On April 1, Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order requiring urban centers to reduce their water consumption by 25%. With the driest winter on record and only a one-year supply of water stored in the state’s reservoirs, many are questioning whether the burden of conservation should fall so heavily on cities, when no restrictions have been placed on agriculture, which uses 80% of the state’s water but generates only 2% of its economic activity.
As the nation grapples with the worst drought in decades, the USDA added more than 218 counties to its list of natural disaster areas, bringing the total to 1,584—more than half of all US counties. Farmers in the Midwest and Great Plains have been the hardest hit, but the drought is a growing reality for farmers across the country, including California. While the Secretary of Agriculture won’t comment on the drought’s link to climate change, it’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and as global warming unfolds, knowledge of dryland agriculture will become increasingly valuable.
Since the homemade food renaissance has taken root, there's been no shortage of home picklers, jammers, and bakers. But in some states, it's a misdemeanor for those home artisans to sell their goodies in the open marketplace. Case in point: Last June, Department of Public Health officials in California shut down ForageSF's popular Underground Market, which featured mostly home producers, because its sellers were not compliant with local and state regulations.