Bless California Farmers and the Governor and Water Boards for Helping Them

by on February 27, 2023 · 0 comments

in California, Ocean Beach

By Colleen O’Connor

My grandmother and great aunts were all farmers in North Dakota.  Most were homesteading land in their own name.  They rode horseback while brandishing rifles to shoot their dinners.  Then plucked, hacked, and ate their game and grew farm vegetables and fruits.

These pioneer women would be shocked to learn that their granddaughter/grandniece has never grown anything edible yet made a living standing in front a classroom and talking.

Honestly, no agrarian roots for me.  Nor for my mother who left the Dakotas at age eighteen to “move as far west and south as possible.”  Hence, San Diego.

The recent rains and snow reminded me of these relatives who braved worse weather and greater hardships while cooking, sewing, and painfully waving several sons off to a world war.

Perhaps, that is why I appreciate farmers.  I applaud them for feeding us all yet am worried about losing our local food sources in these times of mega uncertainty amidst another widening war in Europe.

And not just because of the water wars between fish and farmers.  The recent storms and California’s Governor and Water Boards’ decisions to allocate more water to the farmers and increase rain capture has lessened those concerns for now.  God bless them for negotiating that.

However, continued massive development and building projects in the Central Valley have devoured farmlands.  Take a drive through the inland areas of the state and see for yourself. The “for sale’ signs, the huge swaths of what was once arable tracts of open space or farmlands are gone never to recover.

Granted California and San Diego, are fierce advocates of “local, local, local.”  But that is not enough. Co-op gardens, backyard plantings (for anyone lucky enough to own a backyard) and buying organic are not solutions to what is unfolding.

A future without food security, as Udai Shanker Awasthi, managing director and chief executive officer of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative, that country’s largest producer, argues:

“If your stomach is full then you can defend your house, you can defend your borders, you can defend your economy.”

Yes, farmers need water and land, but they also need fertilizer, already in short supply, and now a weaponized global issue.

Why the danger?  That fertilizer market is dominated by China and Russia.

As Bloomberg News first reported:

Thus, “just as semiconductors have become a lightning rod for geopolitical friction, so the race for fertilizers has alerted the US and its allies to a strategic dependency for an agricultural input that is a key determinant of food security.

“That’s pushed fertilizers — and who controls them — to the forefront of the political agenda around the world: The US State Department is beefing up its expertise on fertilizers, presidents are tweeting about them, they’re featuring in election campaigns, and becoming the focus of tensions between countries as well as an unlikely currency of diplomacy. They’re also being pulled into the contest of narratives over who’s to blame for the fallout from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Global wars.  Global food insecurity.  Global strangleholds on food and fertilizers.

Bless the farmers still farming and the Governor and Water Boards still helping them so we can all defend our house, defend our borders, and defend our economy.








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