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Unconventional Agriculture

Our food systems are changing for the better thanks to a rising crop of women farmers.

Last year, all five of the first-year apprentices at Soil Born Farms’ headquarters near Sacramento, California were women. Another young woman, Elle Huftill-Balzer, was the boss of them all, the farm manager. “It [was] a total girl-power year around here,” says Janet Whalen Zeller, co-founder and co-director of Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture and Education Project, which oversees two farms totaling 56 acres. In fact, during the past few years the majority…
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by: Sena Christian – Spring 2015

Is Cellulosic Ethanol the Next Big Thing in Renewable Fuels?

Ongoing efforts to commercialize this clean energy source may lead the US to a more independent energy future

For a long time it seemed like turning the inedible parts of plants into a commercially viable biofuel, known as cellulosic ethanol, was nothing more than a pipedream. The enzymes needed to release sugars from cellulose — the fiber that forms plant…
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by: Sena Christian – January 5, 2015

Across the US, Cities Struggle to Figure Out How to Accommodate Urban Farming

Widespread interest in urban agriculture is forcing local authorities to re-examine rules that prohibit farming in cities

Sacramento has worked diligently over the past two years to brand itself as America’s farm-to-fork capital, hosting local food festivals, wine tastings, and gala dinners featuring the city’s premier chefs. Tickets for this year’s dinner, at $175 dollars each, sold out in…
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by: Sena Christian – October 2, 2014

Thousands Converge on Sacramento for Anti-Fracking Rally

Governor Brown’s support for fracking has alienated his environmentalist base

SACRAMENTO — A busload of people from San Diego awoke early Saturday and hit the road as one of 20 buses from across California headed to the state capitol. The buses were full of passengers eager to express their concerns with hydraulic…
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by: Sena Christian – March 17, 2014

Large Scale Farming Without Toxic Pesticides is Still a Distant Dream

Chemical fumigant use in California highlights the challenges of scaling up eco-friendly and economic alternatives

When the manufacturer of methyl iodide pulled the pesticide off the United States market in 2012 after years of public outcry from farmworkers, environmental groups, and top scientists, proponents of pesticide-free farming felt the wind of change had begun. The science —…
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by: Sena Christian – July 15, 2013

Learning from Nature: Using Bioengineering to Save Water Bodies

California city’s efforts to stabilize creeks with plants are part of a larger paradigm shift in public works initiatives

Donna Wilson believes when you love something you should give it a name. So when she and a few other regular visitors to a greenbelt along Linda Creek in the city of Roseville, CA discovered a gathering of western pond turtles sunning…
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by: Sena Christian – February 5, 2013

Quito Grown

In Ecuador, urban farms provide an antidote to rising food prices

Sarah McGee admires the structure, partially wrapped in mesh and sun-protective plastic, and smiles approvingly. “We made a wall,” she says. “It actually looks like a greenhouse now. It was a carcass for a week.” Photo by Christian VelasteguiA group of college…
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by: Sena Christian – August 7, 2012

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