The Forests of California, by Obi Kaufmann, released in September 2020 by Heyday Books
Obi Kaufmann, who brought us The California Field Atlas (#1 San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller) presents another major work, The Forests of California. This is the third of six books in Kaufmann’s planned series exploring the state’s diverse environment and is the first of his planned “California Lands” trilogy.
An atlas is a collection of maps, illustrations and text. A field atlas is designed to be used in the ‘field’ as an ongoing resource, and Kaufmann gives us something rich, distinctive and fascinating. Dive in wherever you like to find a page that engages and keeps you turning more pages, or if you prefer, stop to learn more about a specific forest or tree in California. This book is not just a reference tool, but could be seen as an invitation to think differently about habitat, vegitative alliances and the hope we can hold through better understanding of our relationship to place.
Colfax Area Farms Add Great Sources of Food, Natural Beauty & Fulfilling Lifestyles
Note: Every so often I write an article that takes an unexpected shape through the development process. The farmers that I interviewed for this article, originally published in the Auburn Journal, are so inspiring in the manner in which they are carving out a sustainable lifestyle, and in doing so, helping to transform our rural communities, I am sharing it again here.
As fall comes around, for farmers, it’s time to pull in the crops, prepare for winter and evaluate the season past, but not before celebrating the bounty of fall harvest.
The Colfax area is blessed with a cluster of organic farms, giving people the opportunity to visit a farm stand or farmer’s market, get food harvested the day of purchase and come to know those who are dedicated to growing the food eaten daily—a rare opportunity.
“We are young farmers. We left our work in the recreation industry at Tahoe, looking for something with more substance. After working for several years with an established organic farm, we started Foothill Roots in 2012. We are committed to the local community and are grateful to be growing not just crops, but local sustainability.”—Patrick Bolinger, Foothill Roots Farm, Meadow Vista native
Part of the good news of local, organically grown food is the increasing trend for a younger generation to choose this meaningful and rewarding way of life over faster-paced urban lifestyles. This is providing new jobs and ways to contribute to rural communities which have historically seen young adults leave in search of jobs. Not only are these farms creating their own jobs and lifestyles, but they also employ and train others, adding to the positive impact of local farms. Retirees, like Rick and Jackie Brown of Meadow Vista Flower and Berry Farm, now enjoy their passion for gardening full time.
Bierwagen’s Donner Trail Fruit and Farm Market is a fourth-generation farm just outside of Colfax, which has also seeded a new farm, Pharis Farms in Chicago Park. Stone’s Throw Farm is run by an eighth-generation farmer and his wife, who graduated from Colfax High School, returning after college and a professional career. Foothill Roots Farm sees a Meadow Vista native returning to his community.
“We left city life. We are neighbors. We invest in each other, in a beautiful circle of interdependence. This farm is a source of regeneration. We are deeply connected to feeding people, it feels similar to counseling, in that it is nurturing and essential.”—Bryanna Eisenhut, Stone’s Throw Farm, re-careered social worker, current organic farmer, Colfax native
Last spring, when snow was still on the ground in sad little clumps, I began some conversations with Lucy Blake and Steve Frisch about Sierra Business Council’s beginnings, goals and the perspective they will bring to their 20th Anniversary Conference, Peak Innovation at Lake Tahoe’s Granlibakken October 8-10, 2014.
Bill McKibben describes Tzeporah Berman as ‘a modern environmental hero.’ I like to think of her as a radical pragmatist. “This Crazy Time” is an autobiographical memoir of an effective eco-campaigner who has spent the past 18 years evolving from a student practicing civil disobedience to a key negotiator, leveraging vital policies and agreements with global corporations, government and environmental allies. Berman has been recognized by Utne Reader as one of 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World. This spring she assumed Greenpeace International’s co-head of the climate and energy campaign.
I was invited by EcoMaven Alex Steele to participate in U2’s Green Team–Seattle was the 5th city on the concert tour to implement an on ground crew to encourage recycling and educate on green initiatives designed to reduce the U2 tour carbon footprint. Effect Partners, a Minneapolis, Minnesota company that is occupying the unique space of turning intentions into actions, orchestrated the U2 Green Team effort. Other Effect Partners projects include making recycled plastic shirts for the Black-Eyed Peas, “So Much to Save” initiative for the Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson’s “All at Once” encouraging individual action. Bono and U2 were even better than the real thing.
Over 60 teams from prominent US colleges and universities tried to solve this problem: how can municipal recycling collection be increased? University of Washington Foster School of Business students answered this challenge by designing a mobile application which maps recycling locations and motivates users by showing where nearby recycling bins are located, adding facebook and geocaching quests and then completing the Loop with partnerships and mobile advertising. Their Loop mobile phone application took first prize, $7,200 and the bragging rights over the likes of University of Southern California’s Mendoza School of Business (2nd Place), DePaul University (3rd place) and other competitors including, USC, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Kansas, University of Virginia.
In January 2006 I interviewed Julia Butterfly at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival in Nevada City, California. I walked away from this interview with hope and commitment to change that I still carry today, so this Earth Day, I’d like to revisit Julia Butterfly and her inspiring words.
For many, working near where they live is a long standing dream. Waving goodbye to commutes and starting one’s own enterprise is not something to be taken on by the faint of heart.
Bridging the gap between desires and knowledge, Sierra Commons is offering a six-week business course to help aspiring entrepreneurs launch new businesses in Nevada County, a scenic Sierra Nevada Gold Rush town. This course could become a model, contributing to developing, walkable, sustainable communities with local support services in many regions. Learn more about building local, living economies here
Spent some time yesterday learning about a new directory designed to bring the Pacific Northwest’s green education programs into a single, comprehensive online directory. Designed to let students interested in green careers learn about both careers and program options, EcoWiz.net is the brainchild of a team of professionals, all working in the sustainability space (more on this later).