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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 26 · Number 1 · Fall 2008


Unfortunate Arrangement

I often read your magazine back to front, starting with the alumni section. I particularly enjoy the highlighted alumni. The summer 2008 issue was no exception. I suggest however, that your editorial and layout department pay a bit more attention to placement in the future. I was initially confused when reading about Dr. H. Range Hutson on page 38. I eventually came to the conclusion this fine gentleman is very much alive and well, despite his placement on a page of otherwise all obituaries. I was initially confused and then felt it was simply tacky. Thanks for a bit more sensitivity next time.

Julie Strassburger '81

Still Planting the Seeds of Change

photo: UC Davis Magazine cover, summer 2008 issue

I would like to thank everyone for all of the support over the years that has been part of change in our college town and the sustainable movement across the nation [summer í08, ìPlanting the Seeds of Changeî]. It is the support of our communities that makes this movement a successful reality.

Living at Agrarian Effort on the UC Davis campus in 1973ñ1975 was one of the most important parts of my education during school. Learning how to live in a coed house, hosting workshops about food processing to preserve our importance as a viable living alternative gave me an experiential education that taught me skills I continue to use as I look for alternatives in todayís agriculture. Planting the seeds of change is still necessary today. Our farmís current project is family farm preservation; placing our farm into an agricultural easement creating a model for sustainable farms in perpetuity. If you would like to help, or like to know more about it, please contact me or visit our Web site.

Letís continue to work together.

Annie Main
Good Humus Produce
Capay California

Sustainability Groundbreakers

Nice article, but I would mention two other milestones....on the path to sustainability [summer í08 issue, ìPlanting the Seeds of Changeî and ìGreen All Overî].

In 1991 Steve Mitchell and I wrote the ìGuide to Sustainable Agriculture for California: A Guide to Informationî with a SAREP grant and some library funding. This was a groundbreaking work and represented many intensive months of library research, discussions with practitioners and an enormous interlibrary loan effort as we tried to find the key resources from before chemical intensive ag began. It was a fascinating project and would not have been possible without my interdisciplinary training at UC Davis (M.S. in ecology, í73).

The EcoGrad Group at Davis played a critical role in the Davis development process in the í70s and led the way toward sustainability. This was an eclectic and interesting group from UC Davis. Jon Hammond and Marshall Hunt with professors Dick Cramer and Tod Neubauer prepared a report on energy in Davis that remains one of the best in the country: ìA Strategy for Energy Conservation.î I joined soon after the first report and wrote the sections on energy-efficient planning that helped make Village Homes possible. This involved many heated discussions with city engineering staff about road width, above-ground drainage and much more.

This group also got the bike underpass in downtown Davis instead of a four-lane off/ramp highway that would have destroyed downtown and made the approach to UC Davis much less appealing.

My goal had been to do a doctoral dissertation on ecological citiesóbut I was about 30 years too soon. The academic ecologists didnít want anything to do with cities, and the planners/policymakers didnít think ecology belonged in a discussion of design and planning.

Good to see that UC Davis has the sustainability bugógreat potential to do it well!

David A. Bainbridge
Associate Professor, Sustainable Management
Marshall Goldsmith School of Management
Business & Management Division
Alliant International University
San Diego

Early Sustainability and Tavernetti Connections

Re: your article on sustainability being born at Davis in the 1960s (summer 2008). At least one aspect of this movement was promoted much earlier. In the 1940s the agricultural engineering department issued a ìUniversity Bulletinî on improving the energy efficiency of a home. I believe it was authored by Professor Brooks and included some now-familiar advice, such as having a long overhang on the south side of the building to shield it from the summer sun but expose it to the sunís heat in the winter when the sun is lower. Also, plant deciduous trees on that same side, so that the leaves shade the house in summer, but the bare branches allow the sunís rays to pass in the winter. The ag engineering department developed an expertise in micro-climatology in connection with its work in frost protection and applied this knowledge to other areas.

Re: your article on Thomas Tavernetti, who served UC Davis for many years in various leadership capacities. My father knew him when he (my father) was enrolled in classes at the University Farm, class of 1918. Then I shared an office in the ag engineering department with his younger brother Jim for three years. Another brother, whom I also met, was a county farm advisor in Monterey County. Incidentally, John Steinbeck, in one of his novels (East of Eden, I think), which is set in the Salinas Valley, refers to the Tavernetti brothers in one place.

Philip R. Bunnelle, M.S. í50
Agricultural Engineering Department staff, 1950ñ53
Santa Clara


Living the Sustainable Life

Kudos to Davis for being a leader in sustainability [summer í08, ìSeeds of Changeî and ìGreen All Overî]. I lived in Agrarian Effort in í92ñí93 and attended the sustainable agriculture program in í95 and always shopped at the Food Co-op once I discovered it. Those three things changed the way I think and eat and made me a much better resident of the planet. Thank you to all who opened my eyes or I might still be living the TV dinner life I learned as a child.

Alexandra Howard
Maynard, Mass.

Agricultural Assault?

When, oh when, did the Cal Aggie Alumni Association become anti-agriculture? We're Aggies, for heaven's sake. UC Davis is one of the premier agricultural universities in the country. Yet you choose to celebrate the Humane Society of the United States on the back cover of UC Davis Magazine.

Do you not know about Proposition 2, their newest assault on agriculture? Do you not understand its scope?

Under the guise of ending "animal cruelty," it seeks to condemn modern animal agricultural housing practices. I would be willing to bet that every one of these housing options, whether they be calf hutches or chicken housing or gestation crates for sows, was the result of years of research done by UC Davis. Check it out, do some research. Do you truly believe that those people involved in animal agriculture are invested in animal cruelty? An unhappy animal is an unproductive animal: There is no profit in that.

We in the Central Valley are used to constant attack from outside forces, trying to shut us down. What happened to the dream/goal of being able to feed the world? Our valley, using methods developed at UC Davis, has been trying to do just that. We are able to supply abundant food, at affordable prices, that is safe for human consumption. UC Davis has been instrumental in equipping us to do this. What has changed? Do you at UC Davis Magazine realize you are endorsing those who would bring this to an end?

Et tu, Brute? Surely this is the unkindest cut of all.

Suzanne (Johnson) Kistler '80

Editor's note: UC Davis faculty, staff, students and alumni hold a variety of views on many issues, including animal agriculture, but over the years, UC Davis Magazine -- by featuring many prominent alumni and friends, leaders in agriculture and other fields and organizations -- has reflected a wide variety of viewpoints. We remain committed to a robust exchange of ideas among members of the UC Davis family and appreciate hearing and sharing yours as well.



Our class note about Sue Edmiston í76, chief of the Worker Health and Safety Branch, California Department of Pesticide Regulation with the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), misstated impact of her program. Her pesticide worker health and safety program has been used as a model by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other programs around the world.