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This week the Center's viticulture research team released two complementary reports about California winegrape grower adoption of sustainability practices and vineyard management goals. Several organizations throughout California viticulture share the objective of encouraging winegrape grower adoption of sustainability practices through outreach. "Sustainability practices" are those that balance economic, environmental, and social costs and benefits. We considered 44 codified sustainability practices. In these reports we focused on two organizations: the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and the Central Coast Vineyard Team. Both organizations have established histories of sponsoring grower outeach activities including field research, informational meetings, industry fairs, sustainability self-assessment workbooks, and sustainability certification systems.
In 2011, the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior's viticulture research team, which includes Mark Lubell, Vicken Hillis, and Matthew Hoffman, designed and administerd the third installment of the Lodi Winegrape Grower Survey. Lodi's regional grower organization, the Lodi Winegrape Commission, has a long history of advancing agriculture in the Lodi winegrape region. Over the years the LWC's policies and programs have evolved in response to the ever-changing economic, environmental, political, and social climate of California agriculture. In short, the LWC was worked hard to support the changing needs of Lodi growers. The 1998 and 2003 winegrape grower surveys played important roles in guiding this evolution by providing a scientific and empirical basis for evaluating outreach and education programs, identifying grower needs, understanding grower perceptions and opinions, and tracking grower adoption of innovative agricultural practices.
The CEPB's sustainable viticulture research team has recently put out a new research brief: "Winegrape Grower Perceptions of Sustainability Programs in Lodi, California". Read the full version by accessing the document below.
The Lodi Winegrape Comission’s (LWC) Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) promotes grower adoption of best management practices via informational meetings, workshops, vineyard demonstrations and research, the Lodi Winegrowers’ Workbook for sustainability self-assessment, and the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing third-party certiﬁcation program. Understanding grower perceptions of agriculture programs like the LWC is important because similar organizations are operating at the state level (California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, CWSA), in other winegrowing regions, and in other agricultural commodities.
The CEPB's sustainable viticulture research team has recently put out a new research brief: "Practice Adoption and Management Goals of Lodi Winegrape Growers". Read the full version by accessing the document below.
One priority of the Lodi Winegrape Commission (LWC), created in 1991 to serve the common interests of Lodi area winegrape growers, is to encourage the adoption of sustainability practices, or those practices that balance economic, environmental, and social costs and beneﬁts, via research-based outreach and education. In this research brief we report results from a mail survey of winegrape growers in Lodi, CA that indicates whether or not growers are actually adopting sustainability practices, what impact the LWC has had on the adoption of these practices, and whether or not grower priorities reﬂect sustainability objectives in the ﬁrst place.
Cliff Ohmart has recently published a book tiled "A View from the Vineyard: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Winegrape Growing". Cliff was trained as an entomologist, has worked for over 30 years in the field of Integrated Pest Management, and during the last 20 years has been a key player in establishing IPM and sustainability-oriented outreach and education programs in California's viticulture industry. Cliff has been a trusted colleague of the CEPB and serves as an adviser to our National Science Foundation funded sustainable viticulture study. For more information about Cliff's new book visit the below links. Congratulations, Cliff!
Wine Appreciation Guild
The CEPB's sustainable viticulture research team has recently put out a new research brief: "Learning Pathways in Viticulture Management." Read the full version by accessing the document below.
Managing a winegrape vineyard, like any agricultural enterprise, is a knowledge intensive activity. Winegrape growers learn about vineyard management by accessing a wide variety of information resources. The available information can directly influence vineyard management practices, which ultimately impacts environmental, economic, and social outcomes.
What exactly do farmers practicing sustainable agriculture seek to sustain? This is the broad question I sought to find insight into when conducting my MS thesis as a rural sociology and sustainable agriculture student at Iowa State University. The objective of this study was to identify the underlying and culturally embedded motivations for participation in sustainability programs and for achieving the greater goal of agricultural sustainability. The thesis is now available as a brief report, and is attached to this blog posting.
CEBP student Meredith Niles has been appointed to the Climate Action Reserve (http://www.climateactionreserve.org) Agricultural Protocol Workgroup. The Climate Action Reserve is one of the hubs for carbon trading in the US. She will be working developing protocols for tracking carbon credits from agriculture. Meredith's appoint reflects her growing reputation as an expert in climate change and agriculture.
I've just returned from a trip to Washington DC for a project on social network analysis as a tool for monitoring and evaluation of international development projects. While I was there, I met with a friend of mine at USDA who focuses on developing markets for ecosystem services for agriculture. Like other payment schemes, such markets would provide farmers credit for environmental performance such as carbon sequestration. We debated about whether markets would be better than regulation for non-point source pollution.
This discussion gave me an opportunity to vent on the topic of non-point source pollution. For the most part, non-point source pollution is the third rail of water management and environmental policy. In contrast to point sources (end-of-pipe) such as industrial effluent and sewage treatment plants, non-point sources are diffuse and multiple. The classic examples are runoff from farms, and urban runoff from construction sites or lawns.
What is the definition of sustainable agriculture? Anyone who takes a few minutes to ponder this question will realize that the answer is not simple or singular. One must consider the complexities of what is to be sustained, for how long, for what or whose benefit, and by which means. To be sure, abstract conceptualizations of sustainable agriculture, such as the Three Es, are useful heuristics. However, when it comes to the actual assessment and implementation of sustainability activities, there is no generalizable definition. Definitions of sustainable, and sustainable systems themselves, are dynamic across the axes of space and time...