Listen: How Sage Revitalizes Agriculture Near Cities
"Name is sabella. Krause and i am the the president and founder of an organization called sage sustainable agriculture education and really there's another e. on the end enterprise because what what how we describe ourselves as an entrepreneurial nonprofit we work both on our own projects that we developed and we work in <hes> as saba to other farms but a basic mission is to revitalize agricultural places new cities and foster vital dole food systems that connect urban and rural communities and we work in a number of scales we work at the regional scale fru frameworks that we develop and and are invited to partner on and then we also work on the ground on specific projects exit the level of developing agricultural parks helping to develop wholesale food centers and that kind of thing and we work sort of inbetween sub-regional scales gales and basic approach developed what we say big vision ideas and implement them on the ground to collaboration with lots of different kinds of stakeholders yeah and you and i we were we were this. I met you when we were both wallace. <hes> sandra fellows and and <hes> last year and one of the things that just was so impressive to me about you and your work is your ability to look at this very large scale i think i i think there aren't a lot of people i run into. Who have that ability. I think there are a lot of people thinking about food systems on a bigger scale sale. I find what happens is that sometimes that focus can be on two wins of the food supply chain it can be on issues around agricultural of farmland protection <hes> access for new farmers and beginning farmers all the way to the other side where there are issues of food security thirty and food access both hugely important issues but what sometimes gets much less attention paid to it is the business of food food which is the whole supply chain which i know you worked very closely on <hes> <hes> in between <hes> the production part and then the end-consumer part and <hes> i think you know i think the basic idea is food certainly even in the bay area the foodie conscious area food gets really taken for granted the whole food agricultural system. I should say get sort of taken for granted so one way to try to draw greater attention to it is to say well. Some of our issues and approaches could solve other problems or help help implement other objectives <hes> now just give you a couple of examples in the city of san jose where we work closely they <hes> you know have major goals have diverse economic development and authenticity and that sort of thing <hes> but you you know there is a sense sometimes that in the rush for everyone to make such a focus on technology they've kind of gotten about some of the routes as being one of the major age of fruit production regions in the country and so that feels part of the past but in fact do reports we do such as the san jose food works we point out that their food system or food sectors actually make huge contributions visions economically to a lot of different goals to the diverse economic development goals cost of authencity mean santa's as the city which is the sticks most diverse i in the country <hes> but again that's sort of hidden in place plain sight so we try to elevate <hes> what both those assets are what they what the needs are so the city in this instance that the city scale looks at more closely what kind of investments a needed in across the food sectors to help realise other broader city goals and doing the same thing regionally as we're looking at <hes> regional resilience <hes> in the face of both natural disaster other a longer time impacts as we're looking at a long term land on usa transportation plan. We're saying not just where food and agriculture should be. She should fit in but how they too can be part of the solution the other things. The region is grappling with right so if i if i. I don't know if i'm correct in saying this but it it it seems to me like you you when when you say elevate you do you look at data and help people understand the landscape as it exists right now using the data and then you're making helping people will make the connections back to as you said economic development activities writes that it is injustice data about local food systems. It has connections to economic activity in the community absolutely <hes> i mean you know you one. <hes> one little example is is talking. We simply to a produce wholesaler <hes> in again in the city of san jose essay and <hes> they were saying you know the city doesn't really care about us. We just service hundreds of food trucks and of course in san jose like in many cities. The whole idea of the food truck culture is hugely important in defining public spaces and who people are and kind of diversity of culinary choices but again those food trucks depend on having a commissary places to get where they can get do. They're cleaning and places. This is where they can get their food supplies. So in the you need to help sometimes draw the attention of cities to the fact that the food truck doc doesn't materialize in the plaza at eleven thirty a m but it also is part of a set of infrastructure <hes> need need that that attention is needed for i mean and especially i would think in in places like san jose where <hes> real estate. I'm assuming is super. Expensive and lease rates would be expensive and so it's gonna take a bit of effort on the part of the city to make sure that add some of these infrastructure you know like like a distribution harbor something can can happen right to support things like food trucks it is it is really a challenge because there is definitely a kind of a a practice i would say the highest and best use scher <hes> across across the board and and obviously food as far less elastic are for less much more in the last crisis and a a lot of other tech kind of manufacturing and that sort of thing <hes> yeah so. It's a bit tough because <hes> you know where is the intervention. Come i mean the developers are need incentives or they need programs to try to to even begin to entertain. I mean this sort of idea and i'll give you another example. <hes> the city recently sort of put up for an exploratory exploratory are f._p._u. Request for qualifications advocation is really a site but one of the one of the requirements of the program for this one hundred and sixty acre site in an industrial part of san jose was a that housing was not to be part of the development and be that the jobs needed to be geared to people who didn't necessarily have college applic- <hes> <hes> college degrees and so that right away by putting out a program like that that against narrowed the scope and in fact some of the proposals is that were developed for that absolutely included a wide range of agricultural production the focus on indo farming and that sort of thing and agricultural processing agricultural <hes>. I mean food processing food distribution and also room due to look about this in a new way room room for agricultural r._n._d. Food are he. <hes> you know i was at a little at a meeting earlier this week. It kind of a food hack affonso valet always there are i mean dozens and dozens of firms popping up every i don't know quarter i should say looking at some new innovation in supply chain or new food production new vegan or new plant based proteins and new robotics and but you know a different kind of <hes> i and different platforms and so <hes> you know that that is a whole cluster of businesses so <hes> the attention needs to be paid to you know the idea that you could couple that future looking <hes> food development around. Maybe what's more traditional food distribution. I think is really exciting notion. It is and i think it's ah i love the food hack thon. I love that idea like food hack thing <hes> just because i think i in fact i was on a a phone. Call this morning with somebody who called in. I do these virtual office. Hours may called in who is in iowa. Who's who's doing a really interesting technology that applies to indoor agriculture and we were talking about the fact that there's like no where <hes> logically for that kind of tech company to go right now because tech it's not a software app like they still have to their software involved but they still have to grow plants right and plants grow as fast as they grow grow and and they need infrastructure for that and so that that just the way from a financial perspective in every other perspective how that tech company is gonna and grow is different and we don't have a natural place. Where is there an accelerator where somebody would actually understand this and the answer is no so what an opportunity to have that kind of a physical place. That could could be a home for this kind of innovation. Absolutely there are a few accelerators propping up. I'm one that comes to mind is food systems six. You may of <hes> but they they have. I think they are now. Maybe third cohort and <hes> some of the businesses that they have helped to incubate a really. I'm doing well so nice. <hes> i think <hes> you're you're right on it. There's definitely a need for these kinds of accelerator right right. Well and you know in attack. The the there's developed this infrastructure for helping groom growing businesses right so accelerators and and and pitch events and all that kind of stuff and just don't haven't really actively applied that to agan food yet ag tech and food so so is this this. This is a pretty big acreage in california is that is this city involved in the purchase of that or who owns out right now about the one that the one that i mentioned in san jose city owned land. It is okay to figure out what the program should it'd be four before. They put out a full fledged r. p. p. right. I got it and you know it adjoins burrowing wing al habitat so there's no sir <hes> it's probably about any feet above sea level twenty by thirty thirty feet above sea level nominations. <hes> nothing seems simple out here and oh my goodness i mean the congestion here is really <hes> gotten getting more intense by the month <hes> they've been as part of plan bay area there have been some future scenario planning and <hes> you know one some projections have the population slated to grow by almost one hundred percent to close to thirteen eighteen fourteen million in the next whatever it is twenty five years so my partner magin how does that work has infrastructure work and of course along with those comp kind of projections are ideas to invest billions more in transportation billions more in housing and <hes> we keep putting our hand up and saying oh but wait a second you know let's really think about food and agriculture as part of this. We kind of look at quarter are globally globally as a public responsibility to look deliver those things and food. They're still kind of sense if the market takes care of that that's right and we've come up with a couple of ideas to going back to the thing i said earlier about <hes> trying to present a solution that solves problem in in another arena <hes> so there's a lot of attention being paid played both in the bayer and really across california to the need for more affordable. Oh housing because you have these companies that are booming but it's displacing a lot of people who work at low and even medium wage jobs in any event <hes> <hes> so there we are looking at how can we build more affordable housing <hes> and often that housing is located. You know transit oriented kid in dense urban areas. It's oftens what's called mixed use housing village style housing and i say well could we also think about including adding healthy food outlets in those kind of places. Could there be insent. Could there be <hes> we wanted to look at policies which could or the aligned in but i should say between affordable housing policies and investments and healthy food access policies and investments and so you know could we bring those things together so rather than looking at separate problems with separate solutions so that's one of the things we're excited to be <hes> looking into with trying to find funding in fact right now to <hes> begin to take a look at some possibilities there"