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Home on the Range

Amid housing boom, Placer County eyes a plan to preserve farmland

County officials appear close to approving a sweeping plan to preserve Placer’s agricultural character. If approved by the Board of Supervisors, a conservation plan would protect a large area of farms and open space in the western portion of Placer County, and keep them free of development for at least 50 years —possibly longer. 

Feb 6, 2015 Morris Newman
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Status Check: Stevia First

It’s full speed ahead for this sweet startup

In 2013 we reported on Capital Region startup Stevia First and its CEO Robert Brooke’s goal of making his company the first domestic distributor of stevia. Stevia First made significant progress last year, most notably by entering into a partnership with China-based stevia distributor Qualipride International Ltd.

Feb 5, 2015 Allison Joy
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How Much for the Right to Pollute?

Traveling this holiday? Consider your fuel...

California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32) requires the state’s major industry sectors to return California’s emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. To pay for AB32’s associated Cap-and-Trade Program, the cost of gasoline and diesel fuels will increase approximately 12 cents per gallon beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

Nov 26, 2014 Zuza Hicks
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Speed Isn’t Everything

Snail of Approval Awards celebrate local business and the slow food movement

Sacramento is America’s Farm-to Fork capital for many reasons: fresh, seasonal food available year-round, almost 8,000 acres of boutique farms, and the largest Certified Farmers’ Market in California. Last month, Slow Food Sacramento recognized seven local businesses for their commitment to providing products and services that use regionally grown seasonal produce, honoring them with the Snail of Approval award and decal.

Nov 19, 2014 Shannon Haslinger
Rick Schubert of Bee Happy Apiary uses a smoker to calm his bees, which will motivate them to eat nectar and slow down a bit, making them easier to transport.

As the Bees Go

Local beekeepers prepare for another uncertain winter

Rick Schubert is settling in to the part of bee season that didn’t exist when he opened Bee Happy Apiary with 300 hives in 1977. It’s mid-September, and at headquarters, tucked in the dusty hills off a private road in Vacaville, the faint humming of honey bees serves as background buzz to the voices of men.

Nov 11, 2014 Allison Joy
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The Upside of the Downturn

3 ways the sharing economy is a better economy

The sharing economy is a collaborative economic movement inspired by the efficiency of loaning and sharing existing resources on a fee-for-service model. It reduces environmental waste while supporting financial sustainability and building stronger communities, and it’s having a bigger impact than you might realize. 

Nov 3, 2014 MaryJayne Zemer
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Homegrown for Your Smartphone

3 handy apps with local roots

For the past few years, Sacramento’s been trying to boost its tech cred. That’s not easy when you’ve got Silicon Valley for a neighbor, but one thing the Capital Region can boast is deep agricultural roots. These notable apps prove that innovation can be born right in our backyard. So if you want to support this region’s tech/food movement, be sure to buy local.*

(*The apps are free.)

Oct 15, 2014 Russell Nichols
(Zuza Hicks)

In the Dark?

6 steps to navigating Title 24’s new lighting standards

The updated Title 24 energy efficiency standards will greatly impact how property owners design, construct and renovate buildings. Bernie Kotlier, co-chair of the nonprofit California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program, shares the best ways to navigate the changes:

Oct 9, 2014 Russell Nichols
(photo: Bill Sessa)

Clean Speed Ahead

UC Davis to help China accelerate electric car use

The cord powering cleaner, plug-in electric cars in China now stretches across the Pacific to California.  A recent information-sharing agreement between UC Davis and the government authority that oversees China’s car industry will connect the world’s acknowledged leaders in creating clean car standards with the globe’s largest and fastest-growing new car market. 

Oct 8, 2014 Bill Sessa
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Touchscreen to Table

West Sacramento to address food access with Code for America

Code for America works with cities around the country, using open-source software to improve the scalability and reach of government services. Starting next year, Code for America fellows will work with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the city of West Sacramento using technology to tackle issues related to health care and food access in the city.

Sep 30, 2014 Allison Joy