Alex McBratney on Soil Security for this International Year of the Soils

AlexAlex McBratney holds BSc, PhD and DSc degrees in soil science from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and the DScAgr degree from the University of Sydney for research in precision agriculture. After completing his PhD work at Rothamsted Experimental Station in the UK, Alex spent seven years with CSIRO Division of Soils in Brisbane, Australia. Alex joined the University of Sydney in 1989. He is currently Pro-Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environment, Professor of Soil Science and Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences. He is Chief Editor of the global soil science journal, Geoderma. He is heavily involved with the activities of the International Union of Soil Sciences and the global digital soil map project, GlobalSoilMap. Alex has been major professor for 30 PhD students and published some 260 refereed scientific journal papers with an h-index of 49. In 2014 he was awarded the 2014 VV Dokuchaev medal in soil science from the International Union of Soil Sciences, which is the highest honor in the discipline of soil science and widely regarded as its ‘Nobel prize’. Currently he is helping to develop and promote the concept of Soil Security

Instructions to stream will be posted here and to facebook if we get that organized.

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What on Earth Day would we do without the Student Sustainability Committee?

For Earth Day on campus this yoliviaear lets thank our Student Sustainability Committee!  Last week they held a symposium in the Illini Ballroom to report on projects they have funded and it was really impressive.  Check out all their funded work here.  Featured projects included projects at Allerton, discussed by Derek Peterson. Then Jen Bechtel discussed the Sustainability Living-Learning Community, Mark Taylor spoke about the Solar Decathlon, and Jason Finkelman provided an overview of the upcoming “sonified sustainability festival”.  It should be great.  The video he showed of Ken Butler,  who uses recycled materials to make instruments, might have been the highlight for many but for me, the highlight was the presentation made by Olivia Webb, SSC food and waste sub-committee chair.  By sharing her personal experiences she inspired all who were there. The SSC has been transformative for the campus and the students who participate in the important work they do.  What on Earth Day would we do without them?

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Student Sustainability Committee Symposium

usgbcssc sympThe U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)/ and Student Sustainability Symposium is tomorrow, talks run from 12 (noon) – 1:30PM followed by posters

The Student Sustainability Committee will present their funded projects to the campus community tomorrow! This is an amazing group of students that deserve our recognition

  • Keynote panel led by Professor John Abelson of the Materials Science and Engineering department on the definition of sustainability and how it relates to various disciplines.
  • Workshop on divestment from Students for Environmental Concern’s Beyond Coal group
  • Presentation by representatives from Lend Lease


This event will also include a lunch for attendees to network with industry representatives, environmental RSOs, and professors, with the goal of bringing parties doing their part to further a sustainable future.

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National Wildlife Fund Seeks Agricultural Program Coordinator

nwfThe National Wildlife Federation is seeking an Agriculture Program Coordinator to join our staff in DC.  This is an entry level position that will provide administrative and programmatic support for all aspects NWF’s Agriculture Program work, which includes wildlife-friendly agriculture, bioenergy, cover crops, and grasslands.

Successful candidate will:

  • Take the lead in keeping our web page updated and in maintaining a blog on our work
  • Assist in research on agriculture and bioenergy issues, develop fact sheets, white papers, and other educational materials
  • Assist with media and communications, administer and moderate listservs, and participate in coalition meetings and activities.
  • Help to organize and plan meetings and events, including taking a leading role in organizing the America’s Grasslands Conference, a 250 person biennial conference about the conservation of grassland ecosystems
  • Take a lead role in grant tracking and reporting, including helping to write grant reports and monitoring budgets.
  • Depending on interest, there will also likely be opportunities for the Coordinator to build out areas of work on cover crops, grasslands, bioenergy, agriculture conservation policy, or other related issues.


  • A four year degree in policy, natural resources, communications, or agriculture
  • At least one year professional experience in policy, communications, or natural resources and a basic understanding of U.S. Agriculture and interest in wildlife conservation and sustainable agriculture
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, research skills, ability to translate complex information into publicly accessible forms
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively in a team
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to be a self-starter

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, passionate about protecting wildlife for our children’s future.  NWF is an equal opportunity employer committed to workplace diversity.  MORE

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Ag Innovations Program Director

Ag innovOk so here is another interesting job for you food systems folks to consider- sounds like a great opportunity for an energetic individual!

Ag Innovations Network is a nonprofit organization that facilitates networking and provides consulting on agriculture, the environment, and food systems.  It is currently seeking a Program Director to “lead efforts in developing and implementing creative projects to strengthen food systems in California and beyond. The Program Director will work with a talented team of process artists and facilitators to create and manage powerful, multi-sector collaborations to imagine and create a better food system for people, business, and the environment. Projects will span a range of community, public health, environmental, social justice, and economic development topics on a range of geographic scales from the local to the state level. Examples of current and potential projects include the development, organization, and execution of the following:

  • Regional food system coalitions;
  • Regional food system assessments and action plans;
  • Assessments and feasibility analyses of regional food economy infrastructure and development projects;
  • Projects to increase the supply of affordable housing for agricultural and food system workers;
  • Agricultural land conservation initiatives;
  • Projects to make regulations affecting agriculture more responsive to the needs of producers, the community, the environment, and the agencies charged with administering them;
  • Healthy eating and other food system related public health initiatives;
  • Projects to educate and develop food system leaders; and
  • Projects to stimulate markets and demand for locally grown and produced food.

The Program Director will utilize their entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit to discern and take advantage of opportunities for Ag Innovations Network to apply its unique approach to solution creation. Ag Innovation Network’s core change method is creating and facilitating dynamic coalitions of leaders to uncover solutions as powerful as the challenges we face. The Program Director will work in partnership with Ag Innovations Network process and facilitation team to create and lead these projects and coalitions, assuring that they are responsive to the challenges being faced, fulfilling the expectations of funders, and advancing a sustainable food system. If you are looking for a position that both challenges and inspires at an organization that cares deeply about its people and its work in the world, this position may be right for you.

Position Description

Specific duties of the Program Director include, but are not limited to:

  • Planning, delivering, and evaluating food systems related projects that align with the mission of Ag Innovations Network.
  • Fostering strong and collaborative relationships with a range of leaders to identify critical needs and challenges, and develop the partnerships, approaches, and strategies needed for positive change in the food system.
  • Developing and maintaining a current and in-depth knowledge and understanding of the issues, developments, methods, and players relevant to project topic areas.
  • Collaborating with the Ag Innovations Network facilitation team in the design of innovative and effective social innovation processes and meetings (both virtual and face-to-face) that accomplish the projects’ objectives.
  • Developing informational and educational products related to the projects, including meeting results, final reports and white papers, conference presentations and webinars, etc.
  • Developing outreach, implementation, and communication strategies for effective and impactful dissemination of project findings and results, and collaborating with partners and Ag Innovations Network team members on implementing these.
  • Helping to develop grants and contract funding resources to advance program priorities, and satisfying all reporting requirements of funders.
  • Participating as a member in the Ag Innovations Network learning community and actively contributing to that community about what is working and is needed in the field.
  • Participating as a team member on other Ag Innovations Network projects.


The successful candidate will have practical knowledge of regional food systems, as well as an interest in, and experience with, process-oriented change. The successful candidate will also bring a fun, creative, and joyful approach to his or her work.

Ideal qualifications include as much of the following as possible:

  • Master’s degree or higher in food systems, agriculture sciences, rural development, public policy or a related field.
  • 5+ years of direct work experience in developing and/or collaborating with diverse, multi-sector teams to address social, ecological, and economic challenges of food systems.
  • Demonstrated experience in the understanding of agricultural marketing and distribution systems and trends, food security issues, and/or public health perspectives on the food system, particularly as relating to the state of California.
  • Demonstrated experience with project management and coordination, and the ability to balance multiple projects simultaneously and easily shift between working independently and as part of a team.
  • Demonstrated experience in research, analysis, and the development of educational materials;
  • Demonstrated experience as an active leader or member of grant-writing and/or fundraising team(s).
  • Demonstrated knowledge of, or interest in, effective group collaborative processes and methodologies for social change.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively to diverse audiences using verbal, written, and listening skills.
  • Strong leadership and interpersonal skills, and a commitment to teamwork and working across disciplines and with stakeholders at all levels.
  • Proficiency in computer technology, including word processing, spreadsheets, electronic slide presentations, web page design, social media and email.
  • Ability to travel throughout California and the U.S., and possessing of a valid, current driver’s license.

Compensation and Benefits

Ag Innovations Network strives to offer competitive salaries and benefits and a hospitable and collaborative work environment. This position is a full-time, exempt, salaried position. Compensation is competitive and dependent on experience with an expected salary range of $60,000 to 80,000 per year. While the starting salary is negotiable, new hires should not expect an offer at above the mid-point in the salary range. Paid vacation leave, employer-paid health benefits, and an employer-matching retirement plan are included as benefits.

Ag Innovations Network is an equal opportunity employer. Our policy is to afford equal employment opportunities to qualified individuals without regard to any personal trait or characteristic that is not related to one’s ability to perform one’s job, including but not limited to those that are protected by law (i.e., race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, marital status, family status, veteran status, physical or mental disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic data, and age).

About Ag Innovations Network

Ag Innovations Network brings leaders together to create a better food system for people, business, and the environment. We are trusted facilitators and process designers with deep food system knowledge and an extensive network of practitioners, professionals, and advocates in agriculture and natural resource management. We combine our expertise, knowledge, and network to stimulate creativity and spur collaborative innovation and impact. Ag Innovations Network ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1999.

We lead coalitions working both at the intersection of agriculture and the environment (the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment, and the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply), and on human systems (such as the Regulations Affecting Agriculture project and the California Ag Workforce Housing & Transportation project). We also consult and work in local communities on regional food system issues, train transformative leaders in collaborative change-making, consult as facilitators to a variety of public- and private-sector food-related clients, and act as a fiscal sponsor agency to a number of other related initiatives across the country, including the Sustainable Food Lab and the Academy for Systemic Change.


Ag Innovations Network is located in Sebastopol, California, about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. The work environment is challenging, learning, collaborative, fun, and intentional. This region has a rich agricultural heritage owing to its climate and soils, and its diverse landscapes make for some of the most stunning scenery and best outdoor recreation opportunities in the world. While the region is famous for its world-class wines, it is also an epicenter for the local, organic, sustainable food movement.

Application Process

Apply by submitting a letter explaining how and why you can effectively develop and manage multi-stakeholder initiatives to create a better food system for all (cover letter); a curriculum vita or resume; and the names and contact information for three professional references to This position is open until filled, however, applications received by April 3rd will get first priority screening.”

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Farmers Market Manager – Land Connection is Hiring

tlcHey, if you want to be a market manager and are planning to be in CU this summer apply for this TODAY or Tomorrow (March 20th)

The Farmers’ Market Manager will be responsible for developing and running The Land Connection’s Champaign Farmers’ Market in its first year. The market will be held on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. May through October, although the job can be year round. The manager will also be responsible for writing grants and grant reports, fundraising, and soliciting sponsors. The market manager will develop the marketing and outreach materials and work with the program assistant to promote the market. This position reports directly to the executive director.

Job Responsibilities

  • Implement a new farmers’ market, based in downtown Champaign
  • Manage all funding related to the farmers’ market and similar activities
  • Manage market volunteers and staff
  • Manage registration for all vendors and community groups
  • Maintain a vision for the farmers’ market, which is focused on sustaining community impact and benefitting market vendors
  • Work with TLC staff to integrate educational programs into farmers’ market activities
  • Work with executive director on development of activities as needed
  • Support The Land Connection’s community outreach, volunteer, social media and workshop programs
  • Develop materials for education and training events, conferences, and other outreach venues
  • Provide support for program activities as needed
  • Attend weekly staff meetings
  • Manage all project tasks including project and financial reports, and budget tracking
  • Help identify grants and other funding sources

Job Skills: Requirements

  • Minimum of two years of experience in farmers’ market organizing, marketing, community outreach, food activism, non-profit management or a mix of these experiences
  • Project management experience, including volunteer coordination and budget tracking/reporting
  • Highly proficient in Microsoft Office programs, and strong computer skills in general
  • Strong teamwork and time management skills, and excitement about The Land Connection’s mission
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Job Skills: Preferred

  • Knowledge of farmers’ market and food retail licensing and regulatory compliance
  • Experience with the following programs (or similar):, Salesforce
  • Graphic design skills
  • Active in the local food community



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Hey techies, the National Organic Program is hiring a Lead Analyst for Organic Integrity Database

simplegetfileThe following could be a great job for the right person!  Note: Only the first 50 applications will be accepted under this announcement. If you are qualified for the position, get your application in early!

“The National Organic Program (NOP) is entering a critical development phase in building the organic integrity database, a modernized certified organic operations database that will contain up-to-date and accurate information about organic businesses, increase supply chain transparency, and promote market visibility for organic operations.

To support this and future technology projects, we are recruiting a lead business/systems analyst. The person in this job will serve as the primary business and requirement analyst for NOP’s systems/software development projects. NOP seeks candidates who are knowledgeable about organic certification, and have experience developing information technology systems.

This position is based in Washington DC, and will be filled at the GS-12 or GS-13 level. Relocation expenses may be paid.

Announcement for Candidates Outside the Federal Government: Case Exam

Announcement for Current Federal Employees: Merit Promotion


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Edible Education 101

berkely seiresCheck out UC Berkeley’s online series Edible Education. Monday nights at 6.30 pm PST, 8.30 pm CMT.

If you missed the first lectures in the section “the trouble with the food system” you can stream the recorded lectures too.

Here is the schedule

PART I – “The Trouble with the Food System”

  • January 26th: “A Brief History of the Modern Food System” by Michael Pollan
  • February 2nd: “The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Agriculture” AND “Linking Farm Policy to Health Policy in the Global Economy” Garrison Sposito and Marion Nestle
  • February 9th: “The Hands That Feed You” by Eric Schlosser
  • March 2nd: “The Long Green Revolution” by Raj Patel with Mark Bittman

PART II – “Getting Back to the Right Food System” 

  • March 9th: “Mimicking Nature: Woodleaf Farm’s Ecological Design” by Carl Rosato and Helen Atthowe
  • March 16th: “Of Peaches and Power: Myths, Legends, and the Mundane of Family Farming” by Mas Masumoto and Nikiko Masumoto with Robert Hass
  • March 30th: “Sustainable Farming through Agroecology” by Stephen Gliessman with Mark Bittman

PART III – “Building the Food Movement”

  • April 6th: “Fixing a Broken Food System: Some Ideas” by Claire Kremen
  • April 13th: “Teaching Slow Food Values in a Fast Food World: Who Will Grow Tomorrow’s Food and Who Will Be Eating It?” by Alice Waters and Craig McNamara with Robert Hass
  • April 20th: “With Liberty, Justice, and Sovereignty for All” by Anim Steel and Sara Mersha with Mark Bittman
  • April 27th: “What’s Next for the Food Movement?” by Michael Pollan with Mark Bittman
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Students Apply for the 2015-16 U of I Student Sustainability Committee

sscHey, are you a U of I student?  If so, do you want to participate in one of the most important committees on campus?  Then the Student Sustainability Committee might be for you.  It a student-led organization charged with the distribution of two student fees – the Sustainable Campus Environment Fee and the Cleaner Energy Technologies Fee. The SSC reviews, recommends, and funds projects that increase environmental stewardship, inspire change, and impact students on campus. They need students with different backgrounds and ideas.  Check out the application for SSC membership.  If you are currently a member and would like to be one again next academic year, you still need to apply. Applications will not be accepted after February 26. Interviews will take place on March 13th and 14th. Appointments will be made on April 1st.



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Events: Friday Forum Panel

Every semester, the University YMCA hosts a series of free talks on a particular issue relevant to the community. For Spring 2015, that issue is Food Justice. This week’s Friday Forum will be a panel on Expanding the Local Food Movement, with guests Brad Uken, from the Champaign County Farm Bureau, Rick Weinzierl, a professor at UIUC, Natalie Kenny Marquez, coordinator for Urbana’s Market at the Square, and Dawn Blackman, of the Randolph Street Community Garden. As always, the talk will be held on Friday in the YMCA’s Latzer Hall at 12pm. If you are a YMCA student member, you may purchase a discounted lunch.

A full schedule of Friday forum talks can be seen below. You can read more about the Friday Forum here.

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