A loud, crashing sound startles my young farm-hand Emily Danler awake in the dark of the night. She camps out in order to start picking berries at sun-up. My dog, inside, barks. After a physically-demanding day farming, I sleep through it all.
Looking down the boysenberry field to the bottom of Kokopelli Farm the next morning, tears come to my eyes. The tall, old black oak had split right down the middle of its deep, wide trunk. I would never again see its crimson leaves announcing the beginning of Spring. Continue reading →
The Watertrough Children’s Alliance (WCA)–mainly mothers with students at schools near where yet another apple orchard is being converted into a chemical vineyard–filed a lawsuit on the afternoon of Nov. 25 against the Paul Hobbs Winery. The next day Hobbs struck back with a press release, promising he “will aggressively fight.”
Do not be deceived by the thin perimeter of a few live apple trees remaining next to Apple Blossom School and the five nearby schools on Watertrough Road with 700 students in the Sebastopol countryside in Sonoma County, Northern California. A glorious, historic 47-acre orchard that nurtured people, wildlife, and the environment thrived there for many decades. Then chain-sawed trees languished on their sides with dying green apples, which will never ripen to red, cut down on June 14. Witnessing this slaughter was enough to make a grown man weep.
Half a dozen mothers from small town and rural Sebastopol in Northern California quickly rallied hundreds of people to their side to challenge Sonoma County’s Paul Hobbs Winery. He wants to convert a 40-acre apple orchard into a vineyard that would use pesticides; it borders five schools on Watertrough Road, including Apple Blossom and Orchard View. Together they have around 700 children, as well as many teachers, staff, neighbors and wildlife.
On Christmas Eve, when most were at home with family and friends or out-of-town, a summons was served at the Sebastopol City Hall. The giant CVS Pharmacy sued the City and its elected officials.
Sebastopol’s recently elected City Council voted unanimously, 5-0, on Dec. 18 to enact a temporary, 45-day moratorium against drive-through operations. CVS seeks to nullify that moratorium and proceed with plans that it has been working on since 2009, but which have not been fully approved and permitted, to build two stores with drive-throughs.
“Sustainability” has become a buzzword. But what does “sustainability” really mean? One definition is that it requires a triple-E bottom line—economics, the environment and equity. However, this word sometimes is used to “green-wash” and promote things that are not sustainable. Genuine sustainability must be evidence-based. But language can be used to conceal rather than reveal.
Good things can come in small packages. Sebastopol in semi-agrarian Sonoma County, Northern California, has a population under 8000. Occupy Sebastopol (OS) recently has been home to a bee-hive of activity in this town’s square that describes itself as “Peacetown, USA.”