Published: February 8, 2023

Category: Organic News

The University of California, a leader in organic agriculture since the 1990s, has received a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Four campuses— UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR)—will collaborate to help extend the university experience beyond a single campus. Of particular focus is supporting underrepresented students in organic proficiency.

“We need more diverse voices in organic agriculture leadership if we ultimately want to improve the agricultural system,” said UCSC Professor Stacy Philpott.

The program will help train much-needed professionals in organic-centered research, extension, and grower services. Students can take courses from any partner campus to fulfill requirements for an organic agriculture-related degree—such as a seven-week, system-wide field quarter program involving experiential fieldwork on production, research, and policy.

Joji Muramoto, UC Santa Cruz extension specialist, noted that California’s organic farmers deserve to have more public support. “We need to respond to their unique needs and provide more extension services.”

Federal work-study funds will provide mentored fieldwork opportunities in organic production at the UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis campus farms for students with financial need.

Source: UC Santa Cruz

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights, February 2023