Using chicken manure to create electricity, and the benefits of getting to know your local farmer. These were among the myriad topics covered at a conference yesterday on "Preserving Agriculture in the Face of Climate Change."
Farming organically is a good thing, says Paul Kaiser of Sebastopol's Singing Frogs Farm (speaking in a windy corner outside the conference). But it's not necessarily the same thing as farming sustainably.
Sonoma County's small farms are impressively productive, Kaiser adds. That's the good news. The downside is that most of that produce gets shipped out of county, eroding the benefits of growing it locally.
CSA subscriptions have seen enormous growth in the past decade, benefiting small farmers here and across the country. Yet they are still often seen as an expensive, luxury purchase, which Kaiser contends is exactly backwards.
The manure-fueled methane plant is more officially known as a "bio-gas" generating facility. Amy Bolten of the Sonoma County Water Agency says the basic process is being implemented at various sites across the county. But this one adds a new wrinkle.