The San Francisco Bay Area may be one of the densest metropolitan areas of the country, but roughly 40 percent of the region's total land area is made up of farms and rangelands.

Getting Local Food at Your Local Park

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People travel from around the world to visit the America’s National Parks. They come for scenery, wildlife, human history. But rarely do they come for the food. Instead they usually find the same fare available at most any shopping mall food court. That may soon change soon thanks to work being done at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Down on the Farm

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There are many local farms in the Bay Area where families can visit to learn about how food is grown and raised and meet the farmers who make it happen.

MALT’s Dolcini Ranch Purchase

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In West Marin, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) has purchased an agricultural conservation easement on the 585-acre Dolcini Ranch, a property the land trust has been seeking to protect for over a decade. Located eight miles south of Petaluma, … Read more

Reaping the Harvest

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It’s easy to forget how much of the Bay Area was once a working landscape. Row crops, orchards, and pastures held sway in places now covered by freeways and houses. But a surprising amount of that working land endures in our parks and preserves. In the East Bay, ranchers still run cattle on thousands of acres of land, both public and private. And in a few places, thanks to the East Bay Regional Park District, kids and adults can learn firsthand about skills people once took for granted: how to plant a seed, plow a field, grind grain into flour, or spin wool into yarn.

A Working Pond for a Working Ranch

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Walnut grower Craig McNamara often gets asked about his father, Robert McNamara, former U.S. secretary of defense (1961—68) and World Bank president (1968—81). But the younger McNamara lives far removed from the halls of power in Washington: Since buying his … Read more

Letter from the Publisher

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About 15 years ago, I took a solo backpack trip in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness near Ebbets Pass in the Sierra. On the first morning, camped beside a small lake, I was awakened—much too early!—by the sound of moos and bells, … Read more

Looking Ahead on the Napa River

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In our January-March 2007 feature, “Valley of Water and Wine,” we highlight the innovative work of landowners along the Napa River who are initiating restoration projects on the upper reaches of the river. The Rutherford Dust Society, a group of … Read more

West Marin

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Driving out to the coast among the seemingly endless ranks of Marin County hills, studded with rock outcrops and spotted with grazing cows, you can feel the calmness that flows from a stable landscape. It has always been this way, … Read more

Resources for Healthy Soil

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General Information Sources and Websites Bio-Integral Resource Center www.birc.org (510)524-2567 Extensive information resources for least-toxic pest management. California Integrated Waste Management Board www.ciwmb.ca.gov/organics/gardening Information and resources for organic materials management and home gardening, including grasscycling, home composting, and worm composting. … Read more

Soil-Friendly Practices

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Organic matter is the most important part of the soil because it is fodder for the many organisms that keep soil alive and elastic. And because it is consumed by these organisms, soil organic matter needs to be replenished. The … Read more