Robbin Thorp would have been proud of what happened on Thursday, Jan. 14. When the UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology, a global authority on bumble bees,...
This manzanita plant at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, near Old Davis Road, is where UC Davis postdoctoral researcher Charlie Nicholson captured an image of the first bumble bee of the year. (Photo by Charlie Nicholson)
In this 2015 Bee Course class photo, Charlie Nicholson (top, far left) holds the sign. In the second row, far left, is co-instructor Robbin Thorp, UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology. Nicholson is the winner of the inaugural Robbin Thorp Memorial First-Bumble-Bee-of-the-Year Contest, sponsored by the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo courtesy of The Bee Course)
The Bee Course instructors in 2013 included (from left) Laurence Packer, York University, Toronto; Terry Griswold, USDA Bee Lab, Logan, Utah; Steve Buchmann, Tucson, Ariz.; Robbin Thorp, UC Davis, John Ascher, University of Singapore; Jim Cane, USDA Bee Lab, Logan, Utah; and Eli Wyman, American Museum of Natural History, N.Y. Not pictured course leader Jerome Rozen, American Museum of Natural History. (Photo courtesy of The Bee Course)
Over 150 current and prospective organic growers gleaned practical information shared by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts at the “Introduction to Small-Scale Organic Agriculture” workshop held virtually on Dec. 15, 2020. While most attendees were from inland San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange counties, a handful were
“I attended this workshop and it was very helpful to hear different aspects of organic farming from experienced people,” one attendee from Sri Lanka said in an email.
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) Director Gail Feenstra and Deputy Director Sonja Brodt kicked off the day with a presentation on program goals and resources. SAREP supports the goals of growers by developing more sustainable agricultural practices and effective regional food systems. They described a new online self-directed training program for organic specialty crop farmers in California and those in transition at https://ofrf.org/beginning-farmer-training-program. They also discussed marketing and business management.
Houston Wilson, director of UC ANR's new Organic Agriculture Institute, provided an overview of the program and pointed out that organic farming is expanding throughout California and includes more than 360 commodities. UC ANR will continue to take a lead role in developing and extending research and extension to this important sector, he said.
UC Cooperative Extension sustainable food systems advisor Rachel Surls discussed legal basics such as permits, licenses and regulations. UC Cooperative Extension organic agriculture specialist Joji Muramoto talked about the importance of soil health, a very popular and important topic. Other UC Cooperative Extension presenters covered nitrogen management (small farms advisor Margaret Lloyd), irrigation management (irrigation specialist Amir Haghverdi), integrated pest management (IPM advisor Cheryl Wilen), and plant diseases (plant pathology specialist Alex Putman).
“Thank you for the great workshop and resource links you provided for workshop materials and beyond! I have already downloaded and started to incorporate information from a few of the UC ANR pest management guidelines and legal and marketing links,” wrote an attendee from Chino. “Tips from peers are always great, too.”
During the afternoon portion of the workshop, five California organic farmers shared tips from their experiences. Carol Hamre (123 Farm, Cherry Valley) spoke about her trials and successes regarding vertebrate pest control and drip irrigation. Grace Legaspi (Tiny Leaf Micro Farm, Temescal Valley) talked about the art and science of growing microgreens. Lisa Wright (RD Flavorfull Farm, Riverside) discussed the importance of planting the right varieties in the right seasons. Arthur Levine (Huerta del Valle, Ontario) stressed the importance of collaboration and working synergistically as a team, and the importance of inclusiveness in all practices. Richard Zapien (‘R Farm, UC Riverside) shared inspiring stories and opportunities regarding the popular and successful UC Riverside community garden he manages.
“I am very glad to attend this workshop as a Bangladeshi,” wrote a grateful attendee from half way around the world. “Really, I have learned many things about organic farming in this workshop. I am working in the Tree nuts sector in Bangladesh but I have only cashew nuts plantation and processing factory…. I want to make an organic farm on 25 acres of land to cultivate vegetables, fruits, livestock, and fishing. Thanks again.”
Following the workshop, an extensive list of UCANR and external resources on topics covered during the workshop was provided to attendees https://ucanr.edu/sites/smallscalefarming/RESOURCES_/.
“I wanted to thank you for such a great webinar,” replied another Southern California participant. “I am a farm business advisor with the non-profit Kitchen Table Advisors and I learned a lot myself. Thank you for providing this list of resources. I look forward to the webinar recordings and slides, which I hope to be able to share with some of my farmer clients.”
The efforts of our co-sponsors also led to the overall success of the workshop. Inland Empire Resource Conservation District (IERCD) Manager Mandy Parkes, co-moderator, discussed district irrigation and soil testing resources and handed out gift certificates throughout the day. Evelyn Hurtado from IERCD volunteered to translate the workshop recordings into Spanish and Maggie O'Neill shared membership information and resources from the San Bernardino County Farm Bureau. Other co-sponsors included the Riverside County and Orange County Farm Bureaus. The California Certified Organic Foundation promoted the workshop and heightened awareness of UC ANR's programs and activities in the field of organic agriculture.
The PowerPoint presentations and recordings in English will be posted on the UCCE San Bernardino County website: https://ucanr.edu/sites/smallscalefarming/ by Feb. 15, 2021, and the Spanish translations later this winter. Next year, if conditions allow, actual farm visits will be included.
If you missed the recent UC Davis COVID-19 Symposium on saliva and sewage tests, plus vaccines, not to worry. It's online on YouTube...
Screen shot of the UC Davis COVID-19 symposium. It's online on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Paq0ka3NIP0
Nam Tran of the UC Davis Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, discusses COVID-19 tests.
UC Davis undergraduate student Eva Pak asks a question at the UC Davis COVID-19 symposium.
UC Davis undergraduate student Sudev Namboodiri asks a question at the UC Davis COVID-19 Symposium.
Vaccine specialist Dr. Stuart Cohen of UC Davis Health responding to questions.
They're out there! Yes, after a l-o-n-g, cold, hard winter, bumble bees are emerging. At least in Solano County. At 11:20 a.m. today (Wednesday, Jan. 13), we spotted...
A yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, heads for oxalis blossoms in Benicia on Jan. 13, 2021. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Side view of a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, on oxalis in Benicia. Note the orange pollen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Bombus vosnesenskii, caught in flight, targets oxalis in Benicia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee buzzes toward the foraging bumble bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
When you "make a mountain out of a molehill," you're exaggerating the severity of the situation. But if you're an ant, you can make little mounds that might appear--at least...
Piper, a West Highland white terrier, aka Westie, "polices" two carpenter ant mounds in a Vacaville park. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Being the curious sort, Piper, a West Highland white terrier, sniffs a carpenter ant mound in a Vacaville park. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of carpenter ants, Camponotus semitestaceus (as identified by UC Davis-trained entomologist Brendon Boudinot). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)