(Shutterstock)

Big Bad Biomass

Just because it’s renewable doesn’t make it clean

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.   

Jul 16, 2015 Alastair Bland

Photos: Cullinan Ranch Restoration

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. 

Jun 15, 2015

The New Hip Chick

With the spotlight on commercial egg farming, will the pasture-raised bird steal the show?

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?

May 12, 2015 Allison Joy
Design by Lily Therens; elements from Shutterstock

Groves & Fishes

There is water war brewing between farmers and fisherman

Facing epic drought conditions, Gov. Jerry Brown called this month for mandatory cutbacks on urban water use statewide. But the ag industry, which uses 80 percent of the state’s water, is exempted. This decision has struck a cord with environmentalists and fishermen who fear the drought will compromise aquatic species — and their livelihoods.

Apr 20, 2015 Alastair Bland

Old Roots, New Branches

Bariani Olive Oil — the elixir of the gods

Sebastian Bariani is in heaven, standing in his family’s olive grove in the Dunnigan Hills. The winter day is mild, a blue sky caps the rolling green terrain. He reaches down and gently bends the branch of a Manzanillo olive tree to demonstrate how the trees will soon be pruned, explaining that the blossoms for the next crop can come only from new growth.

Mar 16, 2015 Kevin McKenna