Call for Graduate Student Grant Proposals in Sustainable Agriculture

Congress has defined sustainable agriculture as an integrated system of plant and animal production practices. The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is seeking grant proposals for graduate student projects on sustainable agriculture that will include research and education components and can produce measurable results. Students will consult with farmers and ranchers from germination through completion, produce educational materials, and share their goals, activities and findings with producers and other stakeholders. The deadline for proposals is May 13th. To learn more, click here.

Blessings in a Backpack – Because Hunger Doesn’t Take Weekends Off

Blessings in a Backpack provides elementary schoolchildren (who are on the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal Program) with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year. Backpack food includes easy-to-prepare, ready-to-eat foods, like granola bars, juice boxes, mac and cheese, and oatmeal. There are 20+ million children in our country at risk of hunger. The consequences of poor nutrition can result in a weaker immune system, increased hospitalization, lower IQ, shorter attention spans, and lower academic achievement. Blessings in a Backpack is a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding the future of America, one school at a time. They’re currently feeding more than 72,000 children in 44 states. The program is a hybrid of private sector funding and public partnership carried out in public schools. To learn more, click here.

Sustainable Cotton Project

Since 1996, the Sustainable Cotton Project, based in Winters, has been dedicated to the production and promotion of sustainably grown domestic cotton fiber. In the field, they work with innovative growers to produce a high-quality fiber without using the most toxic pesticides and herbicides, and connect growers, manufacturers and consumers, to develop a cleaner supply chain. Their mission is to lessen the toll that the soil-to-shirt cotton production process takes on the earth’s air, water, and soil, and the health of people in cotton growing areas. To learn more, click here.

FIBERSHED – Supporting Regenerative Fiber Systems

Where were your clothes grown & sewn? Where were the yarns farmed? Where was the fiber ranched? Was the color grown or was it mined? These are just a few of the important questions Fibershed wants us to consider as we begin taking stock of our personal impacts on the planet, including climate change, and fresh water degradation. As a non-profit organization, they’re dedicated to building a bridge between people and the raw materials that clothe them, through education, research and laying the foundation for regenerative fiber systems. Mary Pettis-Sarley produces a line of yarn called Twirl, made from the fiber of animals on her Napa Valley ranch, with some of the yarns dyed in her fermentation indigo vat, some dyed with the plants from her land, and some in the natural fiber colors. Her yarns can often be found at the Fibershed farmers’ market stands. Click here to learn more.

Bay Area Food Recovery Program Launches Partnership with Specialty Retailer

Food Shift, a nonprofit organization focused on reducing culinary waste and increasing sustainability, has partnered with San Francisco Grocer Andronico’s, to curb food waste on a grand scale. The program, which collected 1,400 pounds of food on its first day in January, drops excess produce, groceries, and even floral to St. Vincent de Paul, a local soup kitchen that also trains disadvantaged people in the culinary arts. FoodShift conducts pickups three times a week, an effort that will not only divert food waste from landfills and feed people in need but also save money through waste removal savings and tax breaks. To learn more about this innovative program, click here.

How Reducing Food Waste Could Ease Climate Change

Producing the food we throw away generates more greenhouse gases than most entire countries do. More than a third of all of the food produced on our planet never reaches a table. It’s either spoiled in transit or thrown out by consumers, who typically buy too much and toss the excess. This works out to roughly 1.3 billion tons of food, worth nearly $1 trillion at retail prices. Read more about this issue here.


TEDxNapaValley has announced its speaker lineup for the 2015 live conference, scheduled for Sunday, April 12, at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater in Yountville. TED began in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design. Since then, it has become even broader and the whole mission of the nonprofit foundation that owns TED is to leverage the power of good ideas and let them spread as widely and effectively as possible. The ‘x’ in ‘TEDx’ stands for “independently organized events”. One of the key speakers at this year’s TEDx Napa Valley Conference will be Eileen Gordon Chiarello, founder of Barnraiser, a community that powers the good food movement one project at a time. She and her husband, Chef and TV host Michael Chiarello, are proprietors of the sustainably-farmed Chiarello Vineyards in Napa Valley, the acclaimed Bottega & Coqueta restaurants, Emmy-winning Food Network shows and the NapaStyle brand. Each venture celebrates everyday rituals around the table, a legacy Eileen believes we must leave to future generations. Her passion for young people, story, and sustainability led her to create Dirt-to-Dine Adventure Camps for kids at Connolly Ranch before launching Barnraiser in 2014. Learn more about the conference and all of the inspiring speakers they have lined up here.

Asian Cuisines Lead Today’s Biggest Trends

The visionary folks at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone in St. Helena, recognize that Asia is setting the stage for 21st-century culinary exploration and challenging today’s chefs and restaurateurs around the world to re-imagine possibilities around menu design, recipe development, and flavor discovery. Firmly grounded at the intersection of tradition and innovation, today’s chefs are using unparalleled techniques and ingredients to create delicious and imaginative dishes. The 17th Worlds of Flavor® International Conference and Festival, April 22–24, 2015, will shed new light on how a variety of Asian cuisines are evolving in both their national and international incarnations. Read more.