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.
From the snowy watersheds of the Cascades and Sierras, to the world’s most productive agricultural valley and on to the sea, visit Sustainable California and see what your University, its people and friends are doing to find real-world solutions to maintain the sustainability and vitality of our state.
From cultivating soil biota to purify groundwater, to managing fish stocks, to collaborative management of our unique California landscape to laying the foundations of carbon free energy sources, see what California is doing to maintain its unique biodiversity, sustain the human and environmental health of our state and meet the 21st century challenges of global climate change.
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!
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.
To mark the 50th anniversary of “Silent Spring,” Rachel Carson’s landmark book that helped launch the environmental movement, the San Diego-based Center for Ethics in Science and Technology is kicking off a new lecture series highlighting the legacy and progress Carson’s work helped create.
In the first talk in the series, Stephen Welter of San Diego State University focuses on biologically-based alternatives to insecticide use in American agriculture that also consider non-target environmental effects, worker safety issues, and consumer needs as well as the more traditional models of economic trade-offs.