How are we responding to the drought emergency?
We are announcing a VERY big change in response to this long-term water crisis.
The water crisis has been worsening for the last hundred years or more, and shows no signs of getting better. This is not solely some emergency of the present and requires fundamental changes to our farm and our business.
However, we are not being forced to choose – as some people would wrongly suggest – between the life and death of our rivers, and our beautiful farms and cities that depend on those waters. The death of the rivers and the survival of our farms and cities is inevitable and unavoidable. Though the waters will cease to flow through the banks, our people are wise enough to grow crops and towns in the coming desert.
But we must adapt now.
DESERTIFICATION OF AMERICA
The desertification of America is inevitability, and the result of the climate changes of our biosphere as it enters a new epoch. Yet the fear and dread some people hold of deserts is wrong: deserts are cheerful, wholesome and bounteous lands, good for human life and culture. According to climatologists and biologists like Dr. James Lovelock and others, they are even necessary to maintaining our planet’s healthful temperature and environment.
Strangely, it is easiest to comprehend the joy of deserts when looking at rivers. Lovelock and other scientists encourage us to look at rivers as living organisms. Rivers are healthiest when at their maximum and minimum flows. Like every living creature, rivers use alternating minimum and maximum flows of water to cycle nutrients from one part of their “body” to others. Recently, the Dammed Colorado has been allowed to restart this interrupted cycle, because the impact of its absence on wildlife was perceived to be severe.
At their height, waters rip soil from their banks and aerate the waters, encouraging a cleansing of the water and a feeding of the aquatic animals and plants in the water. At their lowest, they are easily accessible to land and amphibious creatures. This cycle is fed by the natural cycles of the larger biome, usually by snowmelt and rainfall, dry seasons and wet seasons.
Likewise – but much, much slower – deserts and rainforests ebb and flow, entire grasslands migrate uphill and downhill across continents like birds, oceans rise and fall over mountains and valleys like fish. Though this current change in climate is marked by many differences – especially the dangerously high Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere – the process is essentially similar to all those previously undertaken. The deserts that are coming are not strangers to this land, but returning friends.
Already the sand dunes form on the Great Plains and the wildfires scorch our favorite trees, but we must remember that such change is not necessarily bad if we adapt to our planet’s new environment.
DROUGHT NOT TO BLAME FOR DECREASED RIVER FLOW
With the State requiring the wildering of the rivers in response to decreasing river flow, the drought in rainfall is being blamed – wrongly – for a fall in the amount of river flow by those farmers and cities most affected by the forced use reductions. Don’t believe the lies: reduced river flow is largely the result of human activity. Rightly, farmers and cities are not being allowed by our government to divert as much water as they normally would for domestic purposes.
When the average water flow along random points of the San Joaquin are considered, it is clear that there is a decreasing amount of water in the rivers over the last century. In fact, the rate at which the rain is decreasing and the amount that the water flow is decreasing seem identical in pace: the rain decreases at 6.7 hundredths of an inch per year, and the water flow decreases at 7.5 cfs per year.
Let’s take the “Olympic” average and remove the highest and lowest data sets.
Now that the extreme examples are removed, it is a bit more clear that the rate is not similar. Those who would argue against human-causes to reduced river flow love to use extreme examples, but doctoring the facts doesn’t change the truth.
Just because the slope of the decrease is the same is no reason to argue that they decrease at a correlative pace, or that rainfall is to blame for the decreasing water flow, or that farmers should not be starved of their fair share of the river. When examined mathematically and scientifically, it is clear
that there is more at play than just rainfall.
The 54% correlation between rainfall and water flow tells us that rain is only half the story. Especially when extreme examples (high and low) are taken out.
The other half lies in the factors within human control, especially water diversion for farming and for cities.
Water flow is reduced when water is diverted for irrigation and for the numerous uses cities find for it. In California, cities use a lot of water, and this has been use – wrongly – by some agricultural interests to argue that farmers should be spared the pain of reducing their water use, that cities alone should be made to feel the burden of the drought. Don’t believe the lies - farms use almost as much water as cities.
Here’s the same graph again, with the “Olympic” averages. Notice the trinomial water flow trend is even more pronounced without the extreme examples.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FARMS AND CITIES
That the farmers would be so quick to abandon the false argument that humans are not to be blamed for reduced river flow in favor of an even more erroneous argument that cities are more to blame for reduced river flow demonstrates some antagonism between farms and cities. But this antagonism is a false one, sown by those agricultural interests bent on continuing a method of farming dangerous to their own long-term selfish interests and the interests of their consumers.
In California, the amount of farms have been decreasing and those which use water are using the water more efficiently. As cities grow – and use water inefficiently – they grow at the expense of farms. This process of urbanization began in earnest shortly after the Victory of World War II as suburbs exploded.
In 1940, 57% of the population of the USA lived in urban areas, by 1990, 75% of Americans lived in urban areas. At the beginning of this explosion, there were virtually no suburbs. The pause in growth of suburbs during the middle of this period (due to oil shortages and economic recession) water flow, especially considering that high farm commodity prices in the 1970’s increased agricultural activity when urban activity was reduced.
Let’s examine the correlation between rainfall and the expected water flow during these three periods of suburban growth. In the earliest periods when cities and farms are economically active (but cities are just slightly more so), an increase in rain increases water flow considerably. When farms are more economically active than cities, an increase in rain actually cannot stop the decreased flow of water! In later periods when cities are more economically active than farms, increases in rain increases water flow more – even though there is now less total rain than there was previously.
BACK TO THE RIVER
Water flow is impacted by humans. Our agriculture, our cities, our laws. But especially our agriculture.
And yet, our agriculture is driven by the demand in our cities. People demand foods that need lots of water. The high commodity prices in the 1970’s were in part reactionary to the currency’s activity, but rooted in consumer preferences that continue to require farmers plant those things which require the most water.
By demanding farmers grow those oranges and tomatoes and melons, the cattle and the hogs, those things which are not suited for the desertifying American continent, consumers force farmers to decrease water flow.
Turning off the water to farms will improve river flow and help wildlife, but decreasing the amount of water the cities use will improve river flow more. And the biggest way cities use water is in the growth of the food they import from the farms.
Cities and farms are not separate entities. Farms feed cities, cities employ farms.
WE WORK FOR YOU
It bears being said again. Cities and farms are not separate entities. Farms feed cities, cities employ farms.
We work for you.
We will continue to service your demand for water-loving crops, but will begin to phase out the growth of these damaging plants over the next few years as we plant perennials, domesticate annuals and trial xeric varieties. This will likely
• Reduce the cost of your food
• Increase your choices for ingredients
• Improve the nutritional quality of your food
• Improve the flavor of your food
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR DECISION
During this transition we hope that you will not buy from other farms who do not reduce their water use. Sooner or later, they, too, will change what they grow – out of the necessity of emergency! But we risk adapting before we must because our job is twofold: we not only serve you, but the land itself.
You pay us not only to grow your food, but to make sure the land will bear food for your children’s children. If we continue the irresponsible use of water – even using our very efficient methods – there will be no food for future generations.
The desert is a cheerful, bounteous and kind place to people, full of delicious and wholesome, healthy foods. Please let us know your support for our decision by buying from us today, or by letting us know you’d like a free sample of some of the desert’s most delicious foods.
Aaron and Mary
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON OUR INGREDIENTS IN SEASON LIST
>>>To see our ingredients in season list, click here!<<<
Look for these symbols next to our products when making your next decision on with what you will fill your box!
>>> Water-Efficient arrows <==
ALL our products are water efficiently grown, using weeds and tillage. However, these are
especially so, with ...This product was grown using
* no or limited irrigation and
* water-efficient techniques of weeds, mulch and/or hilling
>>> Desert-Adapted crosses +++ This product is naturally adapted to grow with
* no irrigation in the increasingly desert conditions
>>> Biospheric All-Stars pounds ###
ALL our products result in negative carbon gain and increased biodiversity.
But these products are especially good for the environment and if selected help decrease carbon gain and improve biodiversity more by…
* Resulting in a return of more than 75% of their carbonmass to the soil
* Resulting in the support of at least 2 keystone species
* Reducing the overall moisture needs of its surrounding environment