Tags >> food
Apr 22
2010

Luther Burbank's Farm

Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , trees , Sonoma County , Sebastopol , research , parks , nonprofit orgs , history , food , farms , environment , California , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Luther Burbank’s greenhouse is an icon of Santa Rosa, but the famed horticulturalist actually did most of his ground-breaking work at another site—his 18 acre Goldridge Farm in Sebastopol.

Burbank is justly renowned for his botanical innovations, but not everything he worked with was a success. In fact, explains horticultural historian Bob Hornback, Burbank also is the source of two highly conspicuous “escapees” that are now ubiquitous in our local landscape, including the one shown here.

The Open House at Goldridge Farm this weekend is part of the annual Sebastopol Apple Blossom Festival, which primarily celebrates the area’s Gravenstein orchards. Hornback says that was one variety of apple that Luther Burbank didn’t do much with, although he did create the later-ripening Winterstein variety (seen in photo).

With hundreds of new fruit varieties, vegetables and ornamental plants and flowers to his credit, Burbank’s farm (including the cottage, as seen in this drawing) was the scene of constant multiple experiments, graftings and new hybrids. During so much required maintaining detailed records, says Hornback, which is something Burbank doesn’t get enough credit for doing.

 

 

Mar 12
2010

Rachel Carson

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , toxic , speaker , public safety , policy , media , journalism , food , events , environment , education , chemicals , author

Bruce Robinson

Rachel Carson may have been America’s first environmental whistle-blower. That’s inspired for a west county poet to create her own biographical one-woman show about the author of Silent Spring.

Lilith Rogers describes herself as a lifelong gardener and poet—she’s even written a book of her own about horticulture in western Sonoma County—but she got the spark of an idea about doing something new when she saw a one-woman show about Alberta King, the mother of Martin Luther King, at Santa Rosa Junior College. So Rogers began casting about for a subject that she might take on for a similar presentation.

One reason that Silent Spring had such an immediate and widespread impact when it was published, explains Lilith Rogers, was that the book offered a clear and well-documented explanation that linked a number of troubling events that were readily observable in the American environment.

Rachel Carson and Silent Spring were a media sensation, too, by the standards of 1962. Rogers says the flavor of that fascination, and the some of the now-discredited attitudes that were prevalent then, could be seen in an exchange that was broadcast on national television on the prominent CBS Reports program.

Doing the one-woman show  offers a way for Carsons’ voice to be heard again today, as in this excerpt from Rachel Carson Returns in which Rogers reads from the final chapter of Silent Spring.

 

 


 

 

Feb 04
2010

Post Carbon Institute

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , Santa Rosa , resources , politics , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , news , legislation , international , Ideas , Green , government , food , environment , economy , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , agriculture , activism

Bruce Robinson

When the Post Carbon Institute was started in 2003, the idea behind its name was a philosophical ideal. Seven years later, it’s become a imminent necessity—one with an accelerating deadline.

Moving into a post-carbon world will require all kinds of changes in the way people live, especially in our high-consumption culture. But Asher Miller (left), Executive Director of the Post Carbon Institute, believes that the necessary adjustments may not prove to be as difficult or disruptive as they may appear at this point in time.

This is Miller's Open Letter to President Obama, in response to his 2010 State of the Union Speech.

Dear President Obama,

Your State of the Union speech last week laudably referenced clean tech and renewable energy several times. We ask that you follow your words with action, by leading the transition to a post-carbon economy and a healthier world.

You also spoke of our need to face hard truths.

Hard truth: Our continued, willful reliance on fossil fuels is making our planet uninhabitable. We are evicting ourselves from the only paradise we’ve ever known.

Hard truth: No combination of current and anticipated renewable sources can maintain our profligate energy usage as the global supply of fossil fuels heads for terminal decline.

For the recently released Searching for a Miracle, Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg conducted a “net energy” analysis of 18 different energy sources (including nuclear and “clean coal”). He concluded that the amount of energy available after accounting for the energy used in extraction and production of those sources is—at our current and anticipated rates of consumption—insufficient to get us “over the hump” to a post-carbon world.

Our 29 Post Carbon Institute Fellows—experts in the leading economic, energy, and environmental issues of the day—all agree that this "net energy" deficit is just one of many interrelated crises shaping the 21st century. Each crisis alone creates formidable challenges; in combination, their complexity admits no simple solution. But given their direness, inaction risks tragedy.

Mr. President, we respect you and your advisors and appreciate the enormity of the dilemmas you and all of us confront. When a great leader frames a great challenge, a resilient people will rise to meet the opportunity. And so we ask, Mr. President, that you tell the American people that we must:

1. Face reality. In a carbon-constrained world, true prosperity comes not from heedless growth, but from shared security, community, and liberty.

2. Prepare for the future. Conservation, with an emphasis on building a green economy and revitalizing struggling communities, offers cost-effective “found” energy, and the most immediate and long-term return on investment.

3. Lead the way. A substantial investment in renewable energy, with an emphasis on distributed solar and wind, offers the best hope for moving to a sustainable economy and environment.

Mr. President, lead us in creating a future worth inheriting. Post Carbon Institute and our Fellows will support you and your team in whatever capacity we can. We believe that the American people, and the world’s people, will support you as well.

With hope,
Asher Miller
Executive Director
Post Carbon Institute

Click here to comment on the letter to President Obama. You can also see the complete list of fellows on the Post Carbon Institute website.

 

 

 

 

Jan 12
2010

Ag Innovation Network

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , Sonoma County , Sebastopol , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , Ideas , Green , food , farms , environment , energy , economy , conservation , California , business , agriculture , activism

Bruce Robinson

The pathway to sustainability depends on morphing conflict into consensus, and when it comes to food systems, that’s what Sebastopol’s Ag Innovation Network is all about.

Even in areas where there is a history of deep distrust between factions within the agricultural sector, such as Sonoma County with its history around the 2000 Rural Heritage Initiative, Ag Innovations Network CEO Dan Schurman (left)  says they are committed to a process that works to heal past rifts.

 

 

 

 

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