Marijuana Is A Gateway Drug–To Urban Hippie Farming Utopia

This is such a good interview with farmers that covers much more than the growing of marijuana, including what seems to be the interviewer’s introduction to a farm, discussion of free-range livestock, rehabilitation of incarcerated people, direct action organizing, racist policing and farming/feeding as a community effort.

Marijuana cultivation is a felony under California law, although growers are eligible for diversion if there is no evidence they intended to sell their crop.Region Lewis said they soon began growing other crops when they were in season, and decided that farming was something they wanted to do with the rest of their lives.

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Has farm-to-table helped the actual farmer yet? – LA Times

The solution for rural economies and small-scale agriculture is not to DIY everything but to build a multifaceted, participatory food system of fully employed food producers, not hobbyists.

Great piece but make sure that you also read the comments attached to see how many people have either “campaign fatigue” about local food or are attached to that trope about how local food can’t feed the world. My comment on there attempts to address that.
Has farm-to-table helped the actual farmer yet? – LA Times.

Truth & Transparency: Farm Audits for Producer-Only Integrity | Farmers Market Coalition

An excellent webinar today from Farmers Market Coalition on one of California’s farm audit programs. Impressive how much our low-capacity markets are doing to safeguard their mission and values and to protect producers.

Find the recording here.

Dry farming in a drought era

Olive and grape growers have used this technique for thousands of years. Now, farmers are expanding this approach for “tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, winter squash, olives, garbanzos, apricots, apples, various grains, and potatoes” – all crops that are successfully dry farmed in California. For example, apples were traditionally dry farmed in western Sonoma County. While the fruit size was smaller, the yields were good and most of the fruit went for processing where size is unimportant. There are probably many more such examples.
From the article: Dry farming is not a yield maximization strategy; rather it allows nature to dictate the true sustainability of agricultural production in a region. David Little, a Sonoma vegetable grower who says he at times gets only a quarter of the yield of his competitors, describes dry farming as “a soil tillage technique, the art of working the soil; starting as early as possible when there is a lot of moisture in the soil, working the ground, creating a sponge-like environment so that the water comes from down below, up into the sponge. You press it down with a roller or some other implement to seal the top…so the water can’t evaporate and escape out.”

See the case studies section in the article for some examples of growers that dry farm such crops in California.

http://agwaterstewards.org/index.php/practices/dry_farming/