This week marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This year, consider celebrating the day with gardening and other stay-at-home resources curated by your local UCCE office.
History of Earth Day
Earth Day was launched in 1970. Many factors contributed to the call for a national day focusing on environmental stewardship, including the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring - serialized in the New Yorker - and the catastrophic oil spill that occurred off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969. The Santa Barbara oil spill galvanized U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin) to call for a national day of locally inspired and organized "teach-ins" on the environment - a national "Earth Day." The Earth Day model was inspired by the spirit of campus activism at the nation's colleges and universities. It wasn't top-down, but rather a grassroots effort that encouraged communities to develop educational and service events around issues and topics important to them.
Earth Day struck a chord; some estimates suggest that 1 in 10 Americans participated in the first events. Earth Day is widely credited with "sparking" the modern environmental movement. Landmark environmental legislation swiftly followed (including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act). The Environmental Protection agency was founded that same year. Twenty years after its launch, Earth Day became a global movement.
You can learn more from the Earth Day Network by linking to this website.
Home Garden Resources
There is a wave of renewed interest in gardening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about "crisis" gardening - and a new "Victory Garden" movement - in this article from the New York Times.
Closer to home, we have a wealth of gardening resources for you.
One of our favorites is the California Garden Web, designed by our UC Master Gardeners. You'll find a wealth of gardening information and a helpful glossary.
Ventura County is blessed with a wonderful growing climate and many of us have backyard fruit trees. Learn more about cultivating and caring for your home orchard here.
Resources for the Home Classroom
Many of us are working with our children in home classrooms. The UC 4-H Youth Development Program has a range of resources available to engage young learners. In honor of Earth Day, take a look at our 4-H Vegetable Gardening Project sheet. We also recommend our 4-H Water Conservation Project sheet, which provides engaging, science-based activities the entire family can enjoy. 4-H is one of the oldest youth development programs in the nation and we'll be sharing other educational resources in upcoming posts. #Head #Heart #Hands #Health.
Be Kind to the Earth by Reducing Food Waste
Nearly 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. is wasted and much of that waste ends up in landfills (definitely not good for our environment or the economy).
The National Resources Defense Council estimates that the average family of four throws out nearly 1,000 pounds of food each year, wasting roughly $1,500.
Consumers as a group waste more food than farms, grocery stores or restaurants. For tips on ways you can reduce #FoodWaste, click here.
History lesson: The image on the left is a poster that was used during World War I and World War II to promote food conservation. First printed in 1919, it contains tips that are helpful today.
This image is from a collection held by the Museum of County. Photographer: Aysen Tan.
Related reading: What a World War I Poster Can Teach Us About #FoodWaste.
Thank you, Volunteers!
This week is National Volunteer Week and we want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who are part of UCCE Ventura...and who make our work possible. Thanks to our 4-H, Master Gardener and HAREC volunteers. You are central to our mission and we value you. Youth, Families and Communities Education Program Manager Susana Bruzzone-Miller created this video to express our appreciation.
Our COVID-19 landing page provides links to important resources about the pandemic, including information for the agricultural community. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) illness, our office is closed for face-to-face service through May 15th. While we regret the inconvenience, these are the precautions we are taking to support one other and comply with University, local, county and state government recommendations. Our staff is telecommuting and can be contacted via phone and email. We are here to serve you.
Author - Emeritus - UCCE Advisor in Digital Communications in Food Systems & Extension Education; Editor, UC Food Observer; Food and Society Policy Fellow