Glenda Humiston, the vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, has three tips for how California can recover from the new recession induced by the pandemic shutdown. Humiston spoke in a panel discussion Tuesday for “Regions Recover Together,” an event hosted by the organizers of the annual California Economic Summit, which Humiston has long been involved with.

  1. Leverage the knowledge we have. Humiston said the state has “some of the brightest, most innovative people anywhere on the planet.” But their “wonderful solutions” rarely get beyond the community or regional level. As a success story, she cited Valley Vision’s work to enhance regional food systems over the last decade.
  2. Quit reinventing the wheel. Humiston believes “many millions of dollars” are wasted by duplicating existing efforts because every community wants to start from scratch.
  3. Invest our money in California. Although California is the richest state in the nation, most of its wealth has been “sucked out of our state for people on Wall Street to play with,” she said. “That's ridiculous.”

At the May meeting of the State Food and Agriculture Board, Humiston pointed out that rural communities never fully recovered from the Great Recession.

She also emphasized that California needs to step up on rural broadband access, especially for “harnessing the potential power of ag technology.” One idea ANR was looking into while so many kids were home schooling was to add towers at extension offices, county offices, fairgrounds and libraries to connect everyone within nine miles to high-speed internet.