Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Local OrganizationsTags Leave a comment on Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner

Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner

EARLY BIRD TICKETS are $40 UNTIL FEBRUARY 14; $60 after February 14.

The 38th Annual Environmental Awards Dinner will be held Sunday, March 16, 2014, at the Sebastopol Community Center, from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m.
The Dinner is sponsored by the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter and Sonoma County Conservation Council and benefits the Environmental Center of Sonoma County. 
This year’s topic is, Building a Stronger Coalition between Agriculture and Environment. Farm and grazing lands represent 58% of Sonoma County’s land area. How these lands are stewarded is of critical interest to the public, the land owner/manager, and to the plants and animals that are found there. As Sonoma County looks ahead it is faced with needs that often appear to conflict: to preserve the economic viability of agriculture and protect the integrity of the many ways everyone benefits from healthy ecosystems. In this short and provocative talk, Joseph McIntyre, President of Ag Innovations Network, will share his thoughts on how to build a strong coalition between agricultural and environmental interests that can address the public’s need both for healthy food and a healthy environment.
Also featured is live music by Duo Giuliani – Terry Mills, guitar, and Richard Heinberg, violin. Their repertoire spans five centuries and includes tangos, hot jazz, and renaissance dance music.
A silent auction, many non-profit displays, a delicious dinner by A la Heart Catering, and of course, the Environmental Awards, will fill out this festive evening.
Tickets are $40 UNTIL FEBRUARY 14; $60 after February 14.
Purchase online at or send a check payable to SCCC to PO Box 4346,  Santa Rosa, 95402. Please see web site for student ticket and group rates as well as work trade information.  Sponsorships welcome to support discounted tickets and Environmental Center operations.
For more information, contact Wendy at 707-544-4582;
via Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food SystemTags Leave a comment on What's up with the state grange?

What's up with the state grange?


The California State Grange Master, Bob McFarland, is in Sebastopol this week for the annual State Grange Convention. He was willing to discuss what is happening on the national level with the venerable agricultural organization.

 Is the National Grange suing the California Grange?

Yes. The National Grange Master Ed Lutrell tried to kick me out, but the California Grange membership that had elected me refused to do so. Then Lutrell revoked California’s 143-year-old charter and tried to seize the bank accounts, offices and other assets, but a court injunction stopped him. So he is suing us, and the trial will come up in late spring I think.

 Why would Lutrell do that?

He supports industrial agribusiness, while in California we support family sustainable farming. We took a stand against GMOs and he favors it, saying there is no difference. He has done the same thing to the Wyoming State Grange, revoked their charter and tried to seize their assets.

via 5 Questions for Bob McFarland, California's grange master.

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 Climate Change & Energy, Land Use, WildlifeTags , Leave a comment on Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places

Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places

Felicity Barringer, THE NEW YORK TIMES

For more than a decade, wine experts have discussed the impact of climate change on wine grapes, agriculture’s diva, a marquee crop nurtured and pampered around the world.

Now scientists are raising a new question: when grapes are transported to new areas, assuming warming weather and flagging rain make current regions unsuited to such harvests, what will the crop’s arrival do to the animals and plants already in residence?

via Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places –

Posted on Categories Land UseTags Leave a comment on Grapegrower report: Organic practices make the difference

Grapegrower report: Organic practices make the difference

The days are becoming shorter and cooler, harvest is drawing to a close, and grapevines are shutting down for a long winter’s nap: Autumn is officially upon us. While the next four to five months are not normally considered the growing season in the vineyards, at the certified organic Oakville Ranch Vineyards, this is the time of year that we are just starting growing our cover crops, soils, biodiversity and ecological balance, elements of healthy vineyards.
As the founder of Enterprise Vineyards, for the past 35 years I have farmed exclusively organic vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma County. I have always focused my goals beyond organic farming for its environmental benefits. For more than three decades I have worked to prove that organically grown grapes offer winemakers the most balanced fruit and allow most accessible path a vineyard’s terroir, a wine’s expression of place. This can only happen when the vines and the land are in balance.
via Grapegrower report: Organic practices make the difference.