Is waste wasted? Or is our thinking too limited? There is an emerging body of research and practical applications that suggests California is ready to create a genuine Bioeconomy – an economy where every byproduct is an input to another valuable product. This provocative one-day event is an invitation to peer over the horizon towards this emerging bioeconomy, to learn about what is driving the need to find new solutions to reducing and reusing woody biomass from farms and a wide range of other byproducts of the food system.
On May 24, a coalition of Santa Barbara organizations announced the release of the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan. The plan represents a milestone for both Santa Barbara County in reflecting community consensus on how to build a more resilient food system and for the food change efforts more generally in its focus on a postive agenda that stands outside of traditional political divides.
What needs to happen next to preserve and enhance working lands in California? This was the final question posed to leaders who participated in the 2015 CRAE Summit on the Future of Working Lands. The answers were as diverse as the state’s farms, ranches, and working forests, which have adapted to environments ranging from the deserts of the Imperial Valley, to the towering mountains of the Sierra Nevada region.
Last month, over 70 leaders from diverse sectors came together to co-create recommendations on the enhancement of California’s working lands - its farms, ranches and forests. The day-long Summit built on a decade-long history of the California Roundtable on Agriculture & the Environment (CRAE), a statewide forum convened by Ag Innovations where leaders come together to talk about what matters and how to solve key problems at the intersection of agriculture and the environment.
California has endured four years of severe drought, causing a new level of anxiety about the future of our water supply. The members of the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment (CRAE)—a forum for dialogue among agricultural, environmental, and governmental leaders—ask our fellow Californians to work together to find common ground and collaborate on long-term solutions in service of the greater public good.
Ag Innovations published two reports -- Permitting Restoration (2010) and Regulating for Agricultural and Public Outcomes (2014) -- that advanced recommendations to improve the efficacy of California's regulatory framework for projects improving environmental outcomes. It seems that California has heeded the call for change. New policies and information tools are streamlining permit application processes, expediting projects with clear environmental benefits, providing permit assistance, and increasing the flow of information critical to decision making.
The California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment (CRAE) has been collaborating for the past ten years to address tough challenges at the intersection of agriculture and the environment. This post outlines five key stratgies that empower CRAE to work successfully through contentious issues to build consensus and create meaningful outcomes for agriculture and the environment.
So, who really IS to blame for California’s drought? With media headlines demonizing the almond industry for their gallon-per-nut water usage and scolding urban populations for their lack of water conservation, there’s no single, clear-cut answer. The members of the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment (CRAE) recently met to untangle the myths surrounding our current water crisis.
- Ag Innovations is Hiring: Program Associate
- Environmental Leaders, Fortune 500s Announce Collaborative Investments to Protect California’s Water Future
- California Roundtable on Water & Food Supply Reviews the California Water Action Plan
- Cultivating California’s Bioeconomy: Turning Ag Waste Into Profit
- Sonoma County Healthy & Sustainable Food Action Plan: 2016 Status Report
- Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan Released
Impact Area: Working Lands
Farms, ranches, and forests are critical for the food and fiber they produce, the economic value they create, and the ecosystem services they provide. We need healthy and widespread working lands to feed us, enhance our watersheds, serve as water catchments, and provide plant and wildlife habitat. Our focus in our Working Lands is landscape scale management of this critical resource. We work with stakeholders and public agencies to identify and implement new strategies to keep working lands working, and working better, for all of us.
Example Projects: Working Lands More Projects »
Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program
In Santa Clara County (County) the time is now to align the myriad of plans, programs, policies and infrastructure investments affecting undeveloped agricultural lands across this rapidly growing County and its Cities to sustain the Valley’s natural environment, support the local agricultural economy, maintain the health of its communities and increase the resiliency and adaptation of this region in the face of climate change.
Sustainable Groundwater Management Program in Solano County
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) established a robust framework for the sustainable management of groundwater resources for the first time in California’s history. The first step in implementing SGMA is to develop Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), a focal point of local public agencies and stakeholders at this time. Ag Innovations is supporting the GSA formation process for two GSAs in the Solano Subbasin, primarily located in Solano County, by offering a range of professional services, including process design, facilitation, research and analysis.
Santa Barbara County Conservation Blueprint
With increasing pressure to accommodate population growth on open space and agricultural lands in Santa Barbara County, it is critical that the community develops a collective vision for the future of its most important wild and working landscapes as well as the tools and strategies for how to move toward that vision.
Example Results More Results »
A Call to Action to Preserve California Agricultural Land
A Call to Action to Preserve California Agricultural Land describes a suite of policy recommendations for slowing the rate of farmland conversion.
Regulating for Agricultural and Public Outcomes: Perspectives and Recommendations
Regulating for Agricultural and Public Outcomes: Perspectives and Recommendations summarizes the perspectives conveyed by stakeholder groups, identifies areas of agreement among the groups, and presents recommendations for constructively addressing key regulatory challenges in both the short and long term.
Policy Considerations for Managing Agricultural Nitrogen to Reduce Groundwater Contamination in California
Policy Considerations for Managing Agricultural Nitrogen to Reduce Groundwater Contamination in California communicates both a set of key facts important to building policy regarding nitrate in the agricultural context, and a set of key considerations to support effective policy-making.