The ongoing pursuit of knowledge to support evolving technologies and strategies for building in the 21st century is a passion of ours. Cultivate partners with clients, non-profits and municipalities to conduct research that leads to innovative planning solutions and policies.

Cultivating Ideas


Featured: The Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan

The Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan (Valley Ag Plan) is a regional land use and economic development strategy to support the local food and farming economy and further climate change mitigation and resiliency by preventing conversion of farmland to development.

Santa Clara County has a rich agricultural history and was once recognized as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight” famous for its orchards and canneries. In the past 20 years alone, Santa Clara County has lost 45% of its farmland, and much of the 27,000 acres remaining are at continued risk of conversion as a result of intense land development pressure. Despite this, Southern Santa Clara County retains valuable agricultural lands and an important farming industry, with over 1,000 farms and total economic production value of $1.6 billion dollars.


Read / Download the Plan

To protect California’s irreplaceable croplands and rangelands, the State of California launched the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALCP) in 2015. The Santa Clara Valley Agircultural Plan is funded in part by SALCP which provides cap and trade funding to protect agricultural lands in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet California’s climate change goals. In partnership with the cities of San Jose, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy, the Authority and the County are mapping agricultural lands in Santa Clara Valley for conservation and identifying the regional greenhouse gas reduction potential.


"Amie MacPhee and Cultivate are helping the Open Space Authority to translate our vision for preserving the viability of working lands and our region's sense of place into achievable planning and policy solutions."

- Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager, Open Space

Project Goals






Map and prioritize agricultural lands for conservation

Identify the regional greenhouse gas reduction potential of agricultural protection

Bring the County, municipalities, and the agricultural sector together to work in concert for agricultural preservation

Blueprint a Regional Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Revise the County Zoning Ordinance for additional agricultural preservation

In December 2018 The County of Santa Clara & Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority were selected by The Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards (GEELA) program. The GEELA is the highest and most prestigious environmental honor. The award program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California's resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, building public-private partnerships, and improving the economy.

What inspires us...


Below is a library of resources and ideas found by us or shared with us by our friends and client network. It’s a collection of articles, radio stories, infographics and videos that relate to our work and broaden our thinking: our favorite content from the internet and beyond. Original commentary gives insight into our process and poses questions about the world inside and outside of the studio.

We continue to be inspired by Mark Tercek’s book that he co-wrote, Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature (Tercek and Adams, 2013). Tercek writes that saving special place by special place as the sole conservation strategy will not be enough anymore. We need to look holistically at land stewardship and maintaining resource health across jurisdictions, on both public and private lands. “The breakthrough insight,” Tercek writes, “is when companies recognize that the services they rely on from nature but heretofore took for granted and got for free, such as clean water and flood protection, will be neither guaranteed nor free in the coming years.”

Thomas Rainer’s work is a revelation: It turns out that plants are social, and have a body language that explains what they need.




101 The Embarcadero

Suite 212

San Francisco, CA 94105



Cultivate was founded to help change the way people think about improving and managing land. 
We are a California State Certified Small Business (SB) as well as a Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE).