You are heresustainable agriculture
Integrating Research & Lifestyle: Appreciating the Complexity of Farmer Decision-Making & Sustainability through Farm Stays
The uncle of a good friend of mine handed me a large stick at 8:30am on December 21st, as I sat with my cup of coffee and a copy of Kitschelt and Wilkinson’s (2007) Patrons, Policies, and Clientelism: Patterns of Democratic Accountability and Political Competition. “This is for you, to club your rabbits with.” It was a nice stick, heavy, the diameter perfectly suited to my palm; about as long as my fingers to my elbow outstretched, smooth, as if it had been sanded with fine paper. He carried on, describing how a perfect swing could instantly take out an unassuming bunny. My mind wandered – has this farmer, being a vegetarian, ever come close to hitting a rabbit? Doubtful.
It was great to connect with Bob Bertsch today, from North Dakota State University. He is a communications specialist who runs a podcast called "Working Differently in Extension". We had a conversation about the idea of Extension 3.0, and how it relates to the traditional model of Cooperative Extension. It was very interesting to hear how he is thinking about some of the same ideas, and facing some of the same challenges in forwarding the idea. Click here for a direct link to the podcast.
What kinds of vineyards are getting certified as sustainable? How do farmers learn about sustainability certifications? And if farmers aren't getting paid more for certified grapes, what are the motivations? All this and more in our latest policy brief on sustainable viticulture.
We just completed a paper on Extension 3.0 that will be submitted to the journal Society and Natural Resources. We are officially circulating the pre-publication as a CEPB white paper (see attachment). Here is the abstract:
We're in the middle of the climate-smart agriculture conference here at UC Davis, which is the third of a series of international conferences focused on how agriculture will adapt to climate change. I have met fascinating people from all over the world involved in important research and on-the-ground actions. It has been gratifying to see lots of people mentioning the importance of social science analysis of decision-making, policy and governance. In the spirit of the conference, I thought I might ask my six-year old son about water and farming. The conversation was enlightening to some of the themes of the conference:
Me: If you were a farmer growing crops with rain, what would you do if the rain stopped?
Son: I would take a bunch of watering cans and fill them up and use them on the plants.
Me: Where would you get the water for the watering cans?
Reporting here on a research snippet from the Center’s National Science Foundation funded sustainable viticulture research project.
What is the definition of sustainable agriculture? More importantly, how might we define sustainable agriculture to serve as an effective guide for putting sustainability into practice?
The Center's National Science Foundation and UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program funded study on sustainable viticulture recently received some media attention by Western Fruit Grower Magazine. The article, titled "Networking Helps Winegrape Growers: Survey shows top winegrape growers share and share alike", can be read by clicking on the link below. Thank you to David Eddy, the author of the article, for his interest in our work. We are appreciative of the opportunity to communicate some of our research findings directly to growers and industry professionals - those folks doing the hard putting sustainable agriculture into practice.
The CEPB's research team is preparing to launch our Lodi Winery Survey. Lodi is one of California's wine regions and is located in the northern Central Valley. A version of this survey will be delivered to winery managers in other regions later this winter. The survey will ask about winery managers' perspectives on winery sustainability practices, regional and state outreach and education programs, and the usefulness of various information resources. The results of this survey will be used by various vintner organizations to better serve the sustainability needs of California wineries. This is the winery version of our three grower surveys, which we have been reporting on in previous blog postings. Together, our grower and winery surveys take a systems perspective on sustainability practice adoption in the California viticulture and wine industry. We ask that our colleagues support us in survey promotion.
The sustainable viticulture team visited Napa Valley last week to seek wisdom from our advisory council about the design of our study, and present some initial findings at the Green Wine Summit. During the course of the day, I heard some of the most interesting anecdotes about social networks and sustainable agriculture that I've yet encountered:
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.