California is the top agriculture-producing state in the country, and that big business presents big challenges. California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross addressed many of the key issues during a speech presented by UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.
Secretary Ross talks at length about the impact climate change has already had on the state’s resources and the effects we can expect to see in the future. She says prolonged droughts, like the one California just escaped, will become more common. But, we can also expect more severe flooding. Ross says the state needs to take a big-picture approach to water and land management in order to mitigate future disasters. But, she says there is hope. Agriculture accounts for just eight percent of greenhouse gas emissions in California, compared to 30 percent worldwide. Ross says her department and private farmers are working on ways to bring down greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in California, and she hopes their progress can serve as a model for sustainable farming worldwide.
Following her speech, Secretary Ross covers everything from immigration reform to the future of agricultural careers in a fascinating Q&A moderated by her former colleague, Executive Director of the Berkeley Food Institute, Ann Thrupp.
Did you know that the median age of US farmers is now is 58? And that the number of people actually farming now equals just one percent of the population? As farmers, chefs, food vendors and policymakers gathered by the Berry Good Food Foundation explain, those trends are not sustainable. So what to do? How do you make agriculture attractive to young people? What will bring them back to the land? And how do you connect the rest of the community to their sources of food? Watch as these experts make the whole process of growing, harvesting, selling and serving food sound incredibly, what’s the word they used? Oh yes, sexy!
Sustainable California brings you more programs about how we use, support and interact with California’s natural assets.
With an over 700 percent increase in productivity in the last century, the California tomato industry represents 95 percent of all processing tomatoes produced in the US. That boom in productivity is due in no small part to UC Agricultural Extension efforts with California farmers. Learn more about conservation tillage – where cover crops or crop residue is left to decay aiding the bio-activity and water retention of soils, reducing or even eliminating costly or artificial inputs and improving the sustainability of this important crop. Watch Conservation Tillage Tomato Cropping Systems
And for a fun change of pace – if you’re out and about on California’s trails during your summertime adventures, there’s a chance you just might come across livestock enjoying the California landscape. A Year in the Life of a Cow, the third in the Sharing Open Spaces With Livestock series gives you a fun look at the life of a cow, so you’ll have a better idea what’s going on with that herd – winter, spring, summer or fall.
When they began their studies at UC Santa Barbara in the 1980s, Greg Massa and Raquel Krach would never have imagined themselves where they are today: growing organic crops on a family farm outside of Chico, CA. But a tropical biology program in Costa Rica sparked an appreciation of the role of ecology in agriculture and kindled a love – for farming and for each other – that set a new trajectory for their lives.
In a world of advanced technology, science, and environmental concern, we visit students who have a vision for the future of farming and are working to create high-tech tools to help make agriculture more precise. We also take a look at plant genetics, biotechnology, and a unique couple – an organic farmer and a plant geneticist –both of whom work at UC Davis and strongly believe that the two traditionally opposing sides actually have the same goals.