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Program Update

Program Update

The Small Farm Center would like to share an update with you about a variety of program projects including:

Pesticide Safety Education Project

This project is designed to help non-English speaking, limited resource farmers become aware of safe pesticide handling practices. To reach this goal, teaching and outreach methods have been developed, including a farmer survey and a pesticide video produced in English, Hmong, and Spanish. Project collaborators include the Small Farm Program, the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Project; and the California Latino Agricultural Association.

Agriculture and Ethics Project

Small Farm Center staff and the Davis Humanities Instate are planning a one-day agriculture and ethics symposium in 1998. the symposium's purpose is to bring together parties with different values and interests to discuss agricultural and food system decisions and practices. Specific applications will include animal husbandry and food safety, and land use.

Exploring Land Use Conflicts And Solutions.

Like other rapidly growing California counties, Lake County has begun to feel the pressure of an increasing non-agricultural population. To educate both agriculturists and non-agriculturists about potential conflicts and encourage meaningful discussion, a committee was formed that included staff from the Small Farm Program: UC Cooperative Extension, Lake County; the UC Davis Department of Human and Community Development; and the UC Division of Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, North Region. The group also included local government officials and staff, farmers, realtors, farming neighbors, and environmental groups.

The committee undertook three projects to raise agricultural awareness including a one-day forum, the development of the Lake County Factbook, and the creation of a series of leaflets on agriculture that address the realities of being a farmer's neighbor. The leaflets will be distributed at several locations including Cooperative Extension outlets, the Chamber of Commerce, and local realtor offices. The committee also has agreed to fulfill a request by the State Department of Conservation Farmland Mapping Program to serve as the farmland mapping advisory committee for Lake County.

Irrigation Education Project

Irrigation Specialist Blaine Hanson demonstrates a low-volume irrigation system.
Irrigation Specialist Blaine Hanson demonstrates a low-volume irrigation system.
Low volume irrigation systems offer growers a means of dramatically cutting their water and energy usage. These systems also can improve produce yields and quality. Project collaborators, the Small Farm Program and the California Energy Commission, aim to provide small-scale growers with information on low-volume irrigation technologies. The project is being implemented at the local level through farm advisors who have developed outreach projects to address the unique needs of their counties. Irrigation Specialist Blaine Hanson is providing the training and technical expertise for the project and Small Farm Center staff are involved in ongoing research.

Valley Harvest Holiday Gift Boxes

Valley Harvest is group of small, organic farmers in Yolo and Solano counties who have united to further strengthen the community and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). The Small Farm Center is sponsoring a pilot project to promote Valley Harvest Holiday Gift Boxes produced by these farmers. In the leaner times of winter, the farmers rely on value-added products to provide needed income and to keep valuable employees and CSA shareholders year round. The gift boxes contain a variety of selected value added products (farm grown and enhanced goodies such as nut butters, herbal teas, dried fruit, and shelled nuts). This highly successful project has surpassed goals, and work has begun to design the experimental project's future form for these growers.

Photo: Irrigation Specialist Blaine Hanson demonstrates a low-volume irrigation system.