I don't watch TV news, so maybe everyone has already seen reports about the California drought and climate change elsewhere.
I'm seeing increased attention to the big drought via my RSS feeds.
Bloomberg.com California drought impact spreading from fires to food cost.
"The fallout may be felt on grocery shelves throughout the country in the coming months as prices of artichokes, celery, broccoli and cauliflower could rise at least 10%... The state grows more than 80% of the nation’s supply of these crops."
Voice of America. The drought has been building for more than a decade.
drought is actually the norm in the history of the American West, with some dry periods that have lasted up to 50 years. In Southern California, this drought is turning into one of the worst in recorded history.
“Historically, in 135 years of record-keeping, this has been the driest,"
Mother Jones. Drought the worst in 500 years. The most vulnerable crops...are probably stone fruits like plums, cherries, peaches, and apricots, which are adapted to wetter climates...(also) Less water means less grass for beef and dairy cows to graze, forcing ranchers either to cull their herds or sell cattle in fire sales. One auctioneer on the Central Coast told the Associated Press he was selling up to 1,000 cattle per week, up to 10 times the normal rate. So meat mild and dairy are affected too.
I mean for this group to be empowering, and exalt gardening, not to be a downer. So where am I going with this?
This: If people want more expensive foods, less variety, last taste, less wholesome, we can continue the status quo. Just buy from grocery stores, and keep our lawns in grass, and not learn our grandparents ways, informed by modern science and technology. If we want to savor the varieties that grow in our local provenances, experiment, have the best foods possible, sometimes plentiful and with variety, we need to garden. Where and when we can. Gardening is an act of independence, creativity, and sometimes defiance against the forces who oppress. Sometimes.
It's going to require more creativity, more experimentation, there are always failures, and there are often successes. We may need to give up on tasteless plums in December, and settle for candy-sweet plums in July. Give up woody strawberries in January, and settle for juicy flavorful strawberries in June, July, and August. Give up toxin-infused lawn for fruit trees, tomatoes, potatoes, and other delights.
That's my 2 cents. I think we need to pass on a heritage of independent gardening, to those who follow. The spirit of "I can do it", and know that's not a sacrifice, but an opportunity to live better and enjoy the flavors and nutrition that home gardening offers.
As for folks in drought-ridden areas, reuse water, use grey water, mulch, grow dry-land crops - even nopales and dates have their place. Each region has limitations and opportunities. If you are flushing perfectly good drinking water down your toilet, and sending usable water down the drain by billions of gallons, for rinsing dishes and showering, maybe it's time to think about better sanitary practices.
That's my 2 cents. We all need to think of how to adapt, because that's the only choice we have.
(All images source: commons.wikimedia.org public domain images)
You covered a lot of territory here. Well stated, I might add. I really don't need to, but I'm the king of water conservation. What irritates me is having to flush toilets with "soft" water. I need a water softener with the amount of iron my well water contains.