculture Institute brings together growers, certifiers, consultants, community groups and other stakeholders with UC research and extension personnel to share information about organic farming.
For more information about the UC Organic Agriculture Institute, visit https://organic.ucanr.edu.
Several UC Cooperative Extension advisors will be speaking at EcoFarm, including Richard Smith, UCCE emeritus vegetable crops advisor; Patricia Lazicki, UCCE emeritus vegetable crops advisor; and Margaret Lloyd, UCCE small farms advisor.
Connect with @ucanr on X, Instagram and LinkedIn.
[Mia Reyes is a Global Food Initiative fellow at University of California, Davis.]
Source: University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
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