PLANTS + PEOPLE Lunchtime Talks: Biocultural Diversity in the Central Valley

Lecture | October 25 | 12-1 p.m. |  UC Botanical Garden

 Botanical Garden

As a part of our "Year of Ethnobotany" celebrations, the Garden will be hosting monthly lunch time lectures featuring the research of UC Berkeley graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and faculty.

While many people may think of California’s Central Valley as mostly monocultures of almonds and tomatoes, the landscape is also dotted with small-scale diversified farms. On these farms, you can find 50-100 different types of crops –– from jujube to jicama, from papaya to moringa, from water spinach to taro, and many more. These polyculture farms are managed by immigrant and refugee farmers (mainly, Hmong and Mexican), who left their home country, where they also used to farm. These polyculture farms are biodiverse hotspots in the middle of the industrial, monoculture landscape of the Central Valley.
In my research, I explore how this high agrobiodiversity is related to pollinator communities and soil microbial communities. Specifically, I aim understand how on-farm diversification influences native bee communities and soil microbial communities. In general, my goal is to understand how we can reconcile agriculture and biodiversity conservation in the face of global change through working with small-scale diversified farmers. In this talk, I will present results from the past three years of field work along with stories from the field.

Aidee Guzman is PhD candidate in Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley. She is first-generation college student, who was born and raised in a small, rural town in the Central Valley. Her parents were migrant farm workers, who left Mexico where they farmed. Therefore, having deep family roots in agriculture, she is compelled to understand the socio-ecological linkages of diversifying farming systems. She is especially passionate about working with small-scale farmers of color. Her research builds on the knowledge draws from ecology, soil microbiology, pollination biology, and sociology of agriculture.

 Free with Garden Admission; Free for UC Berkeley Students, Staff and Faculty

  Register online, 510-664-7606