Chris Hay, owner and farmer, Say Hay Farms

Land of the Fee

Can micro loans dig farmers out of their financial holes?

Today’s small farmer climbs an uphill battle to find land, secure capital and overcome the hefty start-up costs. Today, farmers make up less than 1 percent of the population (compared to 15 percent in 1950), they tend to be older (the average age is 57) and about 25 percent are expected to retire in the next 20 years. “This is a new problem for human society,” writes Sharon Astyk, author of “A Nation of Farmers.”

Nov 1, 2013 Jeff Wilser
(istockphoto.com)

Eat it Up

Why you should salivate over Sacramento’s farm-to-fork mantra

In October of last year, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson declared Sacramento the “Farm-to-Fork Capital of America,” presenting the city with a long-term opportunity to build a distinct brand identity that could help the region attract and retain citizens, conventions, tourists and entrepreneurs. It’s especially valuable because a strong regional identity gives energy to the economic engines that make cities successful. Anyone needing proof can look directly to Austin, Texas.

Sep 1, 2013 Mike Testa
Customers browse the offerings at Davis’s farmers market on Saturday afternoon.

Root Cause

The campaign behind Sacramento’s foodie identity

It was the last farmer’s market of the season, and the photo-op recalled The Last Supper. Standing in Cesar Chavez Plaza, Mayor Kevin Johnson spread his arms behind two tables piled high with fresh fruits and vegetables. And with scores of white-aproned restaurateurs to his right and left, he unveiled a logo promoting Sacramento as an agronomical Eden.

Jun 1, 2013 Allen Young
(istockphoto.com)

Tough Nut to Crack

Almonds bust then boom in China

Richard Waycott says there are no silver bullets in the remarkable double-digit growth of California almond exports to China but rather a carefully honed strategy built on introducing almonds to a “pre-existing snacking culture.”

Apr 1, 2013 Sigrid Bathen
Gary Morton, owner, Classics Gone Green

Classics Gone Green

A new take on an old favorite

Gary Morton has a dream and a car. If his dream comes true, like those of Henry Ford and Karl Benz before him, Morton will turn his prototype into a car company.

But Morton is not looking to build a big assembly plant or an extensive dealer network. His production will be limited to just one model that will offer baby boomers the nostalgia of the muscle cars they drove in their youth alongside their modern commitment to a pollution-free environment.

Apr 1, 2013 Bill Sessa
Christopher Abela, a civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, ascends a climbing rope during an inspection at New Hogan Dam near Valley Springs.

(photo: Courtesy U.S. army corps of engineers)

Engineering Solutions

Flood risk reduction in the real world

Although the United States Army Corps of Engineers is the largest public engineering, design and construction management agency in the world, most Americans identify it with flood protection. This is particularly true in the Sacramento Region, where the Corps is heavily involved in virtually every major flood control system.

Feb 13, 2013 Rich Ehisen
(istockphoto.com)

Energy-Efficient Opportunities

Making lemonade out of greenhouse gas mandates

Late last year, California held the nation’s inaugural cap-and-trade auction, where greenhouse gas emission permits were sold in an effort to monetize and reduce carbon pollution. And just last month, new cap-and-trade regulations on large power and industrial plants officially went into effect.

Feb 13, 2013 John Arensmeyer

Levee Over Troubled Waters

Paying for repairs just got harder

It’s a calm, clear day on West Sacramento’s South River Road, a meandering two-lane route that runs atop a levee buffering houses and farmland from the placid Sacramento River. It’s hard to envision the chaos that would ensue if the great dirt barrier were to burst, pouring millions of gallons of water into adjacent homes and businesses, but that nightmare scenario just got harder to prevent.

Feb 12, 2013 Rich Ehisen

Slim Pickings

A shortage of farm labor impacts food harvests

Coasting through the sweeping fields of California’s Central Valley, it’s not unusual to spot collections of crouching figures diligently tending crops. These primarily Hispanic immigrants prune, thin, harvest and grow much of California’s renowned produce. But over the past decade or so, hundreds of thousands of these indispensable farm workers have vanished.

Nov 1, 2012 Andrea Kennedy
Workers process e-waste at Sims Recycling Solutions in Roseville

Tech Trash

How to dispose your out-of-date computers and e-waste

If your IT room is starting to look like a scene out of “Sanford and Son,” you’re not alone. In 2010, American consumers and businesses unloaded 40 million computers onto recyclers, landfills and the refurbished market, the Golisano Institute for Sustainability in Rochester, N.Y., reports. Some estimates show, however, that millions more are idling in homes and offices because owners simply don’t know what to do with them.

Nov 1, 2012 Stephanie Flores