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Big-Time Preservation, Thanks to Carbon Credits

A 19,000-acre area in Sonoma County is spared from vineyard and housing development
Carbon credits were essential to funding the big costs that come along with managing such large tracts. The nonprofit’s best estimate is that the credits will yield “several hundred thousand dollars” in annual income, based on similar deals on other parcels. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

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Food Prices at Center of Debate Over GMO Labeling in Prop 37

Proposition 37, the state ballot measure requiring labels on genetically modified food, has revived a long-simmering debate about whether genetically modified food harms human health or the environment. But it’s the claim by opponents that food prices would increase that is riling proponents.

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Mien farmers cultivate their own garden in East Oakland

In the heart of East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is an incongruous reminder of California’s Mexican past: 6 acres of open space in a sea of single-family homes. What was once a massive ranchero now features a Victorian house surrounded by carefully tended vegetable gardens. Ben Glickstein is director of outreach here. He says back in 1820, Antonio Peralta had big agricultural dreams for this stretch of land that slopes down to Peralta Creek. “And we’re still using this for agriculture, for food, here in the middle of this pretty urban neighborhood.”

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Little old ladies set up shop selling ‘free’ food on streets of S.F.

With the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market gearing up across the street at 8:30 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, six elderly Asian women line up their wares across the front of the Grant Building and entreat pedestrians, calling softly: “Buy. You buy.” Canned Bartlett pears, bagged carrots and onions, boxes of Land O’ Lakes American cheese, packages of whole-wheat bagels, jars of Algood peanut butter, dried beans, sesame crackers and squat cans of evaporated milk were neatly displayed at their feet, along with grape juice and orange juice in plastic liters — clearly food obtained from community agencies’ free distribution programs.

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State bill would legalize selling home-cooked food

The California Homemade Food Act, AB1616, may be a game-changer for entrepreneurs who want to cook in their kitchen and sell on the street. Vendors who make breads, nut mixes, fruit butters, preserves and other foods that don’t spoil at room temperature would be able to legally cook from home if the bill passes.

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As work conditions shift, inhumanity of immigrant labor becomes human rights concern

Gabriel Thompson worked alongside immigrants in the back of restaurants in New York City and in factories that produced some of the most basic foods in the American diet: lettuce and chicken. Not an immigrant himself, Thompson used his investigative reporting techniques to lift a veil on working conditions that many undocumented immigrants and low-income Americans face daily. His colleagues experienced excruciating soreness from physical labor. They had no employee benefits. And they had to do monotonous and repetitive work, which led to a high rate of injuries. Thompson’s one-year immersion into the lives of working immigrants, documented in his recent book, “Working in the Shadows,” comes at a time when working conditions are changing. The immigrant workers are leaving the workplace under pressure from law enforcement, a trend that is forcing the employers to look for new ways of attracting workers.

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S.F. food providers scrambling to find money to pay for fresh goods as federal funds disappear

Because of the economic meltdown, an increasing number of San Francisco residents are finding themselves hungry and in need – and the agencies that would normally help fill those bellies are drastically cutting what they can provide. San Francisco social service agencies face another hard-hitting blow, as the San Francisco Food Bank, which supplies more than 400 local organizations with the majority of their food, is still reeling from the loss of federal funding.

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Seniors selling what they get from food banks

Visit the farmers market in downtown San Francisco on Sundays, and you may see, past the stands of organic lettuce and fresh flowers, a few elderly women hunched over a random assortment of condiments and canned goods. As security approaches, they quickly scatter, only to set up shop on the opposite corner a few moments later. According to several food pantries, elderly recipients of free food disbursements are turning around and selling the donations at various locations throughout San Francisco.