CSU, Chico

Nick Bellizzi, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management

Nick Bellizzi, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management

Nick Bellizzi has worked for an Italian restaurant in Alameda, a farm in Colorado, a landscaping business in Oakland, and attended Merritt College in the Bay Area. Together, these experiences have brought him to the California State University, Chico College of Agriculture where the senior is thriving in the crops, horticulture, and land resource management program.  

His interest in agriculture began at Cera Una Volta, an Italian restaurant in Alameda, where his education in the restaurant business included sampling and purchasing ingredients from a number of specialty farms and shops. Bellizzi looked into both the restaurant industry as well as the agriculture industry, but the guidance from the owner, Rudy, helped him determine that agriculture was better suited for Bellizzi .

From there, Bellizzi took an opportunity to work on a farm in Paonia, Colorado, where he moved to determine whether agriculture was enough of an interest to study it in school. Upon returning home to the Bay Area, he enrolled at Merritt College, taking courses in crop science and horticulture to learn about subjects such as bee keeping and permaculture.

After becoming more and more invested in agriculture, Bellizzi decided to focus on crop science through his experience working with Four Dimensions Landscape Development, a company that focused on the use of drought-tolerant landscaping in Oakland.

“I decided to stick with agriculture because it is something I can do that will never go away,” Bellizzi said. “It’s something I can feel meaningful about.”

In the fall of 2014, Bellizzi transferred to CSU, Chico to pursue a degree in agriculture with an option in crop science, horticulture, and land resource management. Now, Bellizzi is an active member of the College of Agriculture. After joining the Crops and Horticulture Club last fall, Bellizzi was elected in the spring as club president. He says the best part about being on the officer team is serving with his friends, who are also officers and members of the club.

Different courses that have influenced or shaped his career direction have been Food Forever, Agriculture Ecology, Agriculture Mechanics, Soil Science, and Agricultural Business.

“Professors in the College of Agriculture show what the industry is about as a whole,” Bellizzi said. “They are able to not only teach us out of a book, but also through experience and understanding.”

Having found his calling in agriculture, Bellizzi continues to develop his work experience and expand his horizons. In the summer of 2015, he completed an internship with the Rice Experiment Station in Biggs. Bellizzi’s job was to test the effectiveness of different herbicides on rice weeds, and he worked as the agriculture technician. He prepared sprays, tested sprays, recorded results, prepared the field for field days, and helped with irrigation.

In his free time Bellizzi enjoys cooking and fishing, and recently joined the club rowing and club tennis teams at CSU, Chico.

Bellizzi looks forward to graduating and working towards his Pest Control Adviser’s License. He says, in the short term, he isn’t set on any career or job but will work towards his PCA to eventually work in crop advising, sales, or management. In five years, Bellizzi sees himself continuing to work and learn, expanding his trade in agriculture. Even further in the future, Bellizzi hopes to explore the retail side of agriculture.

 “I’d love to one day, far down the road, own a grocery store,” he said.