Breathless in Bakersfield: Is the Worst Air Pollution in the US About to Get Worse?

February 14, 2017
In California’s Central Valley emissions from oil refineries and agriculture make Bakersfield America’s most air-polluted city. Activists fear the Trump administration could undo small but steady improvements.

The bluffs on Panorama Road offer a wide view of the northern half of Bakersfield, which is one of the few major population centres in California’s Central Valley – perhaps the US’ leading agricultural motherlode.

It’s a rare bird’s eye vantage point of this low-slung farm city of roughly 375,000 people, nestled in a bowl created by the Sierra Nevada mountains to the east and part of the California Coast Ranges to the west. On a clear day, the state’s dominant topographical features put the landscape, and one’s place in it, in sobering perspective.

Farm Technology Catches Investor Attention

May 26, 2015
A shift toward software and data analysis has made agriculture a more appealing sector for investors, says leading venture capitalist Brook Porter.

Silicon Valley has not generated much farming innovation, but that’s changing, and venture capitalists have taken notice. Among them: Brook Porter, a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. KPCB’s $1 billion Green Growth Fund has invested in an Israeli company called Kaiima, which is improving breeding programs without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and a company called Farmer’s Edge, which uses satellite imagery to develop customized farming prescriptions. The firm has yet to cash out of any of its ag-tech investments, which are typically in the $15 million to $25 million range.

The Planetizen News Brief - 12/31/09

December 31, 2009
Population growth slows in the U.S., air quality rules challenge density in California, and farmers look at Detroit as a new agricultural center -- all on this week's Planetizen News Brief, produced for Smart City Radio.

Full Transcript (Audio available as .mp3 at Planetizen)