Cultivating Commerce welcomes you to our website. Our mission is to foster entrepreneurship through sustainable use of agricultural and natural resources within Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties of California. Whether adding a niche marketing endeavor such as boutique honey production to an existing winery or pursuing a startup organic vegetable farm, entrepreneurs struggle in developing and implementing a viable business model in our rural area. Cultivating Commerce is designed to assist these entrepreneurs in expanding or establishing their businesses while ensuring environmental protection of our agricultural and natural resources.
Another project is pollinator protection, and this summer we are planting “Bee Patches” of forage for pollinators working with Sonoma Valley Boy Scouts, wineries, grape growers, and other farmers to create habitat in Sonoma Valley for struggling bees and other pollinators. Eighty percent of the world’s flowering plants are animal pollinated, and wildlife ecosystems are vitally dependent on pollinating partners. Honeybees, other pollinators and pollination services represent a critical component of healthy wildlife ecosystems and sustainable agriculture, with honeybees pollinating an estimated $15 billion of agricultural crops annually in the United States. Direct and indirect value could total $30 billion annually. Scientists and farmers alike are increasingly recognizing the importance of honeybees and native pollinators, and the reality that they are at risk. Our bees are disappearing, and one important action to help bees is to create forage habitat where they can feed and nourish their colonies. This summer, new habitat “Bee Patches” will be planted through a partnership with Sonoma Valley Boy Scouts, wineries, local grape growers and other farmers in the Sonoma Valley. The Boy Scouts will tally up the total amount of forage planted by farmers in the “Bee Patches” effort.
We ask that you think about these important creatures--without pollinators, we would have few fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Just a few simple steps can make a difference:
1. Create a diversity of bloom throughout the year
2. Add a water bowl for thirsty bees
3. Protect nests and egg-Laying sites
4. Plant organically and avoid pesticide use, or if not growing Organic crops, then use Integrated Pest Management to minimize use of pesticides.
We also have an exciting educational project for protecting pollinators, but we need your help in funding "Bee Buddies." To find out more about our project for elementary school children, please click on BEE BUDDIES.
What we do
Cultivating Commerce is one of several initiatives of the non-profit North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council (NCRC&DC) which serves four Northern California counties. We have built rainwater collection systems at local schools, held educational workshops with landowners to increase pollinator habitat, created and expanded community gardens, educated landowners to prevent the spread of Sudden Oak Disease, prepared detailed feasibility studies for biomass-to-energy production in Mendocino County, and conducted workshops with ranchers and farmers interested in adding an agri-tourism element to their operations.