Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sunset Talks: The Future of Water

A few weeks back we were invited to participate in a forum about the future of water, hosted by Sunset magazine at their headquarters in Menlo Park. Stuart Rickard, Interim Executive Director, and Maureen Decombe, Bay-Friendly Training Consultant, joined Sunset editors and a group of other opinion makers, municipal water agencies, educators, environmental leaders, farmers, and landscape experts to discuss the "deepening drought crisis facing our region and state—from the current impact of the drought and planning for the future to household water conservation."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Efficient Watering Without Drip Irrigation

We recently asked our pool of Bay-Friendly Qualified Professionals to share some of their strategies for dealing with the drought. Ellyn Shea responded with some insightful information on irrigation choices. 

Water: all plants need it and we need to conserve it. Drip irrigation is designed to water plants efficiently, but it’s not always the answer. Some locations aren’t feasible to run irrigation to; others contain plants with varying water needs planted too closely together. Hand-watering is time-consuming and wasteful. Are there any efficient alternatives to drip? Here, we look at two methods.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Water Conservation Showcase Session: The Role of Compost in Creating Climate-Adaptive Soils

Bay-Friendly board member Aaron Majors will be participating in a panel  at next week’s Water Conservation Showcase in San Francisco to discuss the important role of compost.Here's a preview of the session. 

What is a “climate adaptive” soil? Climate adaptive soils resist drought, consume little energy, have little need for fertilizer and pesticides, and act as carbon sinks. Creating these high-performing soils is possible through the addition of organic matter, which increases water retention and infiltration, improves soil structure, and builds a robust soil ecology. The application of compost is the first step. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ecology Center of San Francisco (ECOSF) School Farm

We met so many new people and connected with other great organizations during the Brad Lancaster talks last month. Here is another story gleamed from those connections. 

The Ecology Center of San Francisco, or ECO SF, is a small, locally grown 501(c)3 non-profit ecological education organization.  We've been working to educate and empower youth and communities in the S.F. Bay Area since 2006, and in the past four years we've focused on establishing and cultivating a 5,000 sq. ft. organic farm and experiential learning space called the School Farm located on the rim of Glen Canyon on a public High School campus.

The School Farm is a working organic market garden, outdoor classroom, and community demonstration/learning site for ecological and urban agriculture, natural building, appropriate technology, and local ecology.  The program includes students and teachers from the two high schools on site, visitors from other schools and universities, and community groups and volunteers who all participate in outdoor experiential learning activities, campus sustainability projects, community service and volunteer opportunities and the weekly farm stand outside the school offering fresh veggies and eggs from happy hens, handmade soap, local honey and more!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Northridge Cooperative Homes CommUNITY Garden

Mishwa Lee is a resident and gardener at the Northridge Cooperative Homes CommUNITY Garden in San Francisco. She recently contacted us when registering for one of Brad Lancaster's talks. We asked her to share a bit about the CommUNITY Garden where she lives and gardens.

Our garden serves the 300 families who are residents of Northridge Cooperative Homes in the Hunters Point Neighborhood of San Francisco. We work with our youth and young adults to promote healthy living and improved nutrition by building and maintaining our garden. We pay our youth and interns because we believe that agriculture needs to be valued as a dignified and important field of work.

A team of interested residents were assisted in the garden design process by Kevin Bayuk, David Cody and three of their students from the SF Urban Permaculture Institute. With a grant from the San Francisco Community Challenge Program we broke ground in Nov. 2011. Our site had no top soil and we have been building it up using the sheet mulching technique along with compost and soil donated by local business. We installed a drip irrigation system, training our youth to understand the importance of conserving water.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dry Is Beautiful

New Garden, No Lawn Required
It’s 75 degrees on a Saturday in January and I’m wearing a tank top and shorts while doing some winter pruning in the garden. The sunshine feels delicious on my pale skin, which just recently was cocooned in multiple layers against frigid weather. But still . . . no rain in sight, and the governor has declared a drought emergency.

I’m pretty freaked out about these endless dry days, but hopeful that they’ll convince a lot of folks to make 2014 the year to reduce or eliminate their lawns. Did you know that an 800-square-foot lawn that’s watered 3 times a week uses about 60,000 gallons of water a year? Personally, I’d rather use my water judiciously for growing edibles and making strawberry-lemonade than squandering it on a monotonous expanse of green.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Partnering to Promote Stewardship

The Napa County Resource Conservation District has been a Bay-Friendly partner since 2010. Recently Frances Knapczyk from the Napa County RCD joined Bay-Friendly board member Linda Gates in making a presentation about this partnership. Frances elaborates on this partnership below.

Effective partnerships are key when it comes to fostering sustainable landscaping practices across the Bay Area. The Coalition works with public agencies, the landscape industry and property owners to reduce waste and pollution, conserve natural resources, and create vibrant landscapes and gardens. Towards the end of 2013 Bay-Friendly board member Linda Gates and I made a presentation, Partnering to Promote Stewardship in Our Cities, during the 68th annual Conference of California Resource Conservation Districts.