Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Drive Home from Phoenix

I have some photos to post of my trip to Sedona, to the art retreat,and other of my journey to and from Arizona but I have to load them from my camera still. I have stories to tell but will get to them later. My immediate thoughts are of the dry, barren, dusty fields I passed along the San Joaquin/Sacramento Valley as I was driving on highway 5 (or The 5 as southern Californians say). Acres and acres of unplanted fields. Acres and acres of dead and dyeing fruit and nut trees, some of which were toppled over to the ground. Desolate and sad. Every quarter mile or so were signs saying "Congress Created Dust Bowl". Farmers have been denied water rights that were once plentiful. It's a hugh dilemma since the water was denied to save the fish since the water table was being severely depleted.

Read this article and see the photos. Here's a paragraph from it.

"Farmers throughout this region echo the sentiment that politics, not the drought, is the problem. Most of California gets its water from a huge estuary called the Delta, where two big rivers join in the center of the valley. But so much water was being pumped out of the Delta that a tiny smelt there, an endangered species, is disappearing. So late last year, a federal judge ruled that the amount of water being delivered to the south had to be sharply cut back."

I've heard that salmon and other fish were dyeing from their habitat being diminished by low water levels, not just the smelt. So do we try to save the fish or the orchards and crops? I wondered why almond butter was $11.00 a jar. Food prices are going to skyrocket and how much will get imported to other states?

"One out of every six jobs in California is tied to agriculture in some way. California has the largest agricultural economy in the nation; half of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables are grown here. About 20% of the nation’s milk supply comes from California; 92% of all grapes grown in the United States are grown here. Cotton, foliage and flowers are also in the top 10 agricultural commodities produced in California. Fresno is the most productive county in the nation, with an agricultural worth of 3.5 billion dollars in 2000."

Fresno is in the middle of the region that is now turning into a dust bowl. Think how the Joad family fled the nations dust bowl to come to California in "The Grapes of Wrath" and now we must wonder if that sequence may be reversed?

1 comment:

Marionette said...

That was a very interesting post! I often feel the same way about Kauai. We have so much farm land that could be used to grow just about anything, yet it sits wasted with tall grass and weeds. This fall, the last sugar cane company, Gay and Robinson, is calling it quits for good. Sugar is being produced more cheaply overseas.

Very sad how our once great nation is just falling apart. Chalk it up to politics and big business among other problems.