Archive for April 2012 | Monthly archive page

 

Across the nation, as male farmers age and “buy the farm” as it were, their female counterparts are inheriting acres of valuable cropland.  Many ladies are returning from careers away from the vegetable patch, adjusting their livelihoods to keep property in the family.

Growing food is a tricky business, and managing a large plot of soil can be a challenging endeavor.  Traditionally, farm bureaus and other resources where women could go for information and advice have been male-dominated.  Being a novice at anything can be intimidating, and asking questions in a room where you are an outsider both in experience and gender can make for  awkward interactions.  Understanding these situations, many female biologists, ecologists, and veteran farmers have initiated all-women collectives and groups for their fellow sisters to come and glean information.  As of 2007, a full 14 per cent of the country’s farms were owned by women, and the numbers are growing.

Here in San Luis Obispo county, there are a number of resources for women in agriculture.

San Luis Obispo Farm County Bureau Women: Officially founded in 1923, the San Luis Obispo Farm County Bureau Women organization is open to female members of the Farm Bureau, friends, and invited members.  Scholarships are available for landholders and their dependents are available and awarded based on academic achievement, educational goals, and financial necessity.

California Women for Agriculture: Located in Templeton, the San Luis Obispo chapter of California Women for Agriculture promotes the education and economic success of female farmers in the county through sales and agricultural tourism.  They support outreach community programs that enhance consumer understanding of food production, speak on behalf of legislative initiatives, and provide information on food safety, trade,  climate change, endangered species, labor policies, and biotechnology, and environmental health.

The San Luis Obispo County Cattle Women: With over 200 members, the San Luis Obispo County CattleWomen chapter is the largest in the United States.  A small yearly membership fee keeps these representatives of the beef industry up to date on legislation as well as funding field trips for children, rodeos, and awards.  Many open their property to schools and trail riders looking to learn about and enjoy the agricultural spaces along the Central Coast.

Women of the Vine: Founded by a computer tech and marketing entrepreneur with a passion for food and drink, Women of the Vine seeks to connect and assist women across the wine producing areas across California.

 

 

 

Residents and visitors to San Francisco know that space is a highly valuable commodity.  Finding a parking space anywhere in the City by the Bay can be nothing short of a miracle, and owning a car feels more like a liability than an advantage.  Car shares such as Zipcar have become popular in recent years, allowing customers to pay a monthly fee to use vehicles on a trip-by-trip basis, letting someone else take care of maintenance, insurance, and garage space.

Now, for those looking for a more hip, compact form of transportation can rent a scooter from Scoot Networks for a fee that costs only slightly more than a MUNI pass.  Riders use their smartphones to locate the electric scooters in their area.  Once claimed, the phones sit in a special dock on the dashboard, unlocking the scooter and displaying information on speed, range, and direction.  Reaching top speeds of 20-30 mph, the scooters are perfect for short hops around the city, and have enough battery life to last for a work day before recharging back in their home parking spots.  (At the moment, scooters must be returned to their original pick-up points, but once the fleet expands, Scoot Networks hopes to facilitate more one-way jaunts.)  To rent a moped, California drivers do not need to obtain a special endorsement on their licenses, and the company plans on offering training for customers who are unfamiliar with operating the vehicles.

By taking advantage of China’s huge investment in electric vehicles, CEO Michael Keating has been able to benefit from the volume of moped production and pay only $1,000 per vehicle.  This relatively small price-tag will let Scoot Networks turn over its fleet every year so users can avoid worrying about mechanical problems due to wear.  Scoot Networks will begin by providing rides to private corporate clients before taking their service public by the end of the year.  Next time you visit the Land of Fog and Clam Chowder, look for the newest trend in city travel!

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