Food & Agriculture

Community through Sustainable Food

May 28, 2019

When friends and family dine at graduate student Lauren Howe’s home, they know they will enjoy something tasty, healthy and new. Howe may whip up carrot-top pesto, for example, or beet-greens sauté or some other dish from ingredients other people might throw away.

“I’m a huge proponent of ‘root-to-leaf’ cooking, where we look more creatively and sustainably at the foods right in front of us instead of tossing them,” said Howe, who is a master’s student in International Agriculture Development. “Root-to-leaf cooking nourishes us and helps reduce food waste.”

Maximizing Use of Water Stored in Soil Could Result in Savings for Farmers

May 14, 2019
Study Finds a Climate-Smart Strategy for California Agriculture

As California faces more frequent and severe droughts, agriculture, which relies on irrigation from surface water and groundwater, could become expensive and unsustainable. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, looked at using a “free” resource — rain water stored in the soil — and found that optimizing its use could go a long way to help meet demand for five California perennial crops. Their findings appear in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

California Farmers Have Raised Wages, But Still Unable to Find Enough Workers

May 02, 2019
Statewide Survey by Farm Bureau and UC Davis Finds Farmers Turning to Labor-Saving Crops

Despite raising wages and increasing benefits, California farmers are failing to find enough people to pick fruits and vegetables and harvest other crops, and they are offsetting this labor shortage by changing to less labor-intensive crops and adding automation. Moreover, farmers are calling on Congress to enact agricultural workforce reform that would allow immigrants to work as guest workers legally in order to help them grow food.

Farm Labor Supply from Mexico is Falling Fast

May 01, 2019

For decades, farmers in the United States have depended on people from foreign countries—mostly Mexico—to work in the fields. Only 2 percent of California’s farmworkers were born in the U.S. 

But Mexico is changing. Fertility rates are falling, rural education is rising, and fewer young people have the need or interest to come to America to pick crops. California’s farm-labor supply from Mexico has been decreasing for several years. New data from a long-term study by UC Davis researchers suggests that supply will soon disappear.

Protecting Small Farms in Mozambique From Drought

April 22, 2019
Project Aims to Halt Cycle of Hunger and Poverty

During the months that Jonathan Malacarne spent traveling from village to village in rural Mozambique, the weather could be dry and dusty or soaking wet from heavy rain. Either way, people from the community would walk and ride bikes from miles away to meet under the shade of a tree or in a classroom to learn about insured maize seeds.

USAID project helps UC Davis continue long tradition of agricultural development in Egypt

April 11, 2019

UC Davis recently joined a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to bring agricultural expertise and training from four American land-grant universities to agricultural universities in Egypt.

The five-year, $30 million project will establish a Center of Excellence for Agriculture at Cairo University. The goal is to equip faculty and students with the tools to make an impact as research scientists, employees, policymakers and innovators in Egyptian agriculture.

Sensing device can detect huanglongbing early

January 31, 2019

(Originally published in Ag Alert and courtesy of the California Farm Bureau Federation)

A researcher from the University of California, Davis, is seeking to commercialize equipment that could be used as an early warning device to detect a deadly disease in citrus long before trees show signs of infection.

UC Davis Begins Construction on Advanced Greenhouses

January 15, 2019

The new year will bring next-level greenhouses to the University of California, Davis, where faculty and students are conducting innovative research to keep plants plentiful, nutritious and resilient. 

What Do I Need To Know About Food Recalls?

January 11, 2019

(Originally published in the fall/winter 2018-19 issue of UC Davis Magazine)

Romaine lettuce and leafy greens contaminated with E. coli. Eggs, raw chicken or turkey exposed to salmonella. Given frequent reports of food recalls, consumers may believe contaminations are on the rise in the United States.

Using the sun and agricultural residue to control pests

December 18, 2018
Biosolarization shows promise for conventional and organic farmers

Farmers spend a lot of time and money controlling weeds and other pests, and often have to turn to chemical fumigants to keep the most destructive pests at bay. Farmers also wrestle with what to do with low-value byproducts of crop production, such as skin, seeds and hulls from fruit, vegetable and nut processing.

What if those agricultural waste streams could generate alternatives to chemical fumigants and make farming more productive, profitable and environmentally friendly?