Long before benefit corporations were established as a category of business empowered to allocate resources to more than maximizing profits, many companies took voluntary steps to aid their communities and their workers. Now, some of them are finding additional ways to expand their positive impacts through B-Corp certification.
Fetzer Vineyards has a long. proud history of modeling sustainability within their industry. Yet through the B Labs' certification process, says Director of Regenerative Development Josh Prigge, they discovered how much more they could be doing.
In an era of expanding corporate hegemony, a growing number of smaller businesses are seeking to boost their image—and revenues—through good behavior, as “benefit corporations.” Bruce Robinson reports on the standards that have been developed to encourage and measure those efforts.
Benefit corporations offer an alternative to the conventional corporate model, which, Heather Paulsen observes, is virtually compelled to consider little but its own interests.
Micro-grids are scaled-down versions of the giant network that delivers electricity across huge distances to thousands of customers. They hold great promise for both utilizing renewable power and serving remote or isolated populations. And an important testing ground for this emerging technology is a local vineyard.
Stone Edge Farm is part of a group of related businesses that are each exploring ways to adapt renewable energy technologies to their operations. Ryan Stoltenberg runs through the various applications.
It’s been a long wait for the SMART Train to start rolling through Sonoma and Marin Counties, and while the official launch of the commuter service is still pending, there was a large and enthusiastic turnout for the first day of free preview rides yesterday.
There was a wide span of ages aboard the SMART Train preview ride that KRCB joined, from seniors who remembered regular rail service many years ago to an infant, who made the trip easier for her parents, Kalila Nosker and Sean Hogue, by sleeping through a good bit of it.
Bicycle sharing hubs could be installed at central points, from Santa Rosa to Larkspur, under a bi-county proposal being submitted to the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Bruce Robinson takes a look ahead.
Details about how the program will work will depend on which one of several vendors is selected to operate it for the counties. But Bjorn Greipenberg of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition says there are two primary models currently in use.
While much attention has been focused recently on federal health care policy, California lawmakers have advanced a bill to create a new “single payer” system here, one that would take insurance companies out of the picture altogether. Advocates for the bill made the case for it at a Town Hall meeting in Healdsburg last night.
For over 100 years, amateur or “Ham” radio has been a hobby for people from pre-teens to seniors. This weekend, the American Radio Relay League will sponsor a field day to celebrate and promote ham radio. Sonoma County Radio Amateurs – representing the area's nearly 25-hundred licensed operators – will host the event in Santa Rosa.
Rattlesnakes are part of our landscape, and while they are indeed poisonous, they need not be feared and killed, but can be relocated to less populous areas. We hear more about them today from a man who does just that, and is known as Sonoma County's “snake whisperer.”
Rattlesnakes and gopher snakes are often confused, but Al Wolfe, Founder and Director of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue, explains that the poisonous rattler can be readily distinguished if you know what to look for.
As the impacts of high-end tourism stir increasing debate in Healdsburg, a new exhibit at the local museum traces the history of that industry in the north county area.
The large display that greets visitors to the “Destination Healdsburg" exhibit is a detailed recreation of a block of the storefronts that faced the downtown plaza roughly 80 years ago. Curator Holly Hoods says it’s the work of a uniquely skilled volunteer.
Almost 60 years after it first sailed into the South Pacific to protest nuclear weapons testing, the sailboat Golden Rule is spending the weekend in Bodega Bay with an updated message on the same issue.
Following their arrival in Bodega Bay this morning, the crew of the Golden Rule will host a public forum on nuclear policy Saturday evening will be in Santa Rosa. See this link for details
California‘s agricultural bounty feeds millions, but much of that is made possible by legions of little-seen farmworkers. A new collection of oral histories lets them tell their own stories.
Through his conversations with the agricultural workers featured in Chasing the Harvest, journalist Gabriel Thompson reveals that despite the undeniable challenges they face, these are people who find much to appreciate about their lives.
Falcons are a proven deterrent to the birds than can raid and damage ripening grapes. Now a North Bay innovator with a background in bird management is promoting a look-alike kite to do the same job.
Roger Snow ofFalcon Crop Management, the new company he has formed to promote the Falcon Fright Kites, believes they are a far more effective --and economical--deterrent than any of the commonly used alternatives that are currently available.
Sheep can chew down grasses that might later burn, snack on unwanted poison oak, and fertilize the soil as they go. And they can co-exist with human users of parklands while doing all that.
Sheep are an alternative to using tractors dragging discs to plow grass under and create firebreaks. But unlike the machines, says Aaron Gilliam, the sheep will graze around ground-level bird nests, and positively coexist with the native fauna in other ways, too.
The Gold Rush brought tens of thousands of dreamers, seekers, entrepreneurs and charlatans into California, each, it seems with a story to tell. A new non-fiction book samples dozens of these first-person accounts to create a multi-faceted portrait of a tumultuous time.
The Gold Rush was covered in great detail and enthusiasm by the newspapers of the day, and those accounts can still be found today. Bu for accuracy and detail, historian Gary Noy cautions that they should be read with a certain amount of skepticism.
For the first time in more than 35 years, the head of the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission is an elected official from Sonoma County: longtime Rohnert Park city councilman and current mayor Jake MacKenzie.
Smooth surface areas on some large rocks on the Sonoma Coast might be a remnant of prehistoric animals rubbing against them, but definitive evidence to justify the popular name given to these Mammoth Rocks” has been elusive.
Since he began looking into this issue, the now-retired archeologist has found several other similarly polished rock surfaces not too far from his first discovery. And after a paper Parkman wrote about his explorations was published, he heard about still more such locations in other states.
Santa Rosa voters will decide a controversial rent control measure next Tuesday, one that has drawn big spending from the opposition and dominated political dialog for weeks. But there’s a second item on the ballot as well: Measure D, which would set new tax rates for cannabis businesses within the city.
Here's how Santa Rosa breaks down their anticipated costs for governing legalized cannabis within the city.
That plume of smoke rising from the Bouverie Preserve near Glen Ellen late Tuesday morning was a carefully watched experiment in applying a land management technique that goes back thousands of years.
The fire took about three hours to burn across the designated 17 acre area. That was ample time for any affected wildlife to leave the area or take cover underground, says ACR Fire Ecologist Sasha Berleman, while deer, when they return, will find a more hospitable landscape.
A new film biography of 1960s songwriter and record producer Bert Berns is out to raise awareness of his behind-the-scenes contributions to popular music. It’s named for the record label Berns launched and ran: Bang.
Bert Berns drew a lot of attention within the record industry in New York during his short, intense career. He was already dead—in 1967, of a chronic heart condition, at age 38—when San Francisco music writer Joel Selvin began noticing Berns' body of work.
Sir Francis Drake, a critical figure in British naval history, left his mark on this region’s history as well. He visited the Pacific coast of North America during his circumnavigation of the globe in the late 1570s, several decades before the Mayflower sailed.
The opportunities for Sonoma County’s older residents to get out and enjoy our local environment were promoted and demonstrated yesterday in an event called “Age Out Loud, Age Outside,” a convergence of demographics, recreation, and thinking ahead.
Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas’s six-plus years in office have been tumultuous on multiple fronts. Now a group of local activists is pushing to recall him, even before his announced retirement at the end of his current term next year.
The most alarming complaints raised against the Sheriff's office in the past year involve the prolonged, brutal treatment of inmates at the Sonoma County Jail. Community Action Coalition member Kathleen Finnegan calls it torture.
For vineyards, dry farming means no irrigation, relying only on what Nature provides—with an assist from composting and other supportive measures. An experienced practitioner shared his insights at an on-site workshop Tuesday morning.
Using cover crops to add organic material to the soil is another important step in Bernier's dry-farming process.
In recent years, lower summertime flows in the Russian River have been necessary for water conservation as well as the benefit of young salmon preparing to head out to sea. But this year, with ample water available, the calculus may be different.
The county water agency will hold its annual community meeting on the condition and management of Russian River estuary Monday night in Monte Rio. You can find details about that here.
Recycling is up in California. So is composting. But we are still sending millions of tons of garbage to landfills. Various ways to cut that back were on the agenda at a Zero Waste Symposium at SoMo Village Thursday.