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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems is a research, education, and public service program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food and agriculture system. Our mission is to research, develop, and advance sustainable food and agricultural systems that are environmentally sound, economically viable, socially responsible, nonexploitative, and that serve as a foundation for future generations. The Center's work covers a spectrum that includes both theoretical and applied research, academic education and practical training, and public service for audiences ranging from local school children to international agencies. The Center is a part of UCSC's Social Sciences Division.

On the UCSC campus the Center manages the 25-acre UCSC Farm and the 2-acre Alan Chadwick Garden as sites for teaching, training, and research in organic horticulture and agricutlure. Both sites are open to the public daily.

Dr. Daniel Press, Director
CASFS
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
831.459-3240
casfs.ucsc.edu

Cover page of Impacts of the Apprenticeship Program: An Overview and Summary of the Alumni Survey

Impacts of the Apprenticeship Program: An Overview and Summary of the Alumni Survey

(2010)

This brief summary provides an overview of the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture's alumni survey methods and results. The survey was administered to graduates of the six-month training program in organic farming, gardening and food systems that takes place each year at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is administered by the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems through UCSC Extension.

Cover page of Can Hedgerows Attract Beneficial Insects and Improve Pest Control? A Study of Hedgerows on Central Coast Farms

Can Hedgerows Attract Beneficial Insects and Improve Pest Control? A Study of Hedgerows on Central Coast Farms

(2010)

The objectives of this study, conducted from 2005 to 2007, were (1) to assess the habitat quality of different hedgerow plants for insect natural enemies and pests, (2) to track the movement of insects from hedgerows into adjacent crop fields and (3) to test the effect of hedgerows on parasitism rates of an economically important pest, the cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni). This study took place at four farms with hedgerows on the Central Coast of California.

Cover page of Will "We" Achieve the Millennium Development Goals with Small-Scale Coffee Growers and Their Cooperatives? A Case Study Evaluating Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Networks in Northern Nicaragua

Will "We" Achieve the Millennium Development Goals with Small-Scale Coffee Growers and Their Cooperatives? A Case Study Evaluating Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Networks in Northern Nicaragua

(2008)

This research brief examines the livelihoods of small-scale coffee growing households in Nicaragua, comparing those that are selling to certified "specialty" coffee markets with those selling to conventional markets. The study uses the Millennium Development Goals as established by the United Nations in 2000 as a framework for analyzing the current status of 177 Nicaraguan households involved in small-scale coffee production. The authors conclude that, despite some recent gains in terms of coffee price increases), small-scale growers—no matter whether they sell to certified or conventional markets—are in fact losing economic ground due to declining real prices and the rising costs of sustainable production, a situation that needs to be addressed by the coffee industry, certification groups, producer organizations, and governments.

Cover page of UCSC Survey Form

UCSC Survey Form

(2007)

Survey form used for study of food-related concerns, interests, and level of support for specific food criteria (socially just, organic, small scale, etc.) at UC Santa Cruz.

Cover page of Farming the College Market: Results of a Consumer Study at UC Santa Cruz

Farming the College Market: Results of a Consumer Study at UC Santa Cruz

(2007)

This research brief examines student, staff, and faculty’s food-related concerns, interests, and level of support for specific food criteria, including whether they would be willing to pay more for food produced in an organic and “socially just” manner. With increasing interest in “farm-to-college” programs designed to bring local, sustainably produced food into college cafeterias, there is a need for information on the attitudes and interest of those served by such programs.

Cover page of Food Safety versus Environmental Protection on the Central California Coast: Exploring the Science Behind an Apparent Conflict

Food Safety versus Environmental Protection on the Central California Coast: Exploring the Science Behind an Apparent Conflict

(2006)

This research brief explores the apparent conflict between new food safety rules designed to minimize the presence of wildlife around farm fields, and environmental protection efforts designed to decrease the impacts of pesticides, fertilizers, and sediments on the environment.

Using information from existing research, the brief examines the effectiveness of measures being used by Central Coast growers to address environmental problems. We then summarize the history of food safety issues on the Central Coast, and outline potential sources of crop contamination in the field. Finally, we discuss the ways that food safety guidelines conflict with environmental protection methods, proposing the idea that such methods could in fact be designed to reduce contamination sources and improve food safety.

Cover page of Research Brief #9, Meeting Farm and Food Security Needs through Community Supported Agriculture and Farmers’ Markets in California

Research Brief #9, Meeting Farm and Food Security Needs through Community Supported Agriculture and Farmers’ Markets in California

(2006)

This research brief examines whether alternative food initiatives (AFIs) such as community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmers’ markets can meet the food security needs of low-income consumers. It is based on interviews with and surveys of farmers' market and CSA managers throughout California. The authors conclude that AFIs are not and cannot be substitutes for state entitlements in meeting the food security needs of low-income people.

Cover page of Land Use and Phosphorus Levels in the Elkhorn Slough and Pajaro River Watersheds

Land Use and Phosphorus Levels in the Elkhorn Slough and Pajaro River Watersheds

(2006)

In this research brief we present data from water quality monitoring conducted between October 2000 and September 2004, to demonstrate the way that agricultural land use influences phosphorus concentrations in streams and rivers. We discuss the nature of phosphorus pollution from agriculture along the Central Coast, examine the implications of these data for agricultural regulations, and offer suggestions for reducing phosphorus losses from farmlands.

Cover page of Central Coast Consumers’ Interest in Food Systems Issues: Demographic and Behavioral Associations

Central Coast Consumers’ Interest in Food Systems Issues: Demographic and Behavioral Associations

(2005)

This research brief reviews the findings from multiple regression analysis of date from a consumer survey on interest in food system issues. Three topics were analyzed, 1) preferences for alternative ‘ecolabels’, 2) willingness to pay for strawberries with criteria for a living wage and safe working conditions for farmworkers, and 3) interest in education topics. Variables included in these analyses were gender, age, ethnicity, income, education, frequent sourcing of local food, and frequent purchasing of organic food. Also tested, and included where statistically significant (p < .05) in at least one model, were the following variables: households with children and level of agreement with the following statements, “I try to consider how my purchase(s) will affect the environment,” “There isn’t much that an individual consumer can do about environmental problems” and “Most people don’t care about how their food is produced.” All of these variables were dichotomous (i.e. binary choices like yes or no) with exceptions of age, which had a range of 20 to 99, and those that asked for agreement with statements above, which were measured on a scale from 1 to 7.