Posts Tagged ‘central coast’

Lush, green, and hardy, bamboo sets the stage for the perfect garden getaway. When planted in thickets, the grass forms walls that provide privacy and quiet. When in clumps, bamboo is an excellent highlight to just about any backyard.

You already know who’s got the best selection of bamboo clothing and textiles on the planet, but Paso Bamboo Farm and  Nursery is the only place on the Central Coast where you will find timber and exotic bamboos ready to be planted in your yard! The Nursery carries thirteen different species that tolerate extreme temperatures and are available in 5, 15, and 25 gallon containers, or can be dug to order. The staff is also able to create bamboo installations for home and business.

In addition to growing the their beautiful specimens of bamboo, the Nursery holds educational talks throughout the county. The owners love to inform the public as to the remarkable qualities of the plant. Easy to maintain, bamboo is an attractive way to sequester carbon and filter the air. Able to harvested for  building material, craft, or textiles, the giant green stalks are as practical as they are ornamental.

Interested green thumbs are encouraged to visit the Paso Bamboo Farm and Nursery at 5590 North River Road in Paso Robles. For more information, head over to their official site and discover a world of versatile, verdant bamboo!

Most Americans associate slavery with a shameful period in the country’s past. However, slavery still exists in many countries that engage in human trafficking. From the sex trade to agriculture and manufacturing, millions of people around the globe are forced into a life of servitude. The Mountainbrook Abolitionists of the Central Coast formed back in 2012 in response to this shameful and pervasive practice. The organization will hold the “Justice Summit: A Holistic Approach to Combating Human Trafficking” on Saturday and Sunday, November 15-17 at the Mountainbrook Community Church. The event will host a number of experts who will speak about their experiences as advocates for change. Guests will include Nola Brantley, founder of MISSEY, Jon Vanek, a specialist in law enforcement, Jocelyn White of the International Justice Mission, Dr. Melissa Farley, Carissa Phelps, the founder of Runway Girl, and others. Topics will cover faith-based community responses, first responders, psychology of trafficking, and restoration. Mountainbrook hopes their efforts will spark and awareness and generate practical solutions.

Tickets for the entire weekend cost $60 and can be purchased online. Single day passes are also available and scholarships can be obtained upon request. For admission and speaker schedules, please visit the Justice Summit website.

As human beings, we walk around the world as intelligent filters, taking in information and sensations to inform our thoughts and feelings. To make sense of such a gigantic universe, we create narratives. Being social creatures, we share these stories with one another to form community, pass along information, and reinforce cultural ideals.

Central Coast storytellers Zette Harbour and Grisel Puig Snider have teamed up once again to present the 2nd annual Peace Love Story Fest in Los Osos. The event whose theme is “Transforming Community” will take place on October 19th and 20th. The festival kicks off at 6pm on Saturday, followed by a community marshmallow roast sponsored by the Los Osos Valley Nursery. On Sunday, yarns start spinning at 10:30 am. Workshops, story swaps and performances will take place throughout the day at the Los Osos Community Center.

Zette Harbour started the PLSF in 2012 to celebrate the power of traditional storytelling. She joined Grisel Puig Snider, a native of Puerto Rico, who enjoyed weekly storytelling during her childhood. Both recognized how oral traditions helped to strengthen neighborhoods and ignite imaginations. Placing their celebration of oration in Los Osos, they have ensured that their yarns would be set in one of the most magical and beautiful areas in the state.

Tickets are available now and space is limited. Prices range from $5-24 and can be purchased through their website. For additional information contact Zette Harbour (805)441-6688 or visit

Luffa sponge


For a lovely lather, nothing beats a luffa. Whether you are washing yourself, your car, or a sink full of dishes, the dried plant makes a fantastic sponge. Organic and free of any synthetic material, the luffa is a great alternative to scrubbers made from foamed plastic polymers (and makes a perfect companion to your trusty bamboo washcloth!) If you have ever wondered how and where these household items are raised, take a trip down to Nipomo’s Luffa Farm. There, you can take a tour of the greenhouse where the plants are grown, view the production process, and meander through the gardens where the herbs for the farm’s bath products are cultivated.

The Luffa Farm began as an informal hobby of the owner who would establish the vines on small plots of land everywhere from Northern California to Missouri. In 1999, she moved down to the Central Coast along with a collection of heirloom luffa seeds. Thinking that she could grow enough to display her luffas at a local drugstore, she began raising luffas in a greenhouse on her property. Once word spread about the quality of her products, curious locals and tourists began to drop in to her farm. She began to offer tours of her operation, and visitors are welcome to learn a little about the luffa two days a week.

The Nipomo Luffa Farm currently grows and harvests over 6,000 luffas every year. The owner promises the softest and most luxurious sponges you have ever felt. The luffas are machine-washable, durable and biodegradable. The Luffa Farm is open to the public Wednesdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm and located at 1457 Willow Rd. in Nipomo. Products are available for sale at the farm or online.


Travelers to San Luis Obispo come to the area to relax, take in the scenery, and engage with the community. While there will always be the sort who prefer a hotel or spa, many tourists are choosing to stay in unique, rented spaces provided by residents of their destination. Visitors get to sample a little local flavor at rates significantly less than many large establishments or chains, and property owners can find a use for old rooms, boats, apartments, or cottages. Sites such as Airbnb help parties find one another and list their accommodations. However, many cities have laws that restrict this kind of transaction, and San Luis Obispo citizens are asking to be able to lease their living rooms. is hosting a petition to amend San Luis Obispo’s housing code to allow for short term rentals. The backers of the petition to City Council estimate that the county could see a $7.6 million annual increase in revenue as well as attract a wider demographic than just the wine drinking set. Homeowners are able to supplement the high cost of living in the county, and get to share their love of the region with others. Would you rent out your space?


When it comes to caring for the environment, we would all like to do the right thing. Whether it’s installing a solar array or buying an electric vehicle, the cost of the new green technologies can sometimes be prohibitive. Luckily, there are some incentive programs to make modern living both sustainable and affordable.

Lawn be Gone – Living on the Central Cost, residents enjoy a Mediterranean climate. Characterized by long hot summers and short rainy winters, the native vegetation has adapted to become drought tolerant and hardy. With suburban development, much of the endemic flora has been replaced by water hogging lawns and golf courses. The county suffers from water shortages on an almost consistent basis, and this has spurred some cities to offer compensation for replacing grass with xeroscaping. Paso Robles, for example, will give homeowners up to $500 to convert their yards into gardens that use rocks, succulents, and other drought tolerant plants.

Energy Extras – San Luis Obispo is blessed with an abundance of sunshine. What better part of the state to take advantage of solar panels and heating systems? The California Solar Initiative provides assistance and cash back for those in PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E territories who wish to operate off of the grid. The program takes you through an energy efficient audit, helps you find a solar installer, and apply for the rebates that apply to your home or business. The CSI program has a total budget of $2.167 billion between 2007 and 2016 and a goal to install approximately 1,940 MW of new solar generation capacity, meaning that there is a pretty deep funding pool for those who qualify.

Cars and Cash- Hybrid and electric vehicles are undoubtedly the wave of the future, but the sticker price can send some prospective shoppers into shock. However, California is home to a number of programs that take a little pain out of making an enlightened decision. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project from the Center for  Sustainable Energy California provides up to $2,500 to consumers for the purchase of a zero-emission or plug-in vehicle. Federal tax credits for plug in-hybrids and EV’s can reach as high as $7,500 if bought after 2010.

Hop on beer tours

In San Luis Obispo, it sometimes seems as though the vineyards get all of the love. Sure, we have fantastic wines, but we also have an impressive collection of small breweries and pubs. For those who would like to sample a wide array of fine brews while also learning a bit about the Central Coast, Hop On Beer Tours offers a relaxing and safe way to enjoy some suds.

Owned and operated by Brant Meyers, the company is currently crowdsourcing on Indiegogo to finance the whole operation. Whether you are a tourist or simply wish to explore your big backyard, Hop On Beer Tours takes advantage of Meyers’s ample knowledge of beer culture and experience in the industry. Mix in a great sense of humor, close relationships with the producers, and a biodiesel passenger van, and you will be assured a fun and memorable day.

Hop On Beer Tours visits 14 breweries and 5 pubs with diverse beer selections. Prospective beer browsers can visit the Indiegogo site to reserve space for the first expeditions being offered with a minimum donation of only $50. Whether it is a private guided excursion or an adventure with friends, Hop On Beer Tours promises to give the beer industry in our community the respect and love it deserves. Cheers, and may your glass never run dry!

Happy April! It is time again to think globally and party locally with Earth Day 2013. Celebrated planet-wide on April 22, this year’s theme is “The Face of Climate Change”. With refugees fleeing environmental disasters in nations across the world, arctic and antarctic ice melting at an unprecedented rate, desertification, droughts, and massive storms, now is the moment for us all to focus on the issue of global warming. On the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, San Luis Obispo will join communities everywhere in their care and praise of Gaia.

– El Chorro Regional Park will hold their annual free event on Sunday, April 21 beginning at 11am. RTA, SCAT and SLO Transit will be running free shuttles all day to the festivities. Climate conscious attendees are encouraged to carpool or ride their bicycles out to the park. This year, the Earth Day Fair will also include a Music Festival with Aaron Och, followed by Burning James & the Funky Flames, Al Millan & the Robots, Natural Incense and Funk in Public on the main stage, and Belly Yellers, SLO Ambassador Bentley Murdock and the Red Willows on the acoustic stage.

An opening ceremony by Pilulaw Khus, Chumash Ceremonial Elder, Medicine Carrier and Clan Mother of the Bear Clan of the Northern Chumash Nation will get the day started. The Fair will include a Clean Energy Zone, Kid’s Area, Eco Marketplace, Health & Well-being Center,Food Court and the Beer & Wine Tents. Special features include Garden Tours, Climate Change slide-show in the Oak Glen Pavilion by Stephen Hansen M.D from the Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.

– The 7th annual Earth Day Food and Wine Festival will take place starting at 2pm on Saturday, April 20 at Pomar Junction Winery and Vineyard. Over 200 vintners, cheese makers, olive oil producers, growers, and chefs will come together to display the best vittles the Central Coast has to offer. A Winemaker dinner will begin at 6pm with Chef Charles D. Paladin Wayne cooking at the Merrill Family Estate Wine Cellar. The fixed menu is $105 per person ($90 for members). Tunes will be provided by Guy Budd and the Gypsy Souls. Tickets can be bought through their website.


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.