Once upon a time, Sacramento lived and died by its rivers. As the last outpost of good society on the way to the Gold Rush foothills, Sacramento was nestled conveniently at the confluence of both the American and Sacramento rivers.
Russ Lester’s property looks, at first glance, like that of many of his neighbors. He grows about 900 acres of walnut trees a few miles east of Winters. But at Dixon Ridge Farms, Lester never tills his land, and he keeps cover crops growing most of the time. He also laces the earth around his trees with biochar, charcoal-like leftovers from biomass energy production.
Ron Finley deemed himself the “Gangsta Gardener” with pride.He recently paid a visit to Sacramento’s urban gardening community for a screening of his documentary film, “Can You Dig This” at the Guild Theater, an event hosted by the Yisrael Family Farms. He took a moment to chat with Comstock’s about how gardens can improve communities.
A series of technical, financial and regulatory innovations have spurred the Golden State’s solar revolution thus far, but it’s still in its infancy. If California truly wants to unlock solar’s potential for the economy and environment, electricity providers and regulators will have to work together to create a cleaner, more resilient grid.
Mandarins dominate commercial citrus production in the foothills, where oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and kumquats also flourish. Last month, citrus growers in Placer County and surrounding regions were given a dire warning to safeguard their industry: Do not move outside citrus into this county — no matter where it is from.
Ever since a monster El Nino was detected in the Pacific last year, Californians have been anxiously waiting for it to dump torrents of rain on the drought-scarred land. Now, after weeks of frustration, it appears that those expectations will be met.
Call it the tale of two turfs. In summer 2014, 27-year-old Benjamin Triffo wanted to do something about his dry, unattractive yard. He owns a four-bedroom, four-bath duplex in Elk Grove that he’d bought in 2011, and his sprinkler lines were broken. But with the state passing rules last July that would allow fines for overwatering, Triffo quickly figured out that replacing his system and re-sodding would be like attaching a drain line to his checkbook.
In 2014-15, hotel occupancy, tourism spending and travel-generated jobs all reached five-year highs. But in such a mercurial industry — underscored in recent years by drought and wildfires — regional leaders and business owners have had to get creative to keep dollars coming in.
California is having a pretty normal winter, give or take a degree here and a bit of snow there. Since the entire state is abnormally dry or in drought, it’s been a while since that happened. The trouble is, normal might not last.
On the Yolo Bypass, just northwest of Sacramento, scientists and state and federal agencies are collaborating on a plan they hope could save California’s wild salmon.
As Governor Jerry Brown is in Paris urging other political leaders to follow his lead in curbing global warming, the chief executive of California’s largest oil company said the state’s policies “unambiguously raise energy costs and do nothing about greenhouse-gas emissions.”
South Sacramento urban farmer, Chanowk Yisrael, wants to see local food systems improve. Eight years ago, he started growing organic food for his family and eventually launched the Yisrael Family Urban Farm in Sacramento’s historic Oak Park neighborhood. Now, he’s expanding that vision to motivate Sacramento youth to become more engaged in changing our local food system — announcing today that he’ll be partnering with Slow Food Sacramento to charter the city’s first Food Academy.
California’s cities are adapting to the state’s worst-in-a-century drought, hitting aggressive targets for water reduction set by Governor Jerry Brown in April. The bigger challenge is to change the behavior of farmers, who consume 80 percent of the state’s water and have so far been spared the same magnitude of restrictions.
There is growing momentum to build a strong, sustainable biomass energy infrastructure in California — great news for our environment and our forests. But in the meantime, many facilities are struggling to survive, and changes are needed to guarantee a stable future for this important green energy industry.
Tom Frantz has the sierra mountains to thank for his livelihood, since the snowmelt that runs off the peaks eventually sinks into the ground and, over time, descends into the natural underground reservoirs of the Central Valley. In drier years, Frantz gets most of his water from wells that tap into this aquifer. But the water, Frantz says, is being poisoned.
The wildfires that raged across Northern California last month will cost insurers more than $1.1 billion, according to catastrophe modeler Impact Forecasting.
California just passed a bill to sharply limit the use of antibiotics in farm animals, making it the first state to ban the routine use of the drugs in animal agriculture.
California’s $184-billion pension fund for school teachers chided Volkswagen AG for rigging some diesel engines to cheat on U.S. emission tests and said it is evaluating its exposure to losses from the scandal.
Every week, 330 American farmers leave their land for good. And as an aging population of baby-boomer farmers retire, their jobs aren’t being filled quickly enough. Only six percent of all farmers are under the age of 35. But as the national food movement strengthens, will we see a return to farming? What about the children of these aging farmers — will they love their farm land or leave it?