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New organic research may help commercial grape growers with a model for being good environmental stewards of the land.


Many vineyards and wineries have been the target of environmental concerns (eg, bug sprays, water runoff, monoculture issues)  Many rural home garden neighbors and local farms fear vineyards and wineries lack biodiversity and simply make more pesticide problems.


A productive method for cultivating native grass meadows and endangered plants designed as part of a vineyard landscape is described.  The experimental prototype is inspired by a small organic farms efforts to change the environmental perception and also benefit grape growers, their neighbors and the medical world.


The Problem:


She was angry and shook her head as she drove past the rich green vineyards.  Lyric Merryman was a committed environmentalist, and she often felt commercial grape growers were contributing to the ecological destruction of her region and neighboring farmland.   She had worked for years to clean up the Russian River wine area.  Making it a more sustainable land and permaculture that supports endangered medicinal herbs and the food plants that her ancestors relied on to nourish healthy living.  And right now she thought, "They just don't get it." She had never felt the need more strongly and passionately to join with others in support of the loss of biodiversity as when she saw her family gardens smack up against the beautiful country vineyards she was passing through.


Grape growing has become big business in NorthernCalifornia's wine growing region.  For the past decade, more and more of the hills and valleys of both Napa and Sonoma Counties have gone into grape production.  Neat rows of the 101-14 Wente Chardonnay vine and the Burgandy Pinot Noir vine have filled the pristine countryside.  


Although farmland can still be seen, vineyards have become an iconic part of the region's commerce and culture.  Recently some of the larger wineries and vineyards have sought a new trend of seeking ways to make their agricultural presence more positive and less intrusive on the land.  

Plants for Life: Balancing Vineyard Ecosystems with Native Meadows and Endangered Medicinal Plants

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