Diversified Scholars in Diversified Farming: Broadening Perspectives in the Field

corn growing in a field

Monday, September 18, 2017

We are kicking off the 2017/18 DFS Seminar Series with a panel discussion that aims to broaden what we think of when we say "diversification" in farming systems. The frame and practice of diversity builds ecological and economic resilience at the field, farm, and landscape scales. This panel will explore the role, challenges, and opportunities for a diversity of perspectives and approaches in DFS research and practices. In particular we want to set the stage for student engagement and outreach/extension oriented work with agricultural communities. Our panel includes people at various stages of their careers working with farmers and ranchers through UC Cooperative Extension.

Sheila Barry, County Director Santa Clara;Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, San Francisco Bay Area
Aidee Guzman, PhD Student, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley; Graduate Student in Extension Fellow
Fadzayi E Mashiri, County Director Mariposa;
Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, Mariposa and Merced Counties
Margiana Petersen-Rockney, PhD Student, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley; Graduate Student in Extension Fellow
Devii Rao, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, San Benito, Monterey, and Santa Cruz Counties
Moderator: Van Butsic, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist, UC Berkeley

Sheila Barry has served the San Francisco Bay area as a UC Cooperative Extension Livestock and Natural Resource Advisor for the past 20 years. She conducts applied research on rangeland conservation and management. Working with cattle ranchers and public agencies, she promotes working landscapes that conserve biological diversity, protect water quality, and sustain livestock production. She has worked to bring together stakeholders on contentious issues including harvesting of oaks, and maintaining grazing lands at the urban interface and on municipal watersheds. Sheila has a M.S. in Animal Science from Texas A&M and Bachelors degrees in Agricultural Science and International Relations from UC Davis. She is currently a 2nd year PhD student in ESPM.

Aidee Guzman works with Southeast Asian and Latinx small-scale farmers embedded in the monoculture landscape of California's Central Valley. Her research explores how on-farm diversification practices influence soil health and its links to other ecological processes. Aidee’s research aims to use social and ecological research to support farmers and rural livelihoods.

Margiana Petersen-Rockney studies how farmers and ranchers are adapting to climate change in rural America. Specifically her research focuses on the barriers (and motives) that beginning and limited resource farmers face in implementing ecological resilience building practices and diversification. Currently she is working in Northern California with farmers, ranchers, and Tribes whose cultural livelihoods are polarizing as conflict over limited water increases.

Devii Rao is the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor serving San Benito, Monterey, and Santa Cruz counties. Her program focuses on research and education related to livestock and rangelands, with an emphasis on improving the economic and ecological sustainability of ranching in the tri-county area. Prior to joining UCCE in 2015, Devii was the Rangeland Management Specialist at Point Reyes National Seashore. She also worked as a private consultant in rangeland management and Rangeland Conservationist with the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District.