Saturday, April 8, 2017

Beekeepers and Tech: The Latest From Edible Silicon Valley

Bees on the blackberry bushes in the author's backyard. Though bees are necessary to pollinate 52 different crops in California, most Silicon Valley beekeepers care for bees for fun and not for profit.

Did you know in California bees are classified as livestock? Did you know California's almond industry imports 85 percent of all the available commercial hives in the United States to pollinate its almond trees each spring? That is a whopping 1.7 million beehives traveling to and from California annually on trucks. 

Honey, that is a lot of bees on the freeway.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Vagaries of One Valley Village: Local Opinion Piece

The Daily Post of Palo Alto doesn't put its articles on line. So here's what Robin's article looks like in today's paper. Below is the full text for easier reading.  

There has been graffiti on the Hale Creek bridge at Rosita Avenue and Springer Road in my hometown of Los Altos, California, for four years. Last summer, a Los Altos crew closed Rosita for weeks, not to paint, but to install an ADA ramp. The ramp was built without a drain in the middle of the downhill side of the bridge’s sidewalk, the result of which is that now, when it rains, the new ramp fills with water and turns the street into a lake. A disabled person would have to use a flotation device if she ever came to need it during a storm.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Edible Silicon Valley: A Story on Silicon Valley's Orchardists

Andy Mariani still tends to his apricot, peach, cherry and plum orchards in Morgan Hill, California. But the transformation from rural to urban has changed the way all local growers do their work. This wonderful photo is by Los Altan Yvonne Cornell for Edible Silicon Valley Magazine.

I first got to know grower Andy Mariani, along with local orchard legends Deborah Olson and her father Charles, when I was working on my book California Apricots: the Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley for the History Press in 2012. Knowing them, and meeting the orchardist at the National Trust home Filoli in Woodside, California, came in handy when Edible Silicon Valley magazine came calling.

My friend Catherine Nunes is the publisher of Edible Silicon Valley and she asked for a story on how orchardists were re-imagining their businesses in the changing environment of our booming region.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Edible Silicon Valley Magazine: A New Article by Robin Chapman on A New Way to Look at Green

A glimpse of the Taylor Street Farm in San Jose, California, where both greens and flowers are grown for sale in the middle of the city.

I've recently been doing some writing for a friend of mine who is the new publisher of Edible Silicon Valley, a magazine for the popular food/lifestyle/locavore culture that is a big part of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. In working on ideas for her magazine, we came across something called Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones, and she asked me to turn it into an article for her magazine.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mystery in the Glomerata: Uncovered After Seven Decades

The 1939 Glomerata, Auburn's yearbook. 

My father's college yearbooks have been in our hall bookcase as long as I can remember. And as long as I can remember, my father never opened them. He was not a man to live in the past. He lived in the present--every single day. One hundred percent. 

After he died, I gave away quite a few of his old books, but not his yearbooks from Auburn. You just can't give away a yearbook with the improbable name "The Glomerata."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Neighbors Working Together Can Make a Difference

A vintage postcard of Santa Clara Valley's orchards, from my book California Apricots: the Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley, published by the History Press.

I was very discouraged when I wrote the post in February, about the lastest proposal to redevelop the property where my small town has preserved a small Heritage Apricot Orchard for more than half a century.

When I stopped being discouraged, I joined forces with a number of my neighbors and got back to the work of saving it. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Discouraged by Democracy: Voices From a Small Town

An artist paints in our city's heritage orchard, named a City Historic Landmark.

We've all read the articles during this 2016 U.S. presidential election that this is the year of the angry voter. This growing citizen frustration has become the big story to the observers inside the Beltway, where I once worked as a reporter. 

The result of this citizen anger has certainly been an unpredictable set of candidates. I've covered a lot of presidential elections and I've never seen anything it. But beyond the voter frustration reporters have uncovered at the national level,  I believe we're seeing an anger toward every level of government. Why? In city, county, state and federal halls of power, there is a growing sense that the mighty get what they want, and the rest of the folks can lump it.