Short on water for your grass? Just add paint, says Bill Schaffer, owner of Brown Lawn Green in Dixon. The idea for his business started as a joke. With California in the midst of a historic drought, Schaffer commented to his girlfriend that people would have to start painting their lawns if they wanted them to be green again. When the state introduced strict new rules concerning water use, he realized he might be onto something.
Senate pro Tem Kevin de León is California’s first Latino Senate leader in more than 130 years. He has championed an aggressive agenda centered on transitioning the state away from fossil fuels and toward a low-carbon, high renewable energy economy. We sat down with him recently to discuss that transition.
Every spring and summer, Chinook salmon gather in vast schools along the central coast of California, fattening up on krill and small fish before their autumn spawning migration into the Central Valley. Fishermen in commercial boats, private skiffs and kayaks take to the water, and most summers, the fleet catches several hundred thousand Chinook weighing somewhere between five and 30 pounds. California’s bounty of salmon, however, does not reflect a thriving fish population.
In 2009, fewer fall-run Chinook salmon returned to spawn in the Central Valley than have ever been recorded before. Just 50,000 adult fish spawned that autumn in the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin river system — a tenth of how many Chinook migrate inland in a good year. The event was an ecological and economic disaster that prompted officials to shut down California’s ocean fishing season for two years.
Here’s the beat on six unique events that will get you out of traditional city spaces for a combination of farm and urban culinary experiences, beginning in Farm-to-Fork Month and extending into the fall harvest season.
After a slow start piecing his way through El Salvador’s business regulations in 2008, Robert Lent began distributing Stable Mix throughout that country in 2012. Now the milling company — which employs 50 workers, makes $12 million in gross sales a year and, as Lent likes to say, feeds 17,000 horses a day — is poised to expand its distribution network in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.
Where Crabbé left off in the development of departmental training and service protocols, Johnson will be connecting the dots in the larger picture for the company.
The next big splash in local food is coming from the ocean. Anna Larsen’s subscription fish box company, Siren Fish Co. keeps an eye on sustainability.
Much of the 8 million tons of woody debris that facilities burn each year is material that would probably burn in open fields if there wasn’t an energy-producing alternative. Since the smokestacks on a biomass plant include filtering apparatuses that can remove some pollutants from the emissions, the industry — which has helped to phase out open burning of agricultural waste — has been credited as an overall boon to California’s air quality.
Sacramento is driving the farm-to-fork movement nationwide. These efforts are led by small, local owners with community-minded restaurants. Our ability to grow this movement could be put at risk if the minimum wage is not approached in a thoughtful way.
As California looks for ways to reduce its carbon footprint and help curb climate change, environmental activists are questioning the integrity of the biomass industry, which burns millions of tons of woody plant matter each year to help power the state’s electric grid.
State and local governments aren’t known for being cutting edge or tech savvy. But as the open data movement gains momentum, the private sector is becoming more empowered to usher valuable, though often archaic, institutions into the 21st century.
Last February we reported on advancements in agricultural technology in the Capital Region and the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance’s effort to better connect growers and investors to agtech in the Central Valley (“The New World of Ag,” by Allison Joy). On May 21, SARTA showcased four entrepreneurs at its first AgStart Field Day.
Tribal sovereignty is an age-old Native American value that today is becoming synonymous with energy independence. With help from JLM Energy in Rocklin, the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria tribe is on the leading edge of the movement in California.
For Sean McDonald, improving the food production system is the future of his business — and the entire agriculture industry. His work toward those improvements starts with … (drumroll please) … crickets.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased the land in 1991 and incorporated it into the San Pablo Bay Wildlife Refuge. The levy was breached in January of this year.
Early this year, saltwater came gushing through a levee that had kept a vast pasture at the north edge of San Pablo Bay dry for more than a century. The breach was no accident.
The phrase “wine country” harkens to Napa, Sonoma, Calistoga. But Solano? Not so much. In fact, the Suisun Valley appellation was formed in 1982, less than a year after Napa’s. The local environment boasts much of the same benefits, too.
Sacramento is a thirsty region. From agriculture to restaurants kitchens, our food system slurps down a big chunk of our existing water supply. The looming question is how each of us can partner with these industries to conserve.
The implementation of California’s Proposition 2, which expanded space requirements for hens that produce eggs sold in California, has had ripple effects impacting producers, distributors and consumers throughout the nation. But as animal rights activists and demanding consumers realize the law hasn’t reflected their ideals, and as the price gap between commercial and specialty eggs narrows, will the elite pasture-raised egg enjoy a rise in popularity?