There will be no monthly membership luncheon for the month of August due to conflicts with the Concours d'Elegance. The Monterey County Business Council's monthly luncheon will reconvene in September. And after this issue, Friday Facts will also go dark for the next two weeks, resuming in August. Happy summer!
Ag innovation: T&A's hydroponic lettuce
Tanimura & Antle describes how it turns the lettuce-growing process on its head in a recent Family Farming blog entry, "How We Grow Lettuce Without Soil."
At its hydroponic farm in Livingston, Tenn., the Salinas-based company grows hydroponic Boston Lettuce in water year-round, using floating rafts in pools of water. The process uses 90 percent less water than a traditional farm.
Read about how it's done, and be on the lookout for more items to be grown with this method in the years to come.
MCBC co-hosts California Competes Tax Credit workshop
Come learn how your business can apply for millions in available tax credits when the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) hosts a free workshop on the California Competes Tax Credit.
The California Competes Program has approximately $200 million in tax credits available during the 2015-16 fiscal year for businesses that want to expand in or relocate to California. Small, medium, and large businesses are encouraged to attend and receive instructions on how to apply for this tax credit program.
Earlier this year, a Monterey Bay company announced that it would receive a $1.7 million California Competes tax credit from the state over four years.
Scotts Valley-based Fox Shox made the announcement this January during the Monterey Bay Economic Summit, hosted by the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership. The company, which makes high-end suspension systems for motocross, mountain bikes and all-terrain vehicles, employs about 600 people.
Monterey County Business Council executive director Brian Turlington arranged a meeting between Fox Shox executives and Kish Rajan, then-director of the state Office of Business and Economic Development, after a company executive told him they were considering leaving Watsonville and California because of labor costs and high taxes.
As a result of the income tax credit, Fox Shox has opted to remain in California.
The workshop, "How Monterey-Area Businesses Can Apply for Tax Credits: GO-Biz California Competes Workshop," will take place from 10-11 a.m. Wednesday, July 22 at Oldemeyer Center, 986 Hilby Ave., Seaside.
Workshop co-hosts include the Monterey County Business Council, Assemblymember Mark Stone, Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, the Seaside-Sand City-Del Rey Oaks Chamber of Commerce, Monterey County African American Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce.
Check the website for details and registration info.
Two additional workshops are scheduled for the region:
- A Santa Cruz workshop will take place 2–3 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, 400 Encinal St. Workshop co-hosts include Sen. Bill Monning, Assemblymember Mark Stone, Central Coast Small Business Development Center, Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, Covered California and the Santa Cruz County Business Council. Attendees are also invited to attend a workshop from 3-4 p.m. presented by Covered California on the numerous changes in the health insurance marketplace that will be implemented in 2016. Details and registration or RSVP to Leslie Villegas at email@example.com or call 425-0401.
- A Salinas workshop will take place from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday Aug. 6 at Hartnell College's Steinbeck Hall in Salinas. Co-host is Assemblymember Luis Alejo. Get details and registration here.
Monterey wireless electric trolley to live on past summer
Monterey’s wirelessly-powered trolley -- the first trolley powered by wireless electricity in any American city -- is posting impressive numbers.
Since its debut on Memorial Day, it has attracted more than 8,000 passengers, and by not using a gas-powered trolley, saved 400 gallons of diesel fuel and prevented 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from going into the air.
“We’re know we’re not burning diesel fuel, and we know we don’t have the pollution that goes along with it,” Monterey-Salinas Transit (BCM) chief executive officer Carl Sedoryk said.
The free Monterey trolley system runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day and includes two gas-powered trolleys.
Sedoryk said the electric trolley will live on past the usual trolley time. Starting in September, it will traverse the Line 2 route that serves Pacific Grove and Carmel.
The trolley was paid for by a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration and $400,000 in California Transportation Development Toll Credits.
Read the full story online.
Source: Monterey Herald
Farming and tech converge to bring more to the table
As Forbes wraps up its first annual summit on AgTech in Salinas, an interesting partnership highlights just how big a deal (and potential market) innovation in agriculture has become.
Event co-host Silicon Valley Global Partners earlier this spring unveiled a new partnership with the Western Growers Association, a 90-year-old trade group that represents more than 2,500 of the largest fresh food farmers in California and Arizona. The goal? To bring together the innovation and technological prowess of the Bay Area with the expertise and experience of California’s farmers in the hopes of creating breakthroughs that can help feed an ever-hungrier planet.
The tie-up also highlights the acceleration of relationships between two groups who may as well live in entirely different Californias: Silicon Valley and the state’s farming community.
Lately that’s started to change, as investors bet on nascent AgTech companies and technologies.
SVG, an early-stage investor in technology companies focused on agriculture, already operates “The Thrive Accelerator” a selective mentorship and investment program intended to connect technology-enabled startups with leading agricultural companies.
Western Growers and SVG say they’ll open “Innovation Centers” in the Salinas Valley and Silicon Valley with office space set up for member farmers to connect with technology firms in the hope that the collaboration will foster relationships and yield new ideas and products.
Getting Western Growers’ farmers—who grow more than half of the fresh produce in the U.S. each year—involved is crucial, says John Hartnett, CEO of SVG. “Being able to solve the problems starts with knowing what the problems are,” he says. “The intersection of technology and agriculture will pave the way to solve the exploding food production challenge, as well as deliver an incredible investment opportunity in the twenty-first century.”
Read the full story online.
Photo: Thrive Accelerator
Carmel builder pioneers grey water technology
Carmel Building and Design is pioneering the latest technology for reuse of wastewater, thanks to some innovative plumbing that recycles grey water for use within the home.
Hidden in the basement of a Carmel home is a special system that filters, disinfects and stores water from baths and laundry, which will then be used for flushing toilets. The Nexus eWater Recycler not only saves substantial amounts of water, but also uses remarkably less energy.
The Australian invention is featured in several model homes in California, but the Carmel project “is the first in an actual working house in the United States,” according to Carmel Building and Design president Rob Nicely, whose company installed the system last month with the help of Tom Wood, Nexus’ chief technical officer.
Nicely has long been involved with the sustainable building movement and is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops.
The system has been inspected and approved by a Monterey County building inspector and is waiting for final paperwork to be completed.
Read the full story online.
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
From bioluminescence to biodiversity, MBARI on display during Open House