The California drought: a short video

22 Nov

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Especially if you brought your horse to one of these lakes.

The California Drought isn’t a joke, in fact its one of the largest drought in California’s two hundred year history. Right now conditions have “slightly” improved. However, that doesn’t mean Californians should let up on the water conservation there is still a lot of work and water needed to return the state to normal.

Like I mention before that there is a lot of things that we should still be doing to conserve water for example like not watering your lawn when its raining (saw that yesterday when I was running) or fixing leaky faucets.

The following is a video I made for a class, yet still thought it was applicable to this conversation. Sorry for the shaky video, and the general B rate PSA footage IN the terms of the class project I had to make and edit everything on a camera phone .

Have a great weekend guys,

Kristen

Marketing with Morrison

21 Nov

So I know the past couple of days I have been alluding the Marketing and Social Media presentation that was presented with the North Valley Food Hub, and now I have finally had the time (and the notes) to do this piece justice.

R. Brent Morrison (From Morrison and Company) describes marketing as

  • is how to create,communicate and delve something that is of value to someone
  • the foundation of knowing your consumers are, what your consumers need and what they are willing to pay for it
  • is producing what you can sell vs. selling what you can produce

Morrison was kind enough to break down the different types of the market situations.

  • Brokers/Packers: They buy harvest commodities, and then marketing like commodities on a pooling basis
  • Value Added: Is when they a business buy a product like tomatoes and then make it into salsa,or example Top of the ‘Morn Dairy. Some Advantages to this marketing system is that there is more price stability, and have there is the potential for more profit.
  • Direct Market: Selling directly to consumers. Some models of are farming tourism and tasting rooms. Advantages lie in higher margins and non farming opportunities, although on the flip side its a completely different business from agriculture and can lead to higher costs.

This was just a basic overview of different aspects of farming and how they apply in agriculture.

I hope that everyone is having a good week,

Kristen

Rain and Storms, with a little bit of Frozen

20 Nov

So I know I proposed that I would talk about research market, however life works in mysterious ways. Tonight my power went out at my house after a aggressive rain storm. (Question: What do Californians get excited about? Answer: Rain and pumpkin coffee!)  I had to flee my house for the warmth of a friends (and internet access), and ended up leaving all my notes at home.

Therefore I decided to switch todays topic to a matter which I am very concerned about: Christmas Spirt. Shopping at Jo-Anns today I fell into a whirlwind of glitter, christmas ornaments, and massive to do lists. Suckered into the Christmas section, which is so cleverly displayed, I began to wonder if this is all Christmas is about?

Throughout the rows of sparkly ribbon and 50% off pink stockings that read “My First Christmas” (which I seriously considered buying for my roommate) were Frozen merchandise. Let me be clear, I like Frozen probably more then I should. (I mean “youwwhooo summer blowout sale” is a classic) However when did Christmas become so integrated with sale pitches and figuring out were to place merchandise so that it will sale effectively. To be honest Frozen has nothing to do with Christmas, in fact looking around a lot of the stuff on the shelfs had nothing to do with the season at all.

This is currently my roommates first Christmas celebration, as a exchange student from Sir Lanka she has never experienced the bonding rituals of decorating the tree, baking cookies (or burning them), or watching old Christmas specials on T.V. I want to make this a experience she won’t forget, a chance to spend time with our funky makeshift family and find some joy in the pouring rain.

Okay rant over, I promise tomorrow that I will try to have the market research post up and running. And I swear I am so happy about the rain,although once I get my coffee things will be better.

Have a nice night,

Kristen

Photogenic Tuesday: Branding with Nicole

19 Nov

Yesterday, in my sleep deprive state, I mentioned that I went to a marketing event hosted by the Northern Valley Food Hub. However I neglected to mention that there was also two awesome speakers Nicole Andredni who focused on branding, and Brent Morriosn who focused on research and marketing.

Although because this is Photogenic Tuesday I thought I would feature Nicole’s artwork (with her permission of course) and some of the great things that she shared during her presentation.

Screenshot 2014-11-18 23.11.49

Nicole and her very creative team at Studio 22, focuses on agriculture branding and logo design. She created the design for North Valley Food Hub, as well as some other prominent agriculture organizations in the area.

“Branding is what people say behind your back, and is the companies face to the world.” said Nicole in her introduction to branding on Monday. She fully explains later on that branding is made of three components which they need to elicit:

  1. Thoughts
  2. Emotions
  3. Reactions

Screenshot 2014-11-18 23.12.32

Lastly Nicole shared with the audience some great methods for branding:

  • Find a unique message (find something that sets you apart from the rest of your competitors)
  • Use a pro (Branding is a complex process, and once you publish your logo your often stuck for life with it)
  • And if all else fails use the 3C Method ( which is clear, concise, and consistency.)

Screenshot 2014-11-18 23.15.02

Tomorrow I am going to dive further into marketing, but for now its looks like its going to be another all night writing for the paper.

Have a good night…errr morning..

Kristen

The North Valley Food Hub

18 Nov

Today I had the opportunity to go and speak at a event hosted by the North Valley Food Hub, which connects local producers (and producers) to consumers.

The event was titled Marketing Strategies and Social Media for the Local Food Economy, which promoted various branding and marketing techniques that could be utilized by local farmers. Later this week I will dive into the different aspects of which I learned and how it could be applied.

But for now because its been a long day, and I am very exhausted I would like to leave you with this info graphic which explains how the North Valley Food Hub works.

Screenshot 2014-11-17 22.18.07

It really is a great organization, and I will explain fully later about how they operate. But they have a great staff and a even greater mission.

For now I bid you guys tonight as I already have several midterms and projects due on the horizon.

-Kristen

The Dangers of Farming

17 Nov

When I woke up yesterday morning I was immobile.

For some reason my neck was completely stiff, I could look to my right side but that its. Looking at the boxes in left was completely out of my range of skills. (Yes that was a Beyonce reference.) And forget about walking as each step sent a jolt up through my skull cause me yelp, and here I was overjoyed that I this was the last week I had to wear a cast for my broken arm.

I am clumsy,I do freely admit that. However working in agriculture is dangerous job.  Often courting danger when working with large machinery, and large animals. Yet, everyday agriculturists manage to provide food and fiber despite the difficult conditions.

Here is some startling facts pulled from the U.S. Department of Labor:

  • In 2011, 570 agricultural workers died from work-related injuries. The fatality rate for agricultural workers was 7 times higher than the fatality rate for all workers in private industry; agricultural workers had a fatality rate of 24.9 deaths per 100,000, while the fatality rate for all workers was 3.5.
  • The leading cause of death for farmworkers between 1992 and 2009 was tractor overturns, accounting for over 90 deaths annually.
  • Every day, about 243 agricultural workers suffer a serious lost-work-time injury. Five percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment.

While these facts and figures are alarming, I don’t mean to pull these out of proportion. This article gives a more in-depth description of all the facts and figures.

Have a nice night, and stay safe.

Kristen

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Sustainability on the University Farm

16 Nov

When I started my freshmen year at Chico State, I was apprehensive. Sitting in the second floor of Plumas, Freshmen filled the 70 seats as they hurriedly shoved campus maps in their binders. Sitting in the Agriculture 180 class, which was a required class for all incoming students, advisors and mature students came to woo the freshmen to work at the University Farm.

Long story short I ended up filling out a application to work at the farm, took a safety driving course, and ended up working on the new poultry project.

IMG_0051(Me washing eggs at the University Farm)

The poultry project was a movable poultry hutch that focus on sustainability measures like:

  • Following the Dairy Cows on a rotational grazing pattern in order to preserve the grass
  • In addition following the dairy cows the chickens would reduce the amount of bugs
  • Using solar power to generate light for the inside of the poultry hutch

The University Farm gave students the opportunity to work on a Organic Sustainable farm and gave a different interpretation of agriculture.

Over and out from the small city of Chico,

Kristen

The 30 Day Blog Challenge: Organic agriculture, answering some questions

15 Nov

Yesterday I dove into the exciting world of organic agriculture.

Although yesterday after my initial exploration of organic agriculture, I felt that I was lacking some vital information or that something was missing. So that last night after some pondering I decided to reach out to Haven Bourque, writer for Civil Eats and way more knowledgeable then me about organic agriculture, for her take on the subject.

Something that I learn through reading the articles that Bourque sent me was:

  • Organic farming is some times coupled with sustainable agriculture to make the farm more productive by utilizing methods like: rotational grazing, using different crops to reestablish the soil, and using different animals to increase productivity of the land
  • Just because they are label organic, doesn’t mean that they are that they are pesticide free.
  • Organic is one of the fastest growing fields of agricultures
  • There is at least two colleges in California that offer a focus on organic agriculture and sustainably programs, UC Davis and Chico State.

This is just one of the first investigations that I have made into the wealth of knowledge about organic agriculture. Although this was a brief summary of what I learned the past couple of days, I cannot wait to develop my knowledge further.

Join me tomorrow for my blog post about the sustainably on Chico State Farm.

Have a lovely weekend,

Kristen

30 Day Blog Challenge: My quest for knowledge about Organic Agriculture

14 Nov

What I know about organic food could fit in a thimble.

Growing up organic was a fringe aspect of agriculture, yes I knew it existed, but did I know what it was about? Heck no!

Going to Chico State I got a brief introduction into organic farming and other sustainable farming techniques, which piqued my interest. And because I know so little about organic agriculture I decided to focus on it this week as my hot topic.

Before I drive into the exciting world of organic agriculture I would like to state that I appreciate all forms of ag. In my humble opinion it’s not beneficial of agriculturalists to tear each other down and proclaim one form of agriculture better then another. This is merely (me being the inquisitive creature that I am) a quest for knowledge about other forms of ag.

According to the USDA organic is “labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.”

Furthermore The USDA monitories the “integrity of the USDA organic products in the USA and in the world” through “regulation and guidance on certification, production, handling, and labeling of USDA organic products.”

Here are the basic facts:

  • There are 30,000 organic farms and processing facilities certified by the USDA
  • Approximately 100 agents manage organic Certification both overseas and in the U.S.
  • Food that is certified organic assures the consumer that: irradiation, synthetic fertilizers, sewage, certain pesticides, genetically modified organisms was not apart of the farming process.
  • Furthermore if certified by the USDA verifies that the product is made of at least 95% organic materials

Like I stated before I barely know anything about organic agriculture, other then the fact they don’t use pesticides or GMO’s. If you think that there is aspect that I should explore more about organic realm of agriculture feel free to comment below. In addition I will be interviewing several students who work at the organic dairy here on the CSU Campus.

Have a nice day,

Kristen

30 Days Agriculture Blog: Wearable technology

13 Nov

Everyone in California has hear about Google Glass, heck even students in my journalism department even got to play with the device.

Technology is becoming a major player in agriculture, starting from the days of the cotton gin (which is memorialized in history books across the U.S.) to the days of the GPS it is impossible to farm with out these innovations in agriculture. Wearable devices are become mainstream rather abruptly, in fact it wasn’t even twenty years ago that the Global Positioning System (GPS) was put to work in agriculture.

But the question is how do we take the mainstream mobile technology, such as the Google Glass, and convert it into a resource for agriculture.

Tek Wear Ag came up with a solution, more like a application, to turn the Google Glass into a major innovation in agriculture.

Some of the examples of Glass can be implemented on a farm:

-Give individuals advice on how to fix complex machinery

-Insect identification from a remote location

-Easier organization and correlation of data

-Diagnoses of animal health issues

Video curtsey of Agriculture.com

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I explore the definition of the word organic and the associations that are implied.

-Kristen