Joji Muramoto, a longtime research associate with University of California Santa Cruz, has been hired as the first University of California Cooperative Extension Specialist dedicated to organic agriculture. Muramoto will coordinate a statewide program focusing research on organic fruit and vegetable production. He will provide educational resources to producers on topics such as organic pest management and soil fertility.
Cooperative Extension serves as a vital link between the University of California and the agricultural sector. Extension Specialists conduct research that addresses on-farm challenges faced by producers. They also serve as a liaison between California’s organic producers and university researchers, translating research findings into practical guidance for growers.
Muramoto has the experience and knowledge necessary for success in this role. He is an organic research pioneer well-known for contributions to organic strawberry and vegetable production. He, in collaboration with UC Santa Cruz Professor Carol Shennan, was a prime mover in developing anaerobic soil disinfestation, a biological alternative to soil fumigation, that has proved successful for both organic and conventional strawberry producers.
Muramoto’s new position is jointly affiliated with Cooperative Extension and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) at UC Santa Cruz. CCOF, Inc. is among the organizations that provided funds to support the position, which has been long awaited by the organic sector and UC Santa Cruz. Muramoto will be the first Cooperative Extension Specialist based at the university, which has played a key role in organic research and education. UC Santa Cruz’s programs include the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture, CASFS, and research projects targeting the needs of organic producers.
Joji Muramoto taking samples of organic strawberries. (Photo source)