Action News 6, which serves the Central Coast, ran a story this week on an ongoing effort by UC Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo County to teach children and caregivers how to adopt a healthy lifestyles.
"You can teach the children, but unless the parent is involved in these changes, it doesn't always happen," UCCE health education specialist Krista Mugford said in the TV story.
The six-week-long "Eat Smart, Play Hard" program includes lessons on proper nutrition, healthful recipes, and creative and fun activities to get participants moving.
Monica Dupaix participated with three of her five children. She said in the story she's surprised how much information her kids retained.
"We'll be eating cold cereal and they'll be comparing the sugar grams," she said.
The plight of the honeybee continues to make headlines, and reporters continue to seek out UC experts for comment. Today, the Sacramento Bee noted that colony collaspe disorder "hits agriculture hard."
Acccording to the story, many adult bees have mysteriously disappeared – leaving only the queen and the young brood bees – and researchers don't yet know exactly why.
"As a research community, we're just scrambling," the story quoted Susan Cobey, a UC Davis researcher and bee breeder.
According to the article, researchers and beekeepers nationwide collected samples of affected hives in 2007. Most of them were also hit by Israeli acute paralysis virus.
Researchers are now injecting that virus into healthy bees to see the result, but they believe there is more at play. Colony collaspe disorder is "most likely an interplay of different viruses with mites and pesticides," the article said.
The Sonoma County UC Cooperative Extension office is in the news today for launching a meat-buying club. Reporter Michelle Anna Jordan of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat praised the idea in her food column.
"What I find so innovative about the Sonoma County Meat Buying Club is that it benefits not one but many local farmers and ranchers, and that is a great thing from any perspective," Jordan wrote.
UCCE is sponsoring the startup of the Sonoma County Meat Buying Club, which will later be turned over to a non-profit organization. Members will receive boxes of frozen local meats, delivered monthly to central pickup locations in Healdsburg, Santa Rosa and either Petaluma or Sebastopol. Ten-, 15- and 20-pound boxes of local lamb, pork and beef will range in price from $100 to $200. Duck, chicken, eggs and goat may eventually be offered by the club.
To begin with, consumers can sign up for a single month, but later subscriptions will be sold by the season.
The article in the Press-Democrat steered consumers to an online survey, which concludes with the opportunity to fill in contact information for people interested in joining the club.
Stockton Record agricultural writer Reid Fujii wrote an entertaining piece on 2008's designation as the International Year of the Potato. While acknowledging that San Joaquin County isn't generally thought of as a potato capital, county farmers cultivate 2,000 to 3,000 acres of potatoes a year, generating a harvest worth an estimated $22.7 million in 2006, according to the story.
"That would put potatoes at No. 3 in terms of vegetable crops in the county, behind tomatoes and asparagus," Fujii quoted Brenna Aegerter, UC Cooperative Extension vegetable crop farm advisor in San Joaquin County. "There's not a lot of acreage, but it's pretty valuable."
Aegerter said potatoes display purple blooms in the spring, but because they are grown away from major highways, remain mostly unseen.
"It's not too often you get to see potato fields," she is quoted. "They're beautiful when they bloom."
The Los Angeles Times reported that PG&E will be handing over 100,000 acres of ecologically rich and endangered watershed lands in California to new owners that are aiming for conservation. For the story, reporter Tami Abdollah spoke to UC Cooperative Extension forestry specialist Bill Stewart of UC Berkeley.
"You're basically looking at lots of free real estate," Steward was quoted. He also pointed out some concerns associated with the land transfer.
"The truth is, when you have to manage land, it costs money," Stewart said.
"Those are real costs, and that's what they're starting to see with these parcels. Some of these are 5,000- to 10,000-acre chunks of forest lands. They're not insignificant parcels, and they're laced with roads and recreation areas. Whoever has these lands [is] going to have to manage them."