Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Fracking & The Media – More Transparency Needed!

frack feudLast week we covered a panel discussion about hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking’. Now that I’m aware of the issue, it seems to be popping up more frequently. However, the question still remains: how does fracking affect farmers? How does it affect the food on my plate?

This week, NPR’s show On the Media helped explain why answers seem so elusive.  In the piece Fracking Feud, host Brooke Gladstone interviewed Abrahm Lustgarten of ProPublica, who has been reporting about fracking since it first started getting media attention in 2008.

Fracking in the news is simply confusing.  In the past week alone, the Illinois governor passed what is considered one of the most stringent policies against fracking, while the EPA abandons its Wyoming research of fracking and groundwater, and – with a commissioned study by Congress in 2010 to test the impact of fracking on air and groundwater – they’ve decided to delay research until 2016.

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FarmsReach Newsletter – June 27, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 2.34.51 PMThis summer is already a blaze with a lot buzzing on Topics in this edition:

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Appreciating Open Space & Community — Rodeo-Style

Last week I went to the 95th Annual Livermore Rodeo.  Even though I grew up in what used to be horseback-riding country on the Peninsula (pre-Silicon Valley era), I had never been to a rodeo before.

FarmsReach, Livermore, rodeoIMG_6988Sitting in the jam-packed bleachers in the sunshine, surrounded by a surprising mix of rodeo regulars, city hipsters, British visitors, and suburbanites, I was struck by how this age-old American institution was successfully bringing people together, reconnecting folks to the country, and entertaining all with some impressive skills.

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“Food, Farming, and Fracking” with Kitchen Table Talks

Hydraulic Fracking

I’m not a farmer. I’m what some might call an earth-minded food enthusiast or green foodie. Whether one is at the producing or consuming end of the food chain, it is important to know the relationships and issues that exist within our food systems.

Since I joined the FarmsReach team, I’ve learned a lot about the players within our food system and the issues that affect everyone from farmers to eaters. One such issue affecting every individual in the food system is fracking. Having just returned to San Francisco from China, I hadn’t heard of fracking, and as I learn quickly about this destructive process used to produce oil, it strikes me as imperative that others also become aware of this issue.

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Chipotle CULTIVATE Festival in SF

The San Francisco Chipotle Cultivate Festival, held this past weekend in Golden Gate Park, brought together local bands, local artisan food purveyors, and all the Chipotle tacos and gorditas you could eat!  Geared towards people of all ages, this all-day, free festival did a great job of integrating food and farming education with an afternoon of relaxation, a few beers and some live music.

I applaud Chipotle for designing a festival with a clear message – to highlight their philosophy of healthy ingredients, local sourcing, animal welfare and overall farm sustainability.

Cultivate, event, FarmsReach, food, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoDSCN1731The event featured six “Cultivate Experiences” to learn about such things as fresh ingredients and the processed meals of typical fast food restaurants, animal welfare issues and healthy meat, and the facts about CA avocados and the farmers who grow them.  I visited all the exhibits, got my program stamped and won a free meal at any Chipotle restaurant.  Not a bad way to win some free food!

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Optimizing the Seed Supply Chain ~ According to Stanford Engineers

This past Wednesday, Masters students in the School of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University presented their final report with solutions to optimize the sustainable seed supply chain.

FarmsReach, MS&E 262 Project, Stanfordphoto

Stanford Graduate Students Present Ideas to
Optimize Seed Supply Chain

A mere three months ago, they accepted FarmsReach’s submission to an RFP from their professor.  His request: Seeking companies with “real world supply chain challenges” for which students will “perform a systematic assessment of an area within the supply chain and identify ways to improve performance”.  Excellent!

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Gauchos and Organic Beef – the Grass Really is Greener



When we heard about the Argentine asado going down at True Grass Farms (Valley Ford), it didn’t take a minute for us to run wild with our imaginations. With pastures of the pampas and gauchos grilling in our heads, we drove out to where our mobiles lost service and the sky is deep and kisses hills of grass.

A spread of grilled veggies, leafy greens a flutter, sizzling skillets of chorizo, ribs, and a wood fire-roasted slab of beef doused in chimichurri sauce. True Grass gauchos were clad in billowy Argentine rancher-inspired garb. Wine flowed freely and live music strummed through the afternoon.

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