Healdsburg Gleaners “Rescue” Food for Pantries

Nov 14, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB


  Extra or unharvested produce doesn’t go to waste when Healdsburg’s Farm to Pantry gleaners go into action. 

Melita Love, who founded the Farm to Pantry Gleaners seven years ago, says they have been helped enormously by the many Healdsburg area farmers who make their unused fruit and vegetables available to the group.

  The gleaning group sends the biggest share of what they gather to their local food pantry, but Program Director Dani Wilcox says they seek out other hungry recipients as well.

Grants Boost Food Stamp Use at Farm Markets

Oct 7, 2015

There are 4.4 million food stamp recipients in California, and the participants in that program, now known as Cal Fresh are now able to use their benefits at many local farm markets. A new series of federal grants is out to expand those opportunities.

  It took some time for the use of electronic CalFresh cards to become easy and widespread in California, says Martin Borque, Executive Director of the Ecology Center in Berkeley. But that use was accelerated by some carefully negotiated measures to hold costs down.

You might remember the jump-rope rhyme “Rich man, poor man beggar man thief, doctor lawyer, indian chief” and regular listeners to Word By Word: Conversations With Writers know that host Gil Mansergh has interviewed writers who who are rich and poor, who beg and steal, heal people, defend people and serve as Chairman of a local Native American tribe.

But Gil has never had a celebrity chef as his guest.

Bees Still Facing Multiple Threats

Sep 8, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

In its fourth year at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds, the National Heirloom Expo is bigger and more diverse than ever. And in addition to the vast array of fruits and vegetables on display, attention is being paid to the tiny animals that make all that abundance possible -- bees.

The Heirloom Expo continues through Thursday evening at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Follow these links to find a schedule of speakers and  musical performances and other special activities.

Banning Bids to Label GMO Foods

Aug 5, 2015

Grass-roots campaigns to require labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients could be overruled by a Congressional measure that would prohibit them nationwide. That bill has passed the lower house by a wide margin, but still faces a fight in the Senate.

  Supporters of HR 1599 are portraying it as a “voluntary GMO labeling bill.”  Attorney Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety, acknowledges that there is language to that effect in the measure, but contends it was drafted to be ineffective.

The Next Generation of Food

Jun 30, 2015


  A website offering positive reinforcement for close-to-home food choices is out to bolster the economic viability of local agriculture.

When Evan Wiig, Director of the Farmers Guild in the North Bay, talks about their new Follow the Rooster campaign, an example he likes to cite is the little Estero Café in Valley Ford.

 Although the Farmers Guild has labeled their new efforts the Next Generation of Food, it’s not really about demographics at all, observes Terry Garrett, co-manager of Go Local.

Capital Public Radio / Andrew NIxon

This 1-hour documentary brings you first-person stories of people coping with food insecurity in one of the country's richest agricultural regions. Hidden Hunger explores the daily struggles of children, adults and seniors who live in overlooked neighborhoods of south Sacramento, where the stigma of poverty and hunger is high.

Schooling McDonald's on Localism

Mar 13, 2015

  Filming a TV spot for a McDonald's egg sandwich in Petaluma may have seemed cute to their marketing team—and the former Egg Basket of the World does look good in it—but the fast food giant is getting some pushback from local advocates for localism.

You can see the full McDonald's ad, and the hometown response to it, below.

Sonoma County’s Hunger Index

Feb 18, 2015
Redwood Empire Food Bank

 Sonoma County is widely known for the quality and variety of foods and beverages grown and produced here. But a lot of people aren’t able to enjoy that bounty. A public forum Thursday afternoon hopes to refocus attention on the problem and what can be done to address it.

 Sonoma County’s 35.5 million missed meals in 2014 is a stunningly large number. Gail Atkins, Director of Programs for the Redwood Empire Food Bank, explains how it was calculated.


Environmental Groups Sue State Over Pesticide Plan

Jan 30, 2015

  A sweeping plan to give the California Department of Food Agriculture free rein in applying pesticides statewide is being contested by a broad coalition of food and environmental groups that contend it violates the state’s Environmental Quality Act.

   During the public comment period, before the environmental document was finalized, thousands of people offered thoughts, suggestions and feedback. Yet very little of that was acknowledged, says Nan Wishner of the California Environmental Health Imitative.

‘Upcycling’ surplus tomatoes

Nov 26, 2014
Kate Webber Photography (

  Better than just recycling, “upcycling” uses waste materials to create new products with increased value. Laci Sandoval is doing exactly that with surplus tomatoes.

Laci Sandoval says the success of her pilot partnership with County Line Harvest is not a business she intends to pursue for herself, but a demonstration model for other, smaller farmers in the area.


Humane Society of the United States

  Three groups are suing the FDA over their approval of new combinations of growth enhancing drugs for farm animals, many of which have been banned in Europe, China and Russia.  Lori Abbott has details.

The greenest turkey dinner? Hunt for your own

Nov 6, 2014
Flickr user Len Blumin

Want an organic, free-range, no-antibiotic turkey this Thanksgiving? Consider hunting for your own.  

In California wild turkeys are on the move: invading urban areas where they become a nuisance and expanding into northern areas at higher elevations. 

Color-coded Cues to Food Safety

Oct 27, 2014

  A new, more visible system of testing and displaying food safety results for restaurants, food trucks and other vendors is due to roll out across Sonoma County next year. Already, the County Health Department has been holding some informational; workshops to let people know about it. And now there’s a radio interview as well.

Tending the Harvest for the Hungry Garden

Oct 8, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  A passion for gardening is only part of what drives the volunteers whose Harvest for the Hungry garden in Santa Rosa donates thousands of pounds of fresh organic produce to local non-profits, year-round. 

Because the produce grown there is donated, not sold, the Harvest for the Hungry garden relies heavily on its yearly spring plant sale for operating expenses. Volunteer Katy Torgerson says one of the attractions they offer is a huge array of tomato varieties.

Food System Innovations Showcased

Sep 17, 2014

  This is North Bay Innovation Week in Sonoma County, which suggests a lot of new technologies. But innovation is also about new ways of doing long-established things, too, and that includes how we produce and prepare the foods we eat. Go Local is hosting a pair of presentations which look at innovations in that sector. Here’s  a preview.

Heirloom Expo Looks Back, Forward

Sep 10, 2014

  The 4th annual Heirloom Expo got underway at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds yesterday. KRCB News Director Bruce Robinson paid a visit and talked with one of the event’s co-founders.

The 4th annual Heirloom Expo continues through tomorrow. You can find a full schedule of events here.

Need for Food Aid High in Rural California

Aug 13, 2014
U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

  Food stamps are often seen as a benefit for urban families who need nutritional assistance. But as Lori Abbott reports, that's not an accurate picture of where the need is proportionately greatest in California.

'Gluten-free' Labeling Standards Now In Effect

Aug 8, 2014

  Nearly 10 years in the making, new FDA rules governing what is required for products to be labeled as “gluten-free” took effect this week. That’s become a popular dietary preference for many consumers, but for some, it can literally be a matter of life and death.

The Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California has more information about the gluten-free labeling issue on their website.

Crafting A Lexicon of Sustainability

Jun 30, 2014

When we talk about something—food, for instance—it’s essential that we all understanding the same meanings for the words we use. That’s the reasoning behind the Lexicon of Sustainability.

There’s another way that language shapes the food choices in his own home, explains Douglas Gayeton.

    Food, of course, extends beyond agriculture, as does the importance of sustainability. One important example is fish.

Summer Lunch Program Seeks Volunteers

May 19, 2014
REdwood Empire Food Bank

  The school year is almost over, and with summer vacation comes the summer lunch program provided by the Redwood Empire Food Bank. But providing that service takes a corps of volunteers, and more are always needed. Today’s segment has all the details about how to get involved.

That training session Vanessa mentioned happens this coming Thursday. Find additional details, or sign up to volunteer here.

Bake Fair to Boost World Fair Trade Day

May 9, 2014

Global Fair Trade items include many foodstuffs, with coffee and chocolate leading the way. They all are getting some extra attention tomorrow, as Santa Rosa’s Fair Trade campaign hosts a special sort of Bake-off.

Click here to find out more.

Evans' Bill Seeks GMO Food Labeling

Mar 30, 2014

 Two years ago, a ballot measure that would have required labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients was narrowly defeated by California voters. Now that same issue is being debated by the state legislature, in the form of a bill authored by a local legislator.

Made Local, Volume 2

Mar 16, 2014

The second quarterly issue of the new Made Local magazine is out (read it here). It’s written and edited by Gretchen Giles, former long-time editor of the North Bay Bohemian, who stopped by to talk about it with KRCB’s Bruce Robinson.

Beginning farmers taught business savvy

Feb 16, 2014
Image courtesy Vince Trotter

Farmers love working the land, but often need help learning to plan and market their business. A local program is teaching aspiring farmers the business skills they need for success. 

The program, called the Sonoma County Agropreneurship's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Training Program, is looking for aspiring farmers with 1-10 years of experience. The training teaches them to formulate business plans, market products and connects trainees with experienced mentors. 

Huge Beef Recall Questioned

Feb 13, 2014

  The sweeping order by the USDA earlier this week, demanding the recall of 8.7 million pounds of beef butchered by Petaluma’s Rancho Feeding Corporation—an entire year’s output—has sent shock waves through the North Bay’s meat producers. Many are customers of the respected Sonoma County facility, and deeply skeptical about the federal agency’s action.  On today’s Exchange, KRCB’s Bruce Robinson talks with one of them.

Farm Shorts

Dec 23, 2013

Small-scale, sustainable farming is a more-than full-time occupation, which leaves little time for marketing and promotion. So a local filmmaker is stepping in to help out. KRCB’s Bruce Robinson talked with her.

A Napa chicken rancher is the subject of one of the first Farm Shorts videos to be completed.

Convenience Shop Meets Health Food Store

Dec 17, 2013
Susan Butler

One Sebastopol woman is working to make eating healthy and locally as easy as stopping at the convenience store for a bag of chips. We visit a the construction site of a local business aiming to change the way food is bought and sold in Sonoma County. Susan Butler is starting Locastore -- a micro-franchise focusing on local-only products. 

Watch a video about Susan Butler's Locastore project, or donate to the project at

Holiday Food Drive is Underway

Nov 27, 2013

  One perennial aspect of the holiday season that always begins even before Thanksgiving is the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s collection drive. It’s underway and will continue through the end of the year and beyond. Bruce Robinson talks about it with Food Bank Executive Director David Goodman.

Made Local magazine debuts

Nov 20, 2013

There are countless interesting stories within Sonoma County’s farms and food, and a glossy new publication is out to find and tell them. Made Local magazine released its first issue this week.

To read the full issue online, click here.