Emergency under our feet #soil #thomasfire

I wrote a little piece for UC Food Observer last week in which I noted the convergence of CA Soils Week and the Thomas fire. In short, I recognized the damage done to the soil by the fires, and the need to help them rebuild. Link here:

http://ucfoodobserver.com/2017/12/07/from-the-fire-zone-a-farmers-perspective/

Don’t soils come back on their own? Well, yes…. given time. But before they do, they are subject to further damage from both wind and rain. It is in our interest to give them a boost. If we do not, the consequences are clear: loss of topsoil in hillside orchards and grazing land, mudslides that threaten neighborhoods downhill, and sediment that impacts our waterways.

My good friend Margot Stewart has taken up the idea I suggest in the post. Laying in a stock of seed to distribute to farmers, ranchers, and hillside property owners will help us get out in front of this second wave of destruction that are sure to follow in Thomas’ wake. Link here:

https://www.gofundme.com/regrowventura

With the devastation around us, there are many ways that people can contribute. I know there are many demands for your attention and support and they are all worthy. But please don’t forget the emergency under our feet.

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Celery is #2!

Agriculture in Ventura County is a strange beast. Just when people think they have it figured out, there is a new wrinkle. That was the case when many learned that celery was the #2 crop in the County last year, beating out iconic local crops like lemons, oranges, and avocados. My article for Totally Local VC explains why.

http://www.totallylocalvc.com/the-stalk-market-boom/

My thanks to Scott and Edgar for their time spent explaining the world of celery to this tree farmer.

Ventura Agriculture: The First Century

The second installment of my history series for TotallyLocalVC.com covers the beginnings of agriculture in Ventura County. This period saw tremendous political change, as Ventura passed from Spain to Mexico to the United States. Change in the farmscape was just as pronounced.

http://www.totallylocalvc.com/if-you-build-it-they-will-come/

TotallyLocalVC.com

I’m excited to be working with TotallyLocalVC.com, a new site dedicated to living, playing and working in Ventura County, and celebrating those things that make this area special. I’ll be writing an occassional column on Agriculture’s role in our county, as well as particpated in some planned farm dinners. Part of the reason my output in this blog has dropped off recently is that I have been writing and editing the pieces that will appear in TotallyLocalVC.com. My first piece, on Ventura before agriculture, should post soon.

So even though I am something of an “insider”, I was still very pleased to be profiled by D.K. Crawford in one of the first pieces published. You can read her (overly generous) article here. She does a wonderful job introducing several of the people that I am proud to call customers and friends: Tim Kilcoyne of the SideCar and Local Cafe, Kate Dunbar of Petite Reve Cafe, and James and Manuela Carling of Ventura Limoncello. The secret to whatever success I have had as a “rockstar farmer” is that I am teamed with people this talented. When you have this caliber of people using your lemons, you can’t help but look good.

I’m trying to apply the same trick to my writing. Having the chance to work with TLVC’s dynamic founder Kat Merrick, and talented writer/photographers like DK is a great opportunity. Watch this space for more work soon!