Support for Farmers During Covid 19 Should be Mirrored with Support for Reliable Water

Californians are resourceful by nature and a prime example of that creativity is support for farmers during COVID 19 mirrored with support for reliable water.

A July 9, 2020 article in the Washington Post highlighted a few of those efforts. (Farm to Parking Lot to Table: The Pandemic is Inspiring Creative Efforts to Get Locally Sourced Food)

Food supply chain disrupted by pandemic

With all the supply chain disruptions that have come with the pandemic, many farmers are having trouble getting the food they grow through the system and into consumers’ hands. As this article points out, groups of neighbors are banding together to buy from farmers and set up ad hoc distribution networks of their own.

Drive-through produce pick-up supports local farmers

Volunteers load produce from nearby farms into customers’ trunks. (Heather Kelly/The Washington Post)

An operation in Silicon Valley, named Giving Fruits by its creator, makes bulk fruit and produce available for drive-through pickup every Friday. In addition to the ingenuity of the process, what shines through is the support for farmers and an understanding of how important it is to have food grown locally.

One customer, Allyson Rosen, said, “. . .now knowing that the farmers are in trouble, I really want to support this. . .when it comes to fruit like this, it’s worth every penny, and to support the farmers.”

All California families are struggling with the effects of this pandemic, so California farmers genuinely appreciate all the public support.

Food production depends on reliable water supplies

But it’s important to point out that reliable water supplies are needed to be able to continue growing the fresh produce that comes from California farms.

Farmers work hard to use water efficiently, conserve wherever possible, and recycle. According to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), agricultural water use in California is down 15 percent since 1980 and production is up more than 60 percent. But the bottom line is, it still requires water to grow our food.

Together, we must push for more smart storage projects, both large and small and designed to enhance ecosystem benefits as well as water supply. The right projects are a sensible way to increase our ability to capture water during wet years for use in drier times. We need government support for expanded recycling as well as overdue infrastructure fixes that help save the water we already capture. And we need all stakeholders to cooperate at the local level on how best to manage the water we do have for people, farms and the environment. If we do these things, not only will farmers be able to continue growing the healthy food we all love, Californians will have a more reliable water supply.

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