Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Drought & Farmers

Well, I just returned home from a trip up to San Francisco and Berkeley to see my nephew graduate from Cal and to spend a few days in the City. I am one proud Auntie and I had a wonderful time in the Bay Area as I always do.

However, I couldn't help thinking about the disturbing landscape I saw as we made our way up through the Central Valley, along Highway 5, it literally looked like the Dust Bowl (SEE PHOTOS ABOVE, IT'S JUST DUST). A fact not lost on the farmers and the California Farm Water Coalition who had posted signs all along the fallow and brown fields that read "Congress Created Dust Bowl."

Now, unless you live under a rock, you are no doubt aware of the drought that our state is facing. But, I also know that most Angelenos haven't got a clue about the water issues facing our farmers and usually assume that they get "all the water," when in fact this is not true.

So, as usual LA Farm Girl is asking everybody to educate themselves about the real role of agriculture and the real impact to our farmers when these issues come up. You can start by visiting the California Farm Water Coalition, http://www.farmwater.org/. Here, you fill find useful information such as actual water usage by different groups in California.

For example, "The environment uses 48% of all developed water in our state. Ag gets 41 percent and the remaining 11 percent goes to urban use, according to the Department of Water Resources in Sacramento."

As they mention on their site, "Estimates from UC Davis economists indicate up to 80,000 jobs will be lost and $1.6-2.2 billion will disappear from the economy in the San JoaquinValley alone because of the reduced water supplies this year. Along with the economic decline will come incalculable social consequences."

This is already happening, in the town of Mendota, unemployment is 40% and farm workers and their families are now among the hungry and homeless. Pretty ironic in an area that grows food.

You might wonder why you should care about farmers or agriculture, well the main reason is that the water farms use goes to feed us, yes all of us and many other people in our nation. California produces one-half of the fruits and vegetables in the United States.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to invite you to our Bi-annual redondo Beach Historical Home Tour, Saturday, June 27. We have invited several locals to participate by selling their books at Heritage Square (Flagler and 190th St. in Redondo Beach). My son, Kevin, heard your interview on Public Radio and thought you would be an asset to our HOme Tour. We get around 250 people attending and our home will be on the tour this year. Thanks, Jianulla Zimmerman

Justin said...

This is truly a man-made tragedy. Very sad.

Daniel said...

Hi LA Farm Girl,

I think it is great you did research in the water use of farmers in the South Central Valley. Water is important for farming jobs.