Community alliance with family farmers
Ecological Farming Outreach and Extension: Advancing Ecological Pest Management and Climate Smart Farming
Potential fellows should have background/ education in sustainable agriculture which may include coursework/ knowledge in entomology, integrated pest management, agronomy, agroecology, organic agriculture, soil health, etc. Education in collecting and/or analyzing agricultural or environmental data would be helpful. Demonstrated ability to enhance and effectively deliver programs to diverse audiences through your understanding of self, language, culture, and community is also an important component in serving with CAFF.
Primary skills include: Strong communication skills (written and verbal); Experience with data entry and organization; The fellow will be involved in field work which requires physical ability to lift at least 50 lbs as well as walking/ being on one's feet for many hours. The fellow should also be comfortable with spending several hours working on a computer.
Secondary skills include: Lab experience with microscopes; experience with multimedia for resource development (could include basic website development, video, photography, graphic design, podcasts, etc); experience and/or familiarity working in or around agriculture; Spanish language skills (bilingual/ bicultural). Familiarity with providing technical assistance and event coordination would be helpful but not required for the position.
Openings: 0 of 1
Focus Area: Agriculture
Climate Mitigation & Adaptation; Education & Outreach; Regenerative Agriculture;
Education & Outreach
Goals & Needs
CAFF has been working for 45 years to build sustainable food and farming systems that benefit farmers, communities and ecosystems. We have programs in a number of areas including Food Safety, Small-Farm Tech Hub, Wildfire Resilience, Farm to Market, Policy advocacy and Ecological Farming. The Ecological Farming program area houses two of CAFF's core on-the-ground programs: Ecological Pest Management (EPM) and Climate Smart Farming. Within Ecological Farming we work with farmers, researchers, and local extension professionals to investigate and promote farming practices that have the capacity to enhance the health of California's agroecosystems. The practices and farming systems we work on aim to reduce the application of pesticides, increase on-farm biodiversity and habitat for beneficials, increase soil health and carbon sequestration, and increase on-farm resilience to drought and flood, conserve natural resources like topsoil and water and improve overall on-farm productivity and resilience in the long-term. The GrizzlyCorps member will be joining the Ecological Farming team with their primary focus on EPM projects including on-farm research and demonstration of biological control practices, extension and outreach around pollinator habitat plantings and resource development to increase access and knowledge around EPM.
The fellow will also provide support on Climate Smart Farming work, involving outreach and engagement around soil health practices, resource development and coordinating events. Through this work, the fellow will be actively working towards filling research and knowledge gaps in ecological pest management strategies to reduce pesticide use in cropping systems, addressing barriers to adoption of regenerative agriculture through supporting farmer-to-farmer extension and improving access to resources and technical assistance. This service would contribute significantly to:
building the capacity of local community resilience through supporting the development of local farmer-to-farmer co-learning networks
increasing carbon sequestration through the extension and implementation support of soil health practices that increase carbon and improve resilience to climate destabilization
bolstering regenerative agri-food food systems through the promotion of regenerative farming practices and the reduction of agricultural pesticide applications that compromise environmental and human health.
Capacity Building Projects
Project 1: Ecological Pest Management (EPM): Field work, data collection and reporting. For this project the fellow would work closely with the Ecological Farming team to support the implementation of regenerative agriculture research and demonstration through on-farm field work, data collection, data entry and reporting. Desired outcomes include accurate data reporting that will contribute to farmer-facing data reports for participating farms. This reporting will also contribute to educational resources for the broader farmer community as we are able to share project results. These resources will enable farmers to make informed decisions around the implementation of EPM practices in order to reduce pesticide use.
Project 2: Ecological Pest Management: Processing samples for research. For this project, the fellow would perform basic sample specimen preparation and identification (training provided) for EPM research projects. The desired outcome would be prepared specimens that are then sent to a University lab for identification. This project would contribute towards successful research outcomes for the EPM project, enabling analysis that would demonstrate the efficacy of EPM practices in comparison to conventional pest management.
Project 3: Ecological Farming: Event Coordination. For this project, the fellow would work with the Ecological Farming team to help plan and coordinate extension events to promote discussion and education around regenerative agriculture practices including biological control, cover crops, pollinator planting and hedgerows. The desired outcome would be to build farmer-to-farmer co-learning networks to support knowledge sharing around the implementation of regenerative agriculture practices. This will contribute to increased knowledge and understanding of the benefits and challenges farmers face in the process of implementation and increased adoption of regenerative practices.
Project 4: Ecological Pest Management: Resource Development. For this project, the fellow would support the development of a new EPM website to share resources and project updates with farmers interested in adopting more sustainable pest management practices. Other resource development may include case studies, blogs and videos. The desired outcome would be to develop accessible farmer-facing resources that are based on both scientific data and farmer experience that promote education around EPM practices. We believe that ultimately these resources will play an important role in filling knowledge gaps around EPM, increase adoption of EPM practices and ultimately reduce reliance on pesticides.
Project 5: Ecological Farming: Technical Assistance. For this project the fellow would work with the Ecological Farming team to engage directly with farmers to provide technical assistance around implementing regenerative agriculture practices on their farms, often for the first time. The desired outcome would be to assist farmers in applying to programs that provide incentives for planting pollinator habitat, incorporating sustainable IPM practices, and implementing soil health practices, as well as providing assistance around implementation. This project would directly contribute to increasing the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices as well as building connections with farmers who benefit from CAFF's support.
Project 6: Ecological Farming: Outreach and Engagement with Latinx farmers. If the fellow is fluent (linguistically and culturally) in Spanish, there may be an opportunity to build capacity around our work engaging with Latinx farmers to share opportunities for assistance, educational resources and better understanding around resource gaps. This would contribute to increasing accessibility and relevance of our Ecological Farming work to Latinx farmers, as well as CAFF's work in general to build relationships and networks with Latinx farmers.
Organizational & Community Highlights
CAFF is a values driven organization; CAFF values are ecological stewardship, justice and equity, practical solutions, economic fairness, centering farmers and strong local communities. The staff are strongly committed to the mission we are serving -- to build sustainable food and farming systems through policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs that create more resilient family farms, communities, and ecosystems. While CAFF staff work primarily within teams to carry out programs and projects, there are frequent opportunities to connect across the organization through weekly meetings, organizational initiatives and collaborations across multiple programs. The culture at CAFF is one of friendliness and good humor and encourages a healthy work-life balance. People at CAFF are working on things they care about while finding time to connect with others. CAFF encourages creativity in problem solving, collaboration and regular reflection on whether the work is in alignment with our values and meeting the needs of the community. As such, it's a great place to work on professional development. CAFF is based in Davis and is located at the beautiful TS Glide Ranch, about 5 miles out of town. Davis is surrounded by agriculture and is also a university town (UC Davis), which makes for an engaging community, especially for folks interested in ag. Davis is a very safe, friendly, and very bike-friendly town. Davis is also very close (about 14 miles) to Sacramento, which is America's Farm to Fork capital and a multicultural hub.