Saturday, April 7, 2012

Greenhorns Night in SF's Hipster Heartland (The Mission)

The Greenhorns presented two short films, a three person panel, community Q and A, and social time tonight. I learned about Napa bees from Rob Keller, Mendocino Organics from Paula Manalo, and Little City Gardens (for-profit urban farm) from Brooke Budner, all embodying novel and innovative approaches to agricultural issues.

From the wine/vinelands perspective, Napa Valley Bee Company works with wineries and local municipalities to reintroduce bee-friendly plants into the landscape, where monoculture has decreased their numbers. Rob Keller, proprietor and bee expert, talked about his mobile bee education lab (in a converted Airstream) which invites public participation - and fascination.

He is currently working on breeding bees particularly suited to the local conditions.

Stanford-educated Paula Manalo, one of the editors of the new Greenhorns Book, highlighted what she and her partner Adam Gaska, a Redwood Valley native and local farmer, are doing on vineyards in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley in Mendocino (both places near and dear to my heart). The two are Mendocino Organics, which is sort of "infill" agriculture (my made-up terminology), bringing livestock and poultry into symbiotic relationships in vineyard fields. They also grow vegetables, primarily at Heart Arrow Ranch, a biodynamic vineyard and farm. Mendocino Organics is the couple's CSA, providing locally raised meat and vegetables to 22-40+ members seasonally, as well as supplying Bar Agricole, a restaurant in SF, with produce, lamb and pork.

Brooke Budner of Little City Gardens talked about her 1 acre SF garden, which is a for profit company that grows vegetables for sale. She distinguished it from other urban farms, which are run by educational or nonprofit organizations. Brooke was instrumental in getting the city to overturn and rewrite ordinances that prevented people from growing food (as a business) in residential areas.

Here's the night in pix:

The Greenhorns also released their new book (a DVD was already available) - which you can find out more about here:

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