Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food SystemTags Leave a comment on Far from the tree

Far from the tree


Nana Mae’s apples

Apples! Such an innocent fruit. The sturdy globe of a red-cheeked apple is American shorthand for student affection of favored teachers, wholesome homespun values, patriotic pies and good health.
Apples! Such cunning tricksters. Leave an apple tree ungrafted and it will produce an apple entirely its own, of a kind unknown anywhere else in the world. With small exception, its native fruit will be bitter and unpleasant.
Apples! Replaced by grapes.
via Made Local Magazine

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags Leave a comment on Grains go local

Grains go local


North Bay chefs and growers have long been at the forefront of the movement to eat local, championing the return to the table of heirloom tomatoes and grass-fed beef.

Nowadays, the farmers are starting to grow grains like rye, farro and wheat as well, providing chefs with whole-grain, freshly milled flours for their breads and pasta.

“Grains are the logical next step,” said Debra Walton of Canvas Ranch in Two Rock. “Were really moving totally local, from vegetables and meat to grain and breads and beer.”

via Grains go local | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on Permaculture Skills Center to open near Sebastopol

Permaculture Skills Center to open near Sebastopol

Enviro Updates

The new Permaculture Skills Center is a 5 acre site near Sebastopol that will teach the skills needed to create and maintain permaculture gardens, which are based on principles of systems ecology and sustainable land use.

A launch party will be held June 15 from 12:00-5:00pm.
2185 Hwy 116 South, Sebastopol
For more information, see the Center’s website at

Posted on Categories Local Organizations, Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on 350 Home & Garden Challenge Kick-Off Party – March 25

350 Home & Garden Challenge Kick-Off Party – March 25

Ryan Johnston, DAILY ACTS
Please join Daily Acts to launch the biggest and boldest 350 Home and Garden Challenge ever! You will meet the organizers and partners, learn about the many exciting ways that you can get involved in this year’s Challenge, and be inspired. We will provide snacks, drinks, and tangible ideas for ways you can make your home, garden, and community more resilient!
This year’s 350 Home & Garden Challenge will center on May 18th and 19th, when thousands of people across Sonoma County will again rise to the challenge of creating a more sustainable community. Building upon the incredible success of 628 garden actions in 2010, 1,044 actions in 2011, and 2,304 in 2012, our goal this year is to inspire 3,500 actions to save water, save energy, grow food, and build community. And to continue to broaden the charge, we’re adding two new action areas: live local and green your ride. Small or large, every action counts. Only together can we become more food and energy independent, and build the strength, health, beauty, and resilience of our communities!
350 Home & Garden Challenge Kick-Off Party
Monday, March 25th, 6-8:30pm
Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road
Santa Rosa, CA, 95401
RSVP kindly requested:
For more information about the 350 Home & Garden Challenge, please visit

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on Growing the Granges

Growing the Granges

California once had vibrant granges, most with their own halls, but they had since disappeared in many towns.  In the past few years, Grange news is upbeat and, in Sonoma County, there are now a total of TWELVE granges, several new, all of them growing.  Nationally, The Grange is comprised of over 350,000 members holding over 100,000 general membership meetings, Pomona Grange gatherings and Junior Grange meetings.
The Grange is news again as it was since its inception in 1867, and during the 1930’s when Granges helped each other recover from the hard farming days of the Depression.
Knowing that local foods are more sustainable and usually more flavorful and vibrant than those requiring fossil fuels to ship them thousands of miles, and that recent “100 year” droughts and floods events are becoming longer and more harsh than ever in history, the time to build local sources for food security is right in line the Grange practice called “Patrons of Husbandry” and a more communal way of life has come around again.
via Growing the Granges.

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags Leave a comment on Community Garden Network holds first gathering

Community Garden Network holds first gathering

Enviro Updates
The Community Garden Network, a support organization for the 80 or more community gardens in Sonoma County, held its first gathering in Santa Rosa on February 2. The Network was formed in early 2012 to connect and strengthen community gardens by offering them technical assistance, training, funding development, and opportunities to share knowledge with other gardeners.
More than 70 community garden representatives and community organizers from all over the county came together for an inspiring and educational afternoon. Following a speed networking session, addresses were made by Supervisor Mike McGuire and Trathen Heckman of Daily Acts. Attendees then had a choice of four different breakout groups to discuss challenges and success stories associated with Recruiting and Sustaining Volunteers, Sustaining Gardener Enthusiasm and Participation, Maintaining Soil Fertility, and Irrigation Management. During the break, gardeners visited information tables and took part in a lively seed and tool swap. Participants then took to the open mike to give ideas and feedback to CGNSC on the support that gardens need. Following a drawing for door prizes donated by generous supporters, the gathering concluded with more networking organized by subregions within the county.
More information about the CGNSC and its work can be found at

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags , , Leave a comment on Register! 350 Home & Garden Challenge May 12-13

Register! 350 Home & Garden Challenge May 12-13

The third annual 350 Home & Garden Challenge returns on May 12-13, encouraging thousands to transform Sonoma County homes and gardens by taking practical actions to save water and energy, increase local food production, and reduce greenhouse gases.  Last year, the challenge inspired 1044 home and garden actions in Sonoma County, including installing 21 grey water systems and transforming 243 lawns.  Ideas include transforming lawns to food or waterwise landscapes, installing a grey water system, line-drying clothes, planting fruit trees and more!
The Challenge has taken its call to action national for the second year running with Transition US’s “Transition Challenge,” encouraging citizen’s nationwide to take action and implement community-powered solutions to climate change. It is an initiative of Daily Acts in parnership with iGROW Sonoma County and others.
For more information, or to register your action, go to