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UCCE-Santa Clara County & the
UCCE-SCC Small Farms Program

San Jose and/or San Martin, CA

https://cesantaclara.ucanr.edu/

https://www.centralcoastfarms.org

1. Urban Farm Technician and Sustainable Food System Research & Extension Support

2. Supporting Small-Scale BIPOC Farmers in Healthy Soil, Conservation, and IPM Practices.

Desired Skills/Traits:

Project 1:

  • Primary skills:
    • The fellow should have a strong interest in learning about farming. Some prior knowledge of or experience in farming is desired, but not required.
    • This position will involve manual labor, so it's important that the fellow is able to spend a full day in the field and is able to move 50 lbs.
    • Comfortable communicating with teammates and diverse community members
  • Secondary skills:
    • Good problem solving abilities; able to adapt to changing circumstances
    • Prior coursework or research experience in ecology, biology, soil science, agricultural science or a related field is desired; strong attention to detail
    • Experience working with diverse audiences and underserved communities

Project 2:

  • Academic background: A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with coursework in plant science, entomology, plant pathology, soil science, irrigation, agroecology, agronomy, agricultural science, agricultural business, agricultural economics, food safety, community development, or a related field.
  • Primary Skills:
    • Excellent organizational skills
    • The ability to work independently
    • Good written and oral communication skills,
    • Experience developing outreach/education materials
    • Cross-cultural communication
    • Outdoor work & physical ability.
    • Proficient bilingual communication/translation abilities in English and Chinese
      • Spoken: Mandarin/Cantonese, written: Chinese.
  • Secondary Skills:
    • Demonstrated skills and experience communicating research results to diverse audiences.
    • Field experience in applied agricultural research.
    • Experience working with disadvantaged or underserved communities.

Openings: 2 of 2

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Focus Area: Agriculture

Climate Mitigation & Adaptation, Food Systems, Regenerative Agriculture, Education & Outreach

project 1 breakdown

Research

25%

Planning

0%

Implementation

65%

Education & Outreach

10%

project 2 breakdown

Research

20%

Planning

10%

Implementation

30%

Education & Outreach

40%

Goals & Needs

Project One

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) connects California’s communities to UC research and education in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition, and youth development to improve the lives of all Californians. In Santa Clara County, UCCE manages a 10-acre site in San Jose that is used by our small farm, urban agriculture, compost, and 4-H programs and includes 2 hoop houses, 20 raised beds, 2 acres transitioning to row cops, and about 8 acres of forage crops. The research and demonstration activities that take place there help to promote an equitable and sustainable regional agri-food system through a wide range of activities designed to support local small- and community-scale farmers, gardeners, and composters.

This fellowship is a great opportunity for someone interested in developing skills in farming and agricultural extension. A typical week will include spending 3-4 days at the site working alongside our farm manager on a wide range of farm tasks: such as, bed preparation; spreading compost; installing drip irrigation; seeding, planting, and harvesting crops; and using and maintaining small-scale farm equipment. The fellow will also collect data for ongoing research projects (e.g., trialing culturally-relevant crops, testing the impact of reduced irrigation on crops). The remaining 1-2 days the fellow will be in the office assisting with other sustainable agriculture projects, such as organizing workshops for small or urban farmers, contributing to ongoing research projects, or developing factsheet, reports, or web content. 

 

Project Two

The UCCE Small Farms and Specialty Crops advisor and program staff assist small-scale and socially disadvantaged farmers to thrive economically through extension support, training, research on specialty crops, and policy communication. Our work supports farmers from a diversity of cultures who operate a wide variety of farming operations, often with limited resources. These include a large population of Chinese, and other Asian and Hispanic immigrant farmers in Santa Clara, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties. Recently, a group of Asian and Hispanic farmers received funding through the Healthy Soils Program to implement practices such as compost application, cover crops, and mulching on their already diversified farms. These practices present an exciting opportunity to sequester carbon, build soil microbial diversity, and reduce reliance on synthetic fertilizers, as well as addressing regional environmental issues such as air and water quality. In addition, our ongoing research and extension projects aim to provide research pest management information including reduced risk pesticides,

 

The GrizzlyCorps Member will assist small-scale, socially disadvantaged, and highly diversified farms to integrate practices that improve soil health and integrated pest management with current crop management practices.

 

The Member will:

  • Work directly with farmers to identify and implement soil health and conservation practices that address production issues on their farm such as nutrient management, insect pest management, disease and weed management.

  • Assist with group trainings on topics related to soil health practices such as nonchemical weed management, beneficial insects for pest control, and use of equipment for compost application.

  • Interview CDFA Healthy Soils Program grant recipients about the impact of the implementation of the healthy soil practices on their farm. Collect and transcribe the interview data. Develop featured farmer profiles from the interview information.

  • Provide language support for implementing food safety practices on-farm.

Other duties can include assisting with organizing workshops for small farmers, and/or socially disadvantaged farmers, assisting with our ongoing research projects on specialty crop production, developing bilingual outreach materials, including factsheets, reports, and social media posts in simplified Chinese, and assisting with efforts to inform policies affecting the farmers we support. 

 

The small farms team at UCCE Santa Clara County consists of the Small Farms and Specialty Crops Advisor and 4-6 full-time and part-time staff based out of either our San Jose or San Martin offices. Current projects include assisting small-scale farmers who have received Climate Smart Agriculture funding; research on nitrogen fertilizer requirements for specialty vegetable crops; bilingual extension support in Chinese and Spanish; food safety outreach and education for small farms; and marketing support for small farms.

Capacity Building Projects

Project One: Urban Farm Technician & Sustainable Food System Research and Extension Support

The Fellow will support the development of UCCE’s farm, compost, and 4-H site at Martial Cottle Park in San Jose. The projects at Martial Cottle Park – the knowledge generated and the systems demonstrated – are intended to support small-scale farmers, urban farmers and gardeners, youth with an interest in agriculture, and composters. The Fellow will be an integral member of the farm team, working on all aspects of operating a farm-centered research and demonstration site. In addition, they will play a role in data collection, research, and outreach and extension. The outcome of this project will include a successful research and demonstration site that produces food and flowers in 20 raised beds, 2 hoop houses, and 2 acres of row crops. New knowledge about urban and small-scale agriculture and climate-smart practices, like compost application, will be generated to support a range of farmers in the region with their information needs. In the past, UCCE’s ability to utilize this rich agricultural resource has been limited due to lack of staff capacity. With the Fellow’s support, we will be able to implement additional research and demonstration projects for the region’s farmers. 

Project Two

The GrizzlyCorps Fellow will work with the UCCE small farms team in Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties to support farmers in:

1) implementing climate smart or regenerative agriculture practices,

2) integrating these practices with integrated pest management (IPM) methods to improve on-farm pest management, and

3) provide language support for implementing on-farm food safety practices.

Also, currently there is a need within our organization for developing educational outreach materials in languages that are accessible to small farmers in the region, so that farmers can readily access research-based information specific to their farms to support their implementation of integrated pest management and climate smart agricultural practices.

 

The most important desired outcomes of these projects are:

1) increased participation and engagement of farmers in on-farm implementation of practices that increase below-ground carbon storage and provide alternatives to pesticides,

2) localized recommendations for the small-scale and diversified farming communities on the Central Coast to optimize pest management on their farms, and

3) increased implementation of on-farm practices that mitigate food safety risks.

The Fellow will also be involved in the development of educational outreach materials that will be shared with small farmers in the Central Coast region of California.

Organizational & Community Highlights

UCCE-Santa Clara County

UCCE-Santa Clara County has its main office in San Jose, the largest city in Silicon Valley. Part of the San Francisco Bay Area and adjacent to the Central Coast, San Jose is an easy location from which to explore the greater Silicon Valley area, San Francisco, and Oakland. The coast, mountains, forest, and State and National Parks are all within an easy day’s drive. Silicon Valley has a growing urban agricultural community and there are more than 1000 small farms in the region, growing diverse crops and utilizing a variety of marketing channels from U-picks and farmers markets to wholesale.

UCCE-Santa Clara County has about 20 staff members, who are friendly, collaborative, and passionate about their work. UCCE works closely with local government, nonprofit organizations working on environmental and agricultural issues, and with organizations in the community, so the Fellow will engage and network with a wide variety of food and agricultural system stakeholders. This is an opportunity to learn about and practice sustainable agriculture, by working with our farm manager and farm advisors. As part of the University of California system, there are also opportunities to interact with UC academics and staff with expertise in a variety of disciplines. The Fellow will have access to online and in-person professional development opportunities offered by UC ANR and by our local Programs (e.g., on organic production, composting, urban gardening, etc.). 

UCCE-Santa Clara County's Small Farms Program

Part of the San Francisco Bay Area and adjacent to the Central Coast, San Jose and San Martin are within driving distance to explore the greater Silicon Valley area, San Francisco, and Oakland. Also, the coast, mountains, forest, and State and National Parks are all within an easy day’s drive.. The local food scene includes restaurants providing a large diversity of cuisines, several farmers markets, and farm stands selling fresh produce, as well as an emerging craft beer scene with local breweries. Santa Clara County’s proximity to Pinnacles National Park and several State Parks is a highlight. Backpacking and other recreational opportunities on the central California coast are within 1-hr driving distance. Eighty-eight percent of the 2125 farms in the region were small farms in the 2017 USDA agricultural census. Many of these farms are operated by farmers of color and are highly diversified both in their crops and marketing strategies, selling to farmers markets and niche markets as well as to wholesale produce buyers. 

 

The GrizzlyCorps Member will gain unique experience by working with small-scale farmers from a diversity of cultures who grow many different types of specialty Asian vegetables. The small farms team strives to provide a collaborative and supportive work environment, with individual team members working both independently and on joint activities. We prioritize cross-cultural relationships with immigrant and other historically underserved farmers and design our programs to support their farming operations. Bilingual outreach and training for Asian farmers relies on over 25 years of trusted relationships in the Southeast Asian community. We have offices in San Jose (1553 Berger Drive, Building 1 2nd Floor, San Jose, CA 95112) and San Martin (80 W. Highland Avenue, Building K, San Martin, CA 95046; proximity to Asian farming community and where all program staff are based).

 

The Member will have multiple opportunities to gain professional experience through ongoing projects in field research, conservation incentives programs, policy analysis and communication, and marketing and small business development. Partnerships with community-based organizations will provide opportunities for cross-cultural learning and community engagement. The location of this position within the UCANR land grant research and extension system will also provide interaction with UC academics and staff with expertise in a variety of disciplines.

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