business

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. 

Genetic analysis of varying cannabis strains may aid in the development of narrowly targeted pharmaceutical products. But using the same tool to protect generic strains could help hold prices down.

Phylos Bioscience

Cannabis has been cultivated and used by humankind for centuries. Now the industry’s challenge is understanding and applying that history.

Cannabis arrived in North America from at least two different directions, but how that evolved into the plants that grow here today is not yet clear, says Phylos Biosciences’ Mowgli Holmes.

As his team has collected and analyzed samples from hundreds of cannabis plants and products, Holmes says one unexpected finding has emerged.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Yet another indication that the cannabis industry is already large and diverse in and around Santa Rosa:  a business-oriented trade shows now underway at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

As the annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference marked its 12th year this week, a recurring thread was the many ways these ideas have taken hold in the wider economy.

An informational meeting about the expanding business of agri-tourism drew an intensely interested cross section of farmers, promoters and others to the Petaluma Community Center yesterday. 

Tim Zahner, Chief Marketing Officer for the Sonoma County Tourism office, says that the agricultural and culinary diversity of Sonoma County is one of the area’s greatest attractions.

Nancy Fiddler sees expanding operations to bring more visitors to her Rollin’ F Ranch near Sebastopol as a critical step to maintain her business viability.

California’s major public institutions would be required to weigh greenhouse gas emissions into their budget analyses when purchasing materials for large infrastructure projects, under a proposed new bill unveiled this week.

Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Center for Climate Protection in Santa Rosa, Was cheered by the proposed legislation's approach, and its intent to include transportation costs in the assessments to be required.

The process of setting up a new composting operation in Sonoma is finally taking its first steps. But in the meantime, both residents and compost users are paying significantly more.

Cultivators of cannabis breed their plants for specific characteristics—potency, medicinal efficacy, even appearance. Today we meet someone whose emphasis is primarily on flavors—which can be manipulated in some divergent directions.

Cannabis has long been combined with other things in foods—brownies being a classic example. But Jay Michaels says his cross-breeding efforts have been able to simulate the tastes of some other foods—and quite a range of them.

 

The 2016 Wine Industry Expo at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds yesterday included workshops on marketing to Millennials, legislative issues, and harvest methodologies. But the panel discussion on “Marijuana and Wine” may have drawn the biggest crowd.

Public Banking Institute

A municipal public bank wouldn’t pay bonuses and dividends, and could have a more flexible relationship with federal regulators. All good reasons, says a local supporter of the alternative fiscal businesses, for creating one to serve the region’s cannabis industry.

Marc Armstrong co-founded the Public Banking Institute.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Eighty-five years in 400 pages—with plenty of pictures included. That’s what entrepreneur, philanthropist and music lover Don Green has packed into his newly published memoir. 

When Don Green elected to leave his position with the General post Office in London and venture into the business world, many of his then-associates were shocked, he recalls. But it was a pivotal and life-changing decision.

  As cannabis transitions into a full-fledged industry, some of the big challenges that producers and purveyors face lie in the legal realm of intellectual property, such as trademarks and patents.

   One way in which legal uncertainly lingers around cannabis, says Santa Rosa attorney Danny Zlatnik, depends on whether it is ultimately regulated only for medicinal uses, or if recreational use become sanctioned. The latter situation would create a more relaxed environment, he explains, while categorizing cannabis as a medical compound could greatly complicate matters.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Dining out with children who get overstimulated or impatient can present challenges for any parent; even more so for parents of children on the autism spectrum. A new program, being introduced in a few Santa Rosa area restaurants, is addressing that situation.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  With new legislation at last providing uniform statewide guidelines for medical marijuana in California, and the possibility of legalizing recreational use on the November ballot, cannabis is attaining new visibility in the business community. But that is accompanied by a great deal of uncertainty, which was a big part of the discussion at a Cannabis Impact conference in Rohnert Park this week.

Sonoma Cast Stone

  In their perpetual quest for new and better winemaking tools and methods, some Northern California vintners have been turning to something that is almost as old as wine itself.

Food and Water Watch

The subtitle of Wenonah Hauter’s new book is, “The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment.” Its subject is fracking.

Setting the stage for her indictment of fracking, Food and Water Watch founder and CEO Wehnonah Hauter devotes the opening chapters of Frackopoly to a concise, critical history of the industry that promotes it.

Sustainability is on the rise in Sonoma County’s vineyards, and that movement is gathering attention much further afield.

    To assist local vineyards in moving toward sustainability, the Sonoma County Winegrowers organization has compiled a fat binder of best practices, many of them developed by a team at UC Davis. It’s not a series of steps that must be taken, says Executive Director Karissa Kruse; more like a menu of possible actions.

For the first time in 20 years, a new Economic Development District has been formed in California. It’s a partnership between two North Coast counties that has quietly gathering momentum over the past couple of years.

You can find the Economic Development District's  survey here, in both English and Spanish.The deadline for completing it is April 21.

United Nations

Dell Computers has a workforce of 100,000 people in 160 different countries. So they look for entrepreneurial ideas both externally and within.

The “triple bottom line” (people, planet and profit) is increasingly at the core of entrepreneurialism all over the world, observes Elizabeth Gore, leaving new businesses in the United States, to some degree, in the unfamiliar position of playing catch-up.

  It has to be used sparingly, but flour made from dried grape skins and seeds is both healthy and nutritious. And it’s starting to catch on.

The first local commercial use of grape skin flour was in making gluten-free cookies,  recalls Tom Keener, co-founder of Wild California.

  Longevity and the changing nature of retirement was a central topic at the annual Economic Outlook Conference at Sonoma State Wednesday morning. But a short-term look at the local economy was part of the program, too.

 As the remainder of the demographic bulge known as Baby Boomers head into retirement, Age Wave CEO Ken Dychtwald says they are increasingly redefining that that means.

 

 

Researchers in Novato and elsewhere may have found a way to slow aging in human tissues. The concept is so promising that a new biotech start-up has been launched to put it into practice.

Once the senescent cells are dead, explains Campisi, the body has natural mechanisms to dispose of them.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  The presentation of the annual State of Sonoma County Report was enlivened this year by boisterous protests from a crowd of county workers unhappy with ongoing contract negotiations. But that wasn’t the biggest news to come out of the event.

If you think you’ve been seeing more electric cars on local roads in the past year, you’re right. Today’s North Bay Report examines the factors behind this trend.

The leading reasons given for EV purchases are shown in the graphic below.

From origins as a  WW II relic to a community fund-raising rescue, and now a new collective ownership, the story of the Rio Theater could be told on the big screen inside. But we get it instead from reporter Ryan Miller.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Creative and entrepreneurial students at Sonoma State now have a new outlet for the goods they make, a student-run store that is now open on their campus. 

North Bay Corporation

  Expanded recycling programs, such as here in Sonoma County, have succeeded in cutting the waste stream going into the dump. But the economics behind them are not working out as expected. And that is leading to some reconsideration.

Long-time recycling advocate Mike Anderson, the current chair of the Sonoma County Solid Waste Management Task Force, contends that one factor in North Bay Corporation’s higher-than-permitted volume of “residuals” at their Standish Avenue sorting facility is the age of the equipment in use there.

  The 4th Annual North Coast Wine Industry Expo drew a record crowd to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds yesterday. Beyond the 600+ vendors filling the two largest buildings, the event featured a series of panels, beginning with an assessment of the State of the North Coast Wine Industry.

Byte

  

  At most workplaces, breakroom food options are processed, carb-heavy, stale and limited. Byte is a North Bay start-up that is out to change all of that.

  Because of the healthful selection of food they offer, Byte founder and CEO Megan Mokri says their service meshes well with workplace wellness programs.

Pages