UCCE Master Gardeners of San Joaquin County
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UCCE Master Gardeners of San Joaquin County

Posts Tagged: organic

What is a pesticide?

Pesticides on shelf. (Credit: Anne Schellman)

When you hear the term “pesticide,” what comes to mind? Do you understand what pesticides are and, more importantly, how to use them correctly? A pesticide is any material (natural or synthetic) used to control, prevent, kill, suppress, or...

Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 9:19 AM
Tags: antimicrobial (1), control (41), Environmental Protection Agency (2), EPA (10), less toxic (1), organic (10), pest (75), pesticide (14), registration (3), UCIPM (66)
Focus Area Tags: Pest Management Yard & Garden

Weed and nitrogen management in organic orchards in Washington and relevance to Sacramento Delta orchards

Figure 1. Wonder Weeder (photo by David Granatstein)

The following article is from the UCCE Tree & Vine News newsletter (Jan. 2017).  *Chuck Ingels is a Farm Advisor with the UC Cooperative Extension Capitol Corridor, Sacramento County office.   According to the 2014 USDA-NASS Organic...

Figure 1. Wonder Weeder (photo by David Granatstein)
Figure 1. Wonder Weeder (photo by David Granatstein)

Figure 1. Wonder Weeder (photo by David Granatstein)

Figure 2. Weed badger
Figure 2. Weed badger

Figure 2. Weed badger

Figure 3a
Figure 3a

Figure 3b. Drip tubing (for microsprinklers) raised for mechanical weed control.
Figure 3b. Drip tubing (for microsprinklers) raised for mechanical weed control.

Figure 3a-b. Drip tubing (for microsprinklers) raised for mechanical weed control

Figure 4. Spreading wood chips (normally the spreader would be set to apply a wider strip)
Figure 4. Spreading wood chips (normally the spreader would be set to apply a wider strip)

Figure 4. Spreading wood chips (normally the spreader would be set to apply a wider strip)

Figure 5. Spreading compost in the tilled strip where landscape fabric is used (photo by Jaime Reyes)
Figure 5. Spreading compost in the tilled strip where landscape fabric is used (photo by Jaime Reyes)

Figure 5. Spreading compost in the tilled strip where landscape fabric is used (photo by Jaime Reyes)

Posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 8:58 AM
Tags: orchard (7), Organic (10), weed management (21)

New Video on Using Mulch in the Garden

Using mulch in your garden or landscape helps conserve water and prevent weeds. This new UC IPM video explains how to prepare the site, describes various types of organic mulch available, and demonstrates useful techniques for effective weed...

Posted on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 12:44 PM
Tags: control (41), garden (46), IPM (64), landscape (25), mulch (3), organic (10), UC IPM (225), weed prevention (2), weeds (64)

UC Davis tomatoes provide year-round healthful eating for college students

Chef Bob Walden, right, and Arnulfo Herrera, a cook, show off roasted tomatoes at UC Davis. (photo: Gregory Urquiaga / UC Davis)
Today's dorm food is far superior to the tasteless, over-processed foods of decades past. No more mystery meat or mushy vegetables. Campus dining services across the country are providing a diversity of fresher and healthier foods, much to the delight of food-savvy students who want variety, flavor, and nutritious choices. Well... being students, they don't always make the healthiest choices, but educational programs at campus dorms are turning the tide toward more-healthful eating.

At the same time, chefs and food buyers at universities, particularly the University of California, are selecting for high-quality fruits and vegetables, produced locally and sustainably. Universities with strong food sustainability programs are rightfully proud of what they're doing to educate students about food production, health, and nutrition. UC Davis Dining Services prioritizes the purchase of locally grown food (ideally within a 50-mile radius of campus). Most University of California campuses have similar programs.

At UC Davis, fresh roma tomatoes are picked each August from the 300-acre Russell Ranch, part of the campus's Agricultural Sustainability Institute, then processed within hours by campus Dining Services to provide year-round tomato sauce for pizza, pasta, and ratatouille. All told, 10,000 pounds of tomatoes are processed during a two-week period in August. About 29 percent of the total food served in the campus's residential dining halls is from local, organic or sustainable sources.

(courtesy photo: UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute)
The tomatoes grown at Russell Ranch are part of a long-term academic research project that examines factors such as farming methods, irrigation needs, crop rotations, yield, and nutritional content. At the end of the growing season, some of the many tons of tomatoes are purchased by Dining Services at market value.

Emma Torbert, an academic coordinator at the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute, noted, “Connecting the food system to the research is really interesting. A lot of times there is confusion about where our food is coming from. The more people are educated, the more educated decisions they can make.”

Many UC Davis faculty and staff are so impressed with the food choices at the dorms that they purchase individual meal tickets and enjoy lunches made with the campus-grown tomatoes, herbs, and other vegetables, all of which are part of the daily food array. Public dinners are also offered periodically at the dorms so that community members can sit amongst students to taste and learn about the sustainability programs in the dorms.

Additional Information:

  • Video: Farm to Table, UC Davis Tomatoes; 2010
  • Slide show of this year's UC Davis tomato harvesting and processing system; 2014
  • Sustainable Foodservice Progress Report 2014, UC Davis Dining Services
  • Two videos of UC Davis students who work at the Student Farm to produce food, including one on tomato sauce production
  • “Tomatoes: Safe methods to store, preserve, and enjoy.” UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, free publication
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Feed big; start small

Adapted from an article by Eileen Ecklund in Breakthroughs magazine.

Mixing crop helps promote biodiversity, like this mixed-crop field of amaranth, sunflowers and broom corn at Fully Belly Far, in Guinda, Calif. Photo: Paul Kirchner Studios
Scaling up — that’s always the sticking point with organic farming when it faces the question of whether it can feed the world’s hungry millions.

But a group of UC Berkeley scientists say that continuing on our current path of industrial agriculture is simply not sustainable, given its enormous water, energy and chemical inputs, together with the new challenges posed by climate change, such as temperature and precipitation extremes.

With the launch of the interdisciplinary Berkeley Center Diversified Farming Systems late last year, UC Berkeley scientists are coalescing around a set of biodiversity-promoting farming practices they say are a promising solution.

Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist and associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, says that most or even all of the inputs that modern commercial farms require — chemical pesticides and fertilizers, wasteful amounts of water and energy, imported pollinators — were needed only because the monoculture-dominated landscapes created by industrial agriculture lacked biodiversity.

"From studying the pollinators, I realized that the way we conduct agriculture has basically required us to replace all of the ecosystem services that used to be in the agricultural ecosystem with substitutes," said Kremen, a 2007 MacArthur Fellow.

Generally speaking, a diversified farming system is one that promotes biodiversity across spatial scales, from plot to field to landscape. Crops are planted and livestock raised in combination, resulting in interactions that sponsor the functioning of the farming systems in ways that replenish natural ecosystems. Methods employed within a diversified farm may include minimal soil tillage, growing multiple crops together, planting cover crops, and interspersing trees and shrubs with crops and livestock.

Animals help to clear cover crops, which add nutrients to the soil and feed the animals, which in turn bear wool. Photo: Paul Kirchner Studios

These practices also provide pollination, pest and disease control, water purification, and erosion control. They help to build healthy, productive soil and reduce water use, as demonstrated by research conducted by Kremen and her Berkeley colleague Miguel Altieri in their respective labs and on farms in Napa, Sonoma, and Yolo counties.

But diversified farming systems aren't just about providing food and protecting the environment; to be truly sustainable, they must also provide a livelihood to farmers and farm laborers, and help support the communities that depend on them. UC Berkeley-based Cooperative Extension specialist Christy Getz has studied farm labor conditions and food security among agricultural workers. In one project, her team developed a program to help Southeast Asian refugee farmers in California scale up their operations, connect to alternative distribution systems, and access new markets for their produce, such as local schools.

Professor Alistair Isles focuses on the public policy, science policy, and sociological dimensions of making a switch back to diversified systems from industrial agriculture in developed countries. For example, he has studied the importance of innovative consumer tools that promote sustainable agriculture such issues as "food miles"—the distance that food travels from farm to table—and sustainable seafood evaluation methods.

A native species hedgerow borders an artichoke field at Fully Belly Farm in Guinda, Calif. Photo: Paul Kirchner Studios
Other Berkeley professors associated with the new center are experts in economics, agroecology and rangelands, bastions of biodiversity that support a host of ecosystem services beneficual to agriculture, including the pollination provided to farmers by wild bees.

If farmers could bring back many of the traditional practices that supported biodiversity, enhanced by the application of modern ecological science, Kremen believes that the world could produce more food while reducing agriculture's harmful effects, making it more sustainable over the long term.

And unlike organic agriculture, diversified farming systems are not an all-or-nothing approach; Kremen says farmers can implements all the systems the Berkeley center recommends based on its research, or simply implement selected techniques, such as planting native-plant hedgerows or using soil-enriching cover crops, and still make their farms more sustainable.

Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 8:07 AM
  • Author: Ann Brody Guy
Tags: biodiversity (3), farming (3), food security (20), organic (10)

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