Small and Organic Farm Advisor
University of California
Small and Organic Farm Advisor

Organic Agriculture Seminar Series for Growers

Agenda and Recordings

January 26 - May 4

Tuesdays, 12 - 1 PM via Zoom

Please join us for a weekly lunch time seminar. We’ll be joined by a guest each week for a 30 minute presentation then open up the conversation for questions from the listeners. 

Zoom info will be the same each week.

 Meeting link:

 January 26

Evaluating biochar for use in California agriculture
Dan Gelardi, PhD Candidate, UC Davis Soils & Biogeochemistry Graduate Group
February 2
Thrips, aphids, seed corn maggot and more: Managing insect pests in organic fields and vegetable production
Rachael Long, UC ANR Farm Advisor, Interim Director for Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento Counties
February 9
Plant Defense Mechanisms Part 1: Induced disease resistance and plant activators
Richard Bostock, Distinguished Professor, UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology
February 16
Plant Defense Mechanisms Part 2: How soil microbes defend plants from insect pests
Amelie Gaudin, Professor of Agroecology, UC Davis
February 23
Post Harvest: The ABCs of keeping produce fresh and nutritious
Beth Mitcham, Director, Postharvest Technology Center and Cooperative Extension Specialist
March 2
Spring nutrient management in organic orchards
Katherine Jarvis-Shean, UC Cooperative Extension Orchard Systems Advisor for Sacramento-Solano-Yolo
March 9
Asking the plant to tell you when it needs water
Ken "Dr. H2O" Shackel, UC Davis Professor of Pomology
March 16

Spots and stripes two bandits of the west! Ecology and a new aggregation pheromone of cucumber beetles. 

Jasmin Ramirez Bonilla and Ian Grettenberger, Grettenberger Lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology
March 23
Role and Assembly of microorganisms on leaves--Managing the plant microbiome
Steve Lindow, UC Berkeley Professor of Plant Pathology
April 6
How are organic fertilizers effecting the soil microbe and what does that mean for your soil health?
Cristina Lazcano, Assistant Professor, Soil Ecology and Plant Nutrition
May 4
The birds and bees where the field ends - and their plant friends
Corey Shake, Senior Partner Biologist, Point Blue Conservation Science

Meeting ID: 955 0709 0502

Passcode: 593028

One tap mobile

+16699006833,,95507090502# US (San Jose)

+12532158782,,95507090502# US (Tacoma)

 **If you would like the zoom link and info to automatically appear in your calendar, please download the following link. We will be using the same link each week.






Bagrada Bug Community Forum

Andrew Brait, Full Belly Farm

Paul Underhill, Terra Firma


Bagrada bug is an emerging invasive stink bug pest in California, which preferentially feeds on plants in the mustard family (i.e. broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage).  It is a sucking insect and can cause severe yield losses, especially when it attacks young plants. On January 12, 2021 UCCE hosted a forum for Yolo, Sacramento, and Solano county organic growers to discuss their experiences with fighting bagrada bug. Paul Underhill and Andrew Brait led the discussion.

Bagrada Summary Article





Evaluating Biochar for Use in California Agriculture

Dani Gelardi, UC Davis

Jan 26, 2021

Biochar is often described as a silver bullet for increasing agricultural production while decreasing environmental impact. Due to its unique properties, biochar has the potential to address many pressing agricultural challenges, including fertilizer pollution, yield decline, vulnerability of soils to drought, depleted soil carbon stocks, waste management, and dependence on fossil fuels. Despite increased interest and investigation, there remain many questions about whether or not biochar can address these issues. In this 30-minute talk, Dani Gelardi will cover the basics of biochar: What is it? How is it made? What can it do? She will then review recent research from the UC Davis Environmental Chemistry Lab to illustrate how the basics may or may not apply to agricultural systems in California.

Biochar Summary Article

Presentation recording


Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 10.56.27 AM
Insect Pest Management in
Organic Field and Vegetable Crop Production
Rachael Long, UCCE
Feb 2, 2021

This talk will focus on managing insect pests in organic field and vegetable crop production, including thrips, aphids, stink bugs, seed corn maggot, and more. Discussion will include the importance of good agronomic practices, healthy soils, and biodiversity practices that favor natural enemies, for enhanced pest control on farms.


Presentation Summary

Presentation Recording

Indusced resistance
Plant Defense Mechanisms Part 1:
Induced Disease Resistance and Plant Activators
Rick Bostock, UC Davis
Feb 9, 2021
Rick’s talk will briefly explain induced disease resistance in plants and how plant “immune” systems are activated, provide examples of plant activators that trigger this immunity, and discuss benefits and limitations of using induced resistance in production systems.

Plant Defense Mechanisms Part 2:
How Soil Microbes Defend Plants from Insect Pests
Amelie Gaudin, UC Davis
Feb 16, 2021
Reduced insect pest populations found on long-term organic farms have mostly been attributed to increased biodiversity and abundance of beneficial predators. However, the role of plant resistance has largely been ignored. Professor Amélie Gaudin will share an example of organic management promoting pest control through greater plant resistance to insects across organic farms in Yolo county and the important role of soil health and the soil microbiome in mediating these effects.
Dr. Gaudin's Publication:

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