University of California

Posts Tagged: Rose Hayden-Smith

'Never ending' drought news from UC ANR

Warm and sunny winter days are no cause for celebration among the farmers, ranchers and forest managers who rely on UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' research-based information and expertise to make their work more profitable. Such is the feeling shared by UC Cooperative Extension advisor Dan Macon in his Foothill Agrarian blog. He began worrying more than a month ago about the spate of dry weather in the state.

"While I'm a worrier by nature, I think worrying about the weather is natural for anyone who relies on Mother Nature directly," Macon wrote.

The UC Food Observer blog warmly praised the quality of Macon's blog in a post titled The NeverEnding (#drought) story.

"He knows his subject and he writes well about it. I read every post, but his most recent piece about Old Man Reno, one of his farm dogs, really resonated with me. Read his blog every chance you get: it will make you feel better about life," wrote Rose Hayden-Smith, the author of the UC Food Observer.

The column included a shout-out about the recent launch of a three-video series on the drought produced by UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources (CIWR). The series opens with Cannon Michael of Bowles Farming in Los Banos. The alfalfa grower works with UCCE specialist Dan Putnam.

“There's a lot of misunderstanding about alfalfa as a crop,” Michael said. “It does take water to grow it, as with anything, but you get multiple harvests of it every year.”

Videos two and three will be launched March 2 and April 6.

The UC Food Observer also recommended a blog produced by the CIWR's Faith Kearns – The Confluence. She recently wrote about how California's idea of “natural” beauty may have shifted during the drought. 

As blossoms begin to pop on Central California fruit and nut trees, farmers are worried about the low levels of rainfall seen in the state so far this winter.
Posted on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 3:43 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

UC marks 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act

Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrison moderated a panel discussion at the Morrill Act celebration.
At a gathering on the west lawn of the state Capitol on Monday, University of California President Mark G. Yudof called the Morrill Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, "A catalyst that transformed the United States." The legislation provided federal land to states to build universities that would extend to more Americans educational opportunities in agriculture and the mechanical arts. The act launched the University of California.

Los Angeles Times reporter Patt Morrison moderated a panel discussion at the event, and wrote a post about the Morrill Act sesquicentennial on the newspaper's Opinion L.A. blog today.

Morrison asked Abraham Lincoln, portrayed at the event by lanky Sonoma County teacher Roger Vincent, "President Lincoln - the opportunity for every American to go to college? Really?" He nodded.

"'What a snob,' I remarked," Morrison wrote in her post, a reference, she said, to former senator and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum gibing at President Obama’s goal of making a college education available to all Americans.

When Lincoln was president, 50 percent of Americans were involved in producing food. A steady movement away from the occupation has created significant challenges and opportunities for the agriculture industry.

"Americans may be even more aware of what they eat, the panelists noted, with the growth of popularity of organic foods and health-conscious diets like First Lady Michelle Obama’s, but even less aware of where food comes from and how it gets from field to plate," Morrison wrote.

Yudof and UC Cooperative Extension advisor Rose Hayden-Smith, a historian and leader of ANR's Sustainable Farming Systems Strategic Initiative, made speeches. The texts of their presentations are linked below.

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM

UC expert shares history of urban ag

A Los Angeles Times reporter zeroed in on remarks made by the director of UC Cooperative Extension in Ventura County, Rose Hayden-Smith, at a conference marking the opening of a new urban garden in San Marino.

Hayden-Smith, a history expert, was quoted in the second paragraph of the story and her name was mentioned five times as a source of historical information about growing food in urban spaces.

It's a present-day craze, but Hayden-Smith said it is not new.

  • Ancient Romans tended rooftop gardens
  • Early Americans grew food in Boston Common
  • Vacant urban areas have been used as gardens for more than a century

"We're just going back and claiming our heritage," Hayden-Smith was quoted.

She encourages the resurrection of the U.S. "Victory Garden" movement to alleviate social problems like food insecurity and obesity. Recently, she said, military leaders expressed concern about the future of the armed services in light of potential recruits' weight issues.

"Let's have the Pentagon pop some bucks for school lunch," she said to enthusiastic applause, according to LA Times reporter Mary McVean.

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 at 4:36 AM

Home gardening has 'arrived'

This week, the Philadelphia Inquirer resurrected the term "homesteading," defining it for the 21st century as a trend toward keeping bees and raising chickens, gardening and canning.

UC Cooperative Extension county director Rose Hayden-Smith told reporter Virginia A. Smith that the creation of an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn signifies the movement's arrival in the popular consciousness.

"People in national leadership are talking about these issues," Smith was quoted in the story. "I think this is going to be a very enduring feature of American cultural life."

Indicators cited in the article of the "homesteading" trend:
  • Up to 200,000 hobbyists keep bees in the United States, compared with 75,000 in the mid-1990s (Bee Culture magazine)

  • About 100 new members a day sign up for, which has 55,000 members in all

  • 43 million American households planted vegetable gardens in 2009, a jump of 19 percent over 2008, which was 10 percent higher than 2007 (National Gardening Association)
Another sign, closer to home, is the collaborative development of a garden in Modesto aimed at providing a diversity of pollen for native pollinators, reported the Modesto Bee.

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, based in Portland, Ore., hopes to enhance bee health with the Modesto garden and 10 others across the nation, which were funded with a grant of about $330,000 from the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service. The demonstration area is at the Stanislaus County Agricultural Center off Crows Landing Road - the same location that houses the UC Cooperative Extension office.

After the soil is solarized this summer to kill weed seeds and plant pathogens, the garden will be planted with poppy, lupine, phacelia, aster, milkweed, sunflower, salvia, buckwheat, ceanothus, manzanita and other plants. Most are California natives.

The article said the garden project is getting help from the East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District and UCCE.

The new Modesto garden will attract native pollinators, such as this sweat bee. (Photo: K. Garvey)
The new Modesto garden will attract native pollinators, such as this sweat bee. (Photo: K. Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 9:43 AM
Tags: garden (38), gardening (15), pollinator (2), Rose Hayden-Smith (5)

Declare *food independence* on the Fourth

A campaign on Facebook is encouraging Americans to assert "food independence" on July 4th and enjoy sustainable holiday picnics as an inspiration to others.

The effort drew the attention of Huffington Post columnist Leslie Hatfield, who declared in an article published yesterday that "eating local food is patriotic."

Hatfield contacted the director of UC Cooperative Extension in Ventura County, Rose Hayden-Smith, to get her take on food and patriotism. Hayden-Smith just finished her dissertation on the history of U.S. Victory Gardens at UC Santa Barbara.

She told Hatfield that demonstrations of American patriotism have often been linked to food, going back to the American Revolution, when Americans dumped British tea into the Boston Harbor rather than pay taxes on it.

"Many of the foods we traditionally associate with the Fourth of July - including apple pie - reflect the diverse mix of immigrant heritages that make our nation strong and unique," Hayden-Smith was quoted. "Like people, food ways have mingled, creating new and unique cultural expressions."

Hatfield seemed taken aback by the suggestion that apple pie is not all American. Hayden-Smith told her apple pie's roots go back to the 14th century, not in America, but in Germany, Holland and England.

Returning to her point, Hatfield wrote that she believes eating industrially-produced foods helps support systems which have put a lot of farmers out of business and made a lot of people a lot less healthy.

"Let's get patriotic in the easiest, most delicious way possible," Hatfield suggests, "by eating some awesome food."

Many traditional American foods were imported by immigrants.
Many traditional American foods were imported by immigrants.

Posted on Friday, July 2, 2010 at 8:54 AM
Tags: food (5), local (4), Rose Hayden-Smith (5), sustainable (8)

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