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(Click on the title for the full story.)

Green Business Certification Pays

Bottom Line: Green business certification is a marketing asset, cost cutting measure, energy saver, workforce morale booster and overall smart business strategy.

Green Business CertificationThe Bay Area Green Business Program is a successful partnership between cities, counties, environmental agencies, and utility companies that assist businesses in transitioning to practices that are environmentally friendly. There is often an upfront time and dollar investment in gaining green business certification, but almost all businesses agree the savings are worth it after a short payback period. The largest cost saving efforts usually include waste reduction and recycling, lighting upgrades, water conservation, and sourcing recycled products. Local colleges and universities may have graduate level students that are willing to help with energy audits and compliance reviews. Once a business satisfies the requirements on the green business checklist, including visits by PG&E and the water agency, the Green Business Coordinator verifies the results.

Get the Job You Want, Enroll in a Vocational Program

Bottom Line: The three colleges that make up the San Mateo County Community College District offer over 90 vocational-technical programs to help you get the job you want!

SMCCCD_Vocational ProgramsThe San Mateo Community College District is a three-college district located between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The College of San Mateo, Canada College in Redwood City, and Skyline College in San Bruno serve more than 40,000 students each year and offer the first two years of instruction in a wide variety of 4-year college transfer programs as well as more than 90 vocational-technical programs.

Visit Harley Farm Goat Dairy – A Model of Sustainable Farming

Bottom Line: Dee Harley is milking her way to success by showing her goat farm is good for the economy, environment and the community.

Harley FarmsHarley Farms in Pescadero started 16 years ago with six goats and has since grown into a fully self-sustaining 267+ goat operation and the only dairy farm in San Mateo County. The nine-acre farm is a farmstead dairy, meaning the cheese produced comes directly from the farms animals. It has received six national cheese awards and was the recipient the 2008 Sustainable San Mateo County Award, and the 2008 San Mateo County Farmer of the Year award. It also was featured in a February 2007 New York Times article about agri-tourism (see Eco-Tourism Article), a concept in which small farms open up to curious visiting urbanites.

A Gopher Free Garden

Bottom Line: Gophers are smart and persistent animals, but with a few tricks you can protect your garden.

A Gopher Free GardenGopher-free garden? Well, OK, not really.

If you live in parts of the west where pocket gophers are common and you are a gardener, you no doubt have watched plants disappear as gophers pull them underground.

While it is impossible to keep all gophers out of your garden, there are things you can do to control their ravages. Of these suggestions that follow, I’ve found predators, raised beds and traps solutions that allow me to enjoy productive gardening.

Take Advantage of Local Environmental Education Programs

Bottom Line: Local Environmental Education Programs offer students, teachers, and families a chance to explore their natural world, develop a deep appreciation for our local environment and an understanding of the importance of responsible stewardship.

There are many environmental education programs offered throughout San Mateo County. These incredible programs give students opportunities to observe natural ecosystems, engage in hands-on discovery activities, and receive knowledgeable scientific instruction. These valuable programs lead students to an appreciation of the natural world and an awareness of the importance of responsible environmental stewardship. There is a range of affordable or free environmental educational programs available for student groups, teachers, individuals, and families.

Building Healthier Communities: A Sustainable Food System

When you look at all the different resources out there, the overall message is the same: readily available, healthy food; reducing the environmental impact of food production as well as transportation; and is socially equitable and provides local jobs. A group supporting sustainable food systems is San Mateo County Food Systems Alliance (Food Alliance). Debuting

The HEAL Project

Since 2006, the HEAL Project has been educating over 3,200 students within San Mateo County on the importance of good health, a sustainable environment, locally grown agriculture as well as key learning fundamentals. Their long-term goal is to be able to deliver a garden-based education to all children within the district. They follow within a

Green Your Grocery Shopping

Walk through any farmer’s market, and your bound to see plenty of people using reusable bags to tote around their various amounts of fresh, local produce. It’s quite easy to get caught up in that kind of mentality at a farmer’s market. There are further steps that can be taken in preparation for a trip

What Can You and Your Grocery Store Do to be More Sustainable?

How do the decisions made by grocers impact the overall sustainability of your food choices? What can we do to increase the sustainability of our day-to-day grocery shopping? Typically when one walks into a grocery store, they don’t truly think about how much is really being wasted. From bags, to boxes, to plastic, it’s all an extremely unnatural resource that could be avoided. Just like the new grocery store in Texas, “in.gredients” has gone to extreme measures to help sustain our environment by offering no packaging, using real food, and being the first “no waste grocery store in the United States.” Here are some other helpful tips that you can take with you next time you enter a grocery store, in means to be more protective over the sustainability of our planet.

Native plant landscaping saves water and adds beauty to your home and garden

Bottom Line: Landscaping with California native plants is an ecologically sustainable way to beautify your home or business, save water, cut CO2 emissions, and create wildlife habitat.

California Native Gardening

Water shortages are increasingly common, and everything that we can do in order to save water makes a difference. Even more substantial than taking shorter showers or collecting wastewater from your kitchen or bathroom is reducing the amount of water you use outside. Gardens and landscaping are very precious but can often involve large, costly amounts of water. Not only do they involve these impositions, but also they are usually done with gas-powered, and polluting equipment. Other benefits of this idea are that it cuts the use of synthetic fertilizers, and reinforces the natural beauty of the native California landscape. There is an easier solution other than spending a fortune on water for an alluring, high maintenance garden – substitute many or all of your plants for native plants! Aside from these plants being gorgeous and easy to take care of, they don’t call for much water. Most California native plants are exquisite and look good year round, but other low water plants can be great too. California has tons of beautiful native plants that require barely any water. You can find the plants at any reputable nursery for a reasonable price. In the end, not only will you have a beautiful, exotic, and fun filled garden, but you will be saving water, the planet, and have a few extra bucks in your pocket!


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