Posts Tagged: Yvonne Savio
UC Cooperative Extension is testing methods of removing Sahara mustard, including hand weeding, hoes and herbicide. But these are only stopgap measures meant to keep the plant at bay in select spots.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to spray the herbicide across the entire Southwest,” said Chris McDonald, UCCE advisor in San Bernardino County. “But the idea is preserving areas of value, such as the wildflower fields of Borrego Springs.”
Sahara mustard has been in California since 1927, but it wasn't until Hurricane Kathleen doused California in 1976 that it proliferated widely, according to Rich Minnich, professor in the Department of Geography at UC Riverside.
“There was this gigantic explosion of mustard, and it’s never been the same since,” Minnich said.
Anza-Borrego's tough eradication project: Cutting the mustard
Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
A front-page story in the Los Angeles Times detailed the changing attractions in Borrego Springs. Tourists used to come to see a colorful display of wildflowers, but because of an invasive weed, Sahara mustard, local officials are now trying to turn visitors attention to hiking, cycling, star gazing and photography instead. UCCE's Chris McDonald, who is conducting research on Sahara mustard control, was featured in four of the nine photos that accompanied the story.
Nutgrass: Three experts' solutions to one of the worst weeds
L.A. at Home blog, Los Angeles Times
Nutsedge is commonly considered a gardeners' worst enemy, which is further proven by the draconian measures to control the weed offered by UC and other experts in the L.A. at Home blog this week. In the introduction to the problem, Cheryl Wilen, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, notes there are two kinds of nutsedge. One way to tell them apart takes a little courage.
"If you are inclined to bite into one," she said, "yellow nutsedge has a pleasant almond or brazilnut taste, while purple nutsedge does not have a good flavor."
Controlling either kind is challenging. Yvonne Savio, UCCE manager of the L.A. County common ground program, suggests extricating the weed in a way that may seem extreme.
Dig 6 inches around and under each weed and throw the weed and dug up soil into the garbage. "Don't even think of composting the weed or filtering the soil through a screen," Savio said. The weeds will come back.
A small group of Inglewood residents this spring launched a learning garden in a local park, which is managed through weekly committee meetings, events and maintenance schedules, according to a story by the Los Angeles NBC affiliate.
"I prayed to God for something like this to happen," the story quoted 77-year-old Frank Scoggins, a garden co-founder. "It's hard to get kids interested, but we want to get more young people involved."
Inglewood is a southwest Los Angeles County community where the majority of residents are African-American and Latino, according to the 2010 Census. It was a farming community when it incorporated in 1908, the story said. After the Great Depression, most farmland gave way to industrialization.
Despite its agricultural past, Inglewood is one of many L.A. communities identified as 'food deserts,' areas that lack adequate access to fresh produce and instead offer an abundance of liquor stores and fast food restaurants.
NBC reporter Lisa Rau spoke to the director of the UC Cooperative Extension Common Ground Program, Yvonne Savio about the growing interest in developing community gardens to serve communities like Inglewood. Savio said there are 73 community gardens Los Angeles County; 64 percent of their gardeners make less than $15,000 per year.
"There will always be a much greater need than all of our collective agencies and efforts that are made out there," Savio was quoted. "But more is always better when it comes to lots of information and helping people."
The Common Ground Program was created in 1978 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture identified 20 major metropolitan cities that would use funding to help low-income communities grow their own food. Common Ground trains gardeners to provide nutrition and growing education in low-income areas.
Urban Farming magazine gave its readers a "whirlwind introduction" to a few Los Angeles residents and programs that are working to bring back a modicum of the metropolis' agricultural past. The first vignette in "Urban Farm Road Trip, Los Angeles" featured Yvonne Savio and the UC Cooperative Extension Common Ground Program she coordinates.
Most counties in the country have a Cooperative Extension service that dispenses agricultural, horticultural and nutritional information, the article said. But the program in Los Angeles County is unique. Common Ground trains Master Gardeners to teach low-income individuals and families how to grow their own food, wrote Erik Knutzen.
"We give people the tools to change their lives -- beautification, culture, emotional, physical and psychological health -- all the good stuff comes through gardening," Savio was quoted in the story.
Because of the tough economic times, LA County Cooperative Extension has launched the "Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative," which encourages citizens to adopt the last century's wartime tradition of growing food to help ease the burden on the nation's food production and distribution infrastructure.
The Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard or at a community garden.
Late last month, USDA once again deregulated genetically modified alfalfa. The action prompted extensive news media coverage, with many articles centering on outcry from organic growers who are not comfortable with the idea of GMO/non-GMO coexistence.
"I don't believe it is certain. I believe it is something we can manage and prevent," he said.
Putnam's research results on alfalfa cross-contamination were noted in a blog on The Atlantic. A 2008 study found that when a Roundup Ready alfalfa seed crop and a non-Roundup Ready hay crop were grown 160 feet apart, the rate of successful gene flow from GM seed crop to non-GM hay crop was 0.25 percent - considered a small risk.
Nevertheless, Putnam said USDA's deregulaton decision likely won't put the controversy to rest.
"There's no question the lawsuits will continue. They would probably continue regardless of whichever way they went," he was quoted.
Here are a few news stories that appeared this week that touched on ANR:
Sumo citrus. LA Times freelance food writer David Karp introduced readers to a new citrus variety, the Sumo. "Think of a huge mandarin, easy to peel and seedless, with firm flesh that melts in the mouth, an intense sweetness balanced by refreshing acidity, and a complex, lingering mandarin orange aroma," Karp wrote. "I've tasted more than 1,000 varieties of citrus, and to me the Dekopon (Sumo) is the most delicious." The Citrus Clonal Protection Program at UC Riverside played a role in making the Japanese fruit available to Americans by cleaning imported budwood to be sure it is free of diseases, a process that took several years.
Garden recycling. The L.A. At Home blog in the LA Times outlined ideas for putting recyclables to work in the garden, gleaned from Yvonne Savio, the manager of the LA Master Gardener program. The post illustrates a compost bin made of rusty bedsprings, an old bathtub turned into an ornamental shade garden, aluminum roasting pans that were recycled into seed-starting trays and plastic water bottles that double as water channeling containers.
Cheaters never prosper. In a move aimed at ending cheating at farmers' markets, the CDFA is proposing a significant fee hike for vendors - from 60 cents to $4. The $4 fee would raise about $1.5 million annually, much of which would be used to hire full-time CDFA officers based in Northern, Central and Southern California to conduct farm and market inspections, according to the LA Times.
Creating jobs. The head of USDA's Rural Development office in California visited Santa Cruz County to offer her agency's help to create jobs, said a story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. "As a nation we have hemorrhaged jobs," said Glenda Humiston. "The jobs we've lost, virtually none of them are coming back." Pointing to positive steps to alleviate the problem, she noted that the Center for Regional Change at UC Davis is studying ways to innovate financial systems to invest local money locally.
Los Angeles County's UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener coordinator, Yvonne Savio, has coined a term to describe the her horticultural style: "circus gardening."
"If it's green and it grows after I've put it in, it stays," she told Pasadena Star-News reporter Michelle Mills. "You water it once or twice, and it's on its own. I tell my Master Gardeners that I've killed many more plants than they ever knew existed because I'm always playing with everything."
Mills developed a feature story about Savio, highlighting the fact that the UCCE employee, who is in charge of LA County UCCE's urban garden program, was named the 2010 Horticulturist of the Year by the Southern California Horticulture Society.
The article also ran in the Redlands Daily Facts.
Savio shared her passion for plants at her Pasadena home, which her father designed and built when Savio was 3. A backyard hillside is terraced for vegetable beds, and perennials grow on the down side of each of the terraces as a living mulch. Savio grows vegetables, fruits, annuals and drought-tolerant perennials, cactus plants, succulents, bromeliads, ground covers and roses.
At work, Savio's newest program is the Grow L.A. Victory Gardens Initiative, in which 10 Master Gardeners throughout Los Angeles County have established dozens of locations where beginning gardeners attend classes and receive a space to practice their lessons, the article said. "It isn't just a class session," Savio was quoted. "They form a neighborhood garden circle." Savio said her Horticulturist of the Year award vindicates her work to help more people grow their own food. "We're talking reality, people and food and becoming more involved with our own world," she was quoted.
At work, Savio's newest program is the Grow L.A. Victory Gardens Initiative, in which 10 Master Gardeners throughout Los Angeles County have established dozens of locations where beginning gardeners attend classes and receive a space to practice their lessons, the article said.
"It isn't just a class session," Savio was quoted. "They form a neighborhood garden circle."
Savio said her Horticulturist of the Year award vindicates her work to help more people grow their own food.
"We're talking reality, people and food and becoming more involved with our own world," she was quoted.