San Mateo and San Francisco Counties
Quarterly News & Events June 2020
Health Alert:

  • The University of California is vigilantly monitoring and responding to new information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which has been declared a global health emergency.
  • Consult the CDC, the CDPH, or your County Health Department (San Mateo and San Francisco) for recommendations for your community. Cancellations vary by program and size of event. Please visit the specific program webpages for more information.
  • UC ANR provides practical, credible information, plus things to do and resources regarding Coronavirus and COVID-19.
 A Letter from our County Director, Frank McPherson
As we transition from the health aspect to the economic impacts of COVID-19, our most vulnerable and underserved populations are and will continue to be disproportionately impacted. Poverty among predominantly communities of color continue to impact educational opportunities. Food security is and will continue to be a concern, as those most impacted do not have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy lifestyle. In addition, the senseless death of George Floyd has once again highlighted institutionalized racial injustices in America.
As UC President, Janet Napolitano stated, and echoed once more by our Vice President, Glenda Humiston, "As leaders of the largest public research university in the United States, we feel silence is complicity." I want to encourage all of you to recognize and understand your own privileges, examine your biases, validate experiences and feelings of people of color and challenge colorblind ideologies. Read more...
Program Happenings
Master Gardener Helpline operations continue during Shelter-in-Place!
The Bay Area “Shelter-In-Place” (SIP) has created a new sense of normal keeping many of us at home 24/7. As a result, gardening and growing food has become more popular than ever! Our Master Gardener Helpline has seen an exponential increase in questions during this period from both new and established gardeners. Fortunately, our Helpline transitioned to a web-based platform several years ago and has continued without interruption, working remotely during the SIP! It has been inspiring and fun to see so many new gardeners looking for advice and asking questions such as:
· How do I start a vegetable garden when I know nothing about gardening?
· What do I put in these raised beds?
· Can you help identify my houseplant(s) and how do I take care of it?
· Now that I have been sheltering-in-place and have ‘discovered’ my passion for gardening, I would like to become a Master Gardener! When is your next class? Read more...
Safe food storage and preservation practices
If you find yourself buying in bulk in order to reduce the number of times you need to go to the store, here are some food safety tips to keep in mind:  Bulk Food Buying During Coronavirus

The  USDA's FoodKeeper App   is a great resource whether or not we're in the middle of a pandemic for planning how to store food safely. It's especially worth checking out if you've heard people recommending that you quarantine your groceries before consuming them.
Home from school? Learn science through food!
Our colleagues at 4-H have developed an entire food science curriculum for grades 6-12, covering baking, protein chemistry, fruits and vegetables, and food science careers. There are curriculum materials available for online purchase  at their website , as well as informative videos, podcasts, glossaries, and links for free.
Be a scientist at home: grow some wild sourdough to be part of a global research project! 
The Dunn lab at NC State wants YOUR help with an enormous study they're conducting to understand how geography and flour type affect sourdough. Start a wild sourdough starter from scratch at home, make observations on its rising behavior, its sensory properties, and how it bakes, and send in your data to the Dunn Lab. Find details on how to participate and even a teacher's guide to help you incorporate this activity into a science curriculum--at their website. Read more...
UC CalFresh distributes plants to elementary school
Adapting educational strategies to the San Mateo County Shelter-in-Place order,  CalFresh Healthy Living  and the  Healthy Living Ambassador Program  partnered with  Contra Costa County Master Gardeners Santa Clara County 4-H  and  Elkus Ranch  to provide students at Pescadero Elementary School with plants and face masks. Included in the delivery were 235 cucumbers, tomato, gray squash, yellow zucchini, lettuce, kale and bean seedlings as well as 50 homemade facemasks during the school’s regular Tuesday distribution of educational packets and school meals. Students were excited to receive the plants, compost, and instructional materials, which went to 65 families in total.   Read more...
4-H Ambassadors share face mask tutorials
Our San Mateo County 4-H Ambassador Team (Kaitlyn, Kruthi and Samantha) is looking for ways to help our community control the spread of COVID-19 by sharing simple mask-making tutorials on Instagram @smsf4hambassadors . Our 4-H volunteers like Angela (San Bruno/SSF 4-H Club) have been busy sewing masks. Their goal is to make and collect masks to giveaway to people in their neighborhood via Nextdoor posts, the local nursing home, San Francisco Public Health Department, and Pescadero families. If you have masks to donate, please contact our 4-H office at .
San Mateo County 4-H Day of Community Service
Just before the COVID-19 Shelter-In-Place order was implemented, our community clubs and county ambassadors participated in our first annual 4-H Day of Community Service on March 7, 2020. We had a great turn out and were able to support many community organizations.
San Mateo 4-H County Ambassadors Selected
Congratulations to our four new 2020-2021 ambassadors, Andrew, Anjali, Anna and Isabelle , and two returning ambassadors, Kruthi and Samantha! The County Ambassador Program is sponsored by the San Mateo County 4-H Council and offers leadership development opportunities for our senior 4-H members (ages 14-19). The ambassadors are liaisons between the county 4-H office, 4-H members, 4-H volunteers, and the public. We are excited that the ambassador team this year will be planning healthy living service learning activities.

NEW! Private Family Tours
Tired of quarantining at home? Get out of the house and get some fresh air: We are opening up the ranch to families for private tours!  Tours will be guided by one of our knowledgeable educators, bringing you through our gardens, historic barns, and animal pens. Private family tours are available Monday through Saturday for 1.5 hours.
Baby Goats for Sale
Our kids are ready to find new homes! We have several very friendly kid goats available, having been handled regularly by staff, and they make great family pets! They are 100% Boer or a Boer cross, by our purebred Boer buck, Huckleberry Finn. The goats range in age from 1.5 to 4 months, are current on all their shots, and ready to find their new homes now!

Contact Leslie at for more information.

We reached our $5000 goal for Coastside Gives!
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated to Elkus Ranch for Coastside Gives!  We are so grateful for the support and generosity shown to us by our community! Your donations help us to provide care for our livestock and gardens during Shelter-in-Place and will support our educational programs - once they resume!

Other News / Events / Opportunities
HIGHLIGHTS: According to a policy brief released by UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science , by Dec. 31, 2020:
·   11 million kids who would have been served by 1,000 organizations will have missed environmental and outdoor science learning opportunities. 60% of them are from communities of color or low income communities.
·   $600M in lost revenue from 1,000 organizations
·   30,000 employees laid off or furloughed from 1,000 organizations
·   37% of organizations in CA and 30% nationally are highly unlikely to reopen
·   Over 1/3 of the outdoor education field (up to 65%) is likely to disappear, eroding a key component of the nation’s education infrastructure
·   Several recommendations for the field are offered
Upcoming Events & Registration

Conference Center for Rent!

Need a reason to get out in nature? Book the Elkus Ranch Conference Center for your work or family event*! Located in the beautiful rolling hills and pastures of rural Half Moon Bay, it’s perfect for offsites , retreats , meetings , and more! Call Leslie Jensen to book: (650) 712-3151

*Current UC ANR COVID-19 guidelines restrict group gatherings to no more than 10 people.
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We are a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization - #94-6036494
We hope that you and your family stay well during these challenging times.
Thank you for being a member of the UC Cooperative Extension community!
UC Cooperative Extension Offices
San Mateo / San Francisco Counties
Located at Elkus Ranch
1500 Purisima Creek Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Nutrition Office:
300 Piedmont Ave.,
Building B, Rm 227
San Bruno, CA 94066
Master Gardener Helpline:
650-276-9030 /

Mondays - 9am to 4pm
Elkus Ranch Conference Center
1500 Purisima Creek Road, HMB
Wednesdays - 10:30am to 2pm
San Francisco Botanical Garden Library
1199 9th Ave., San Francisco
Thursdays - 9am to 4pm
Veteran's Memorial Senior Center
1455 Madison Ave., Redwood City
It is the policy of the University of California (UC) and the UC Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person in any of its programs or activities (Complete nondiscrimination policy statement can be found at )
Inquiries regarding ANR’s nondiscrimination policies may be directed to UCANR, Affirmative Action Compliance & Title IX Officer, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2801 Second Street, Davis, CA 95618,(530) 750-1397.