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Bayview community garden program in peril as funding dries up

Leigh Cuen, SF Public Press — Mar 19 2012 - 12:05pm

Responding to food insecurity, neighbors cultivate network of plots to provide locally grown bounty and education

This story appears in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

The Quesada Gardens Initiative, which has helped green and revitalize one of San Francisco’s most economically neglected neighborhoods, is struggling to survive as funding is running dry. Formed in 2002 as a community-building effort by Bayview residents, it has gone on to transform portions of the community, spreading through vacant lots, backyards and community spaces. It has also begun to produce significant quantities of food for a neighborhood where the available of healthy options is limited.

Bay Area's urban planning must address public health, says study

Bernice Yeung, California Watch — Jan 16 2012 - 4:06pm

For nearly four years, Cassandra Martin lived in West Oakland, a few blocks from two freeways and the city’s port. This has made her an accidental expert on air pollution. “I used to wonder what that black stuff was on the windowsill,” said Martin, who was diagnosed with asthma in 2009. “I would constantly wipe the walls and windowsills, but it would get so caked with soot. That’s a reason I was wondering about particulate matter.”

Ocean Beach Master Plan envisions big changes for Great Highway

Jon Brooks, KQED News — Nov 8 2011 - 12:00pm

Have you heard about the Ocean Beach Master Plan? The San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR) is facilitating a coordinated effort among multiple agencies to create a "sustainable long-range plan" for San Francisco's shoreline. Why do we need a plan? Because erosion of the beach and anticipated rising sea levels may necessitate major changes in the infrastructure that serves the area.

Construction begins on largest restoration in San Pablo Bay refuge

Juliet Grable, Bay Nature — Oct 27 2011 - 7:11pm

At first glance, Cullinan Ranch isn't much to look at. Bound by Dutchman Slough to the north and Highway 37 to the south, the Solano County property consists of 1,500 acres of low-lying fields, dotted with clumps of cattails and coyote brush. Only some earth-moving equipment parked on the site hints that this former farmland is about to become the largest restored marsh in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

New roots for green businesses

Brian Scoles, Earth Island Journal — Oct 24 2011 - 1:22pm

As the world economy increasingly collides with the limits of linear, “cradle-to-grave” production, more eyes are turning towards resource synergies, upcycling, and improved efficiencies to relieve some economic pressure and get more value with less waste. Take coffee. For every pound of coffee beans harvested (of which there were 17 billion in 2010, according to the International Coffee Organization), four pounds of pulp must be collected, and it is generally considered a waste product that is left in heaps to rot. But some companies, such as Equator Coffees & Teas and Thanksgiving Coffee, are supporting efforts to train farmers in Zimbabwe and Tanzania how to use coffee pulp as a substrate for growing oyster mushrooms.

Oakland's Claremont Canyon, 20 years after the fire

Daniel McGlynn, Bay Nature — Oct 20 2011 - 4:01pm

Standing above her home perched on the north slope of Claremont Canyon along the Berkeley-Oakland border, Marilyn Goldhaber points across the valley. Most of the houses on the other side were damaged or razed in the massive 1991 wildfire that burned 1,520 acres and torched 3,500 homes and apartments. Two decades later, residents are still trying to figure out how to deal with the reality of wildfire while also respecting and potentially restoring native habitats. 

Fur seals making a comeback on the Farallones

Juliet Grable, Bay Nature — Oct 10 2011 - 12:40pm

The rocky Farallones, 28 miles west of the Golden Gate, serve as a refuge for thousands of seabirds and five species of pinnipeds: elephant seals, harbor seals, California and Steller sea lions, and the northern fur seal. At one time, fur seals may have dominated the islands, but relentless hunting in the early 19th century exterminated most of the colony and sent the rest fleeing. Biologists have spotted individual seals over the years, but it wasn't until 1996 that the first fur seal pup was born on Southeast Farallon Island. Today hundreds of fur seals breed here, and the colony is growing exponentially. The high count for 2011 was 476 individuals, a 69 percent increase from the year before.

Governor signs bills to ban open carry of handguns, shark fin sales

Jerold Chinn and Richard Pestorich, SF Public Press — Oct 10 2011 - 11:18am

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed bills to make it illegal to openly carry handguns and to ban the sale and possession of shark fins in California. The shark fin bill goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013 while the open carry ban begins Jan 1, 2012. The shark bill has been a controversial topic in the past few months, with state Sen. Leland Yee, who is running for San Francisco mayor, calling the ban “insensitive to the Chinese culture” when the bill was introduced by Assemblyman Paul Fong in February.

Legislature bans sale of shark fins

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Sep 7 2011 - 3:43pm

Shark fin soup soon will be off the menu in California. A law banning the sale, possession and distribution of shark fins passed in the state Senate on a 25-9 vote on Tuesday. A companion bill that makes exceptions for taxidermy and scientific research passed 28-8. The bill already passed the Assembly in May, and it is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. California follows Washington, Hawaii and Oregon in passing similar legislation.

Restoring Presidio’s native plants is painstaking process

Erica Gies, SF Public Press — Aug 29 2011 - 3:07pm

Extreme biodiversity, coupled with the surrounding extreme urbanism, makes the Presidio arguably the epicenter of native plant restoration in the West. The 2.3 square mile park, formerly an Army base, is home to 600 plants, more variety than in most states. It owes this biodiversity to its San Francisco location, a city at a biogeographic crossroads. At the Presidio, Betty Young leads a team of botanists that collect and grow native plants as part of a painstakingly precise attempt to restore the park’s native habitat.

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