I flew up to Sacramento a couple weeks ago to learn more about the drought from the farmers and see the Oroville Dam myself. I was invited on the farm tour with the California Farm Water Coalition – CFWC is a non-profit, educational organization formed in 1989 to provide fact-based information on farm water issues to the public. I had no clue my beloved state was in a drought until only this year. The reality is this record setting drought is heading into its fourth year.
California is the 4th largest of supplier of food to the World and the #1 largest supplier of food to the entire United States. Yep, our drought is your drought. The 2014 farm water drought impact is 17,100 lost jobs = 2.2 Billion in lost economic activity + 15% increased prices to consumers. Those are actual factual numbers right there but I insist you check out farmwater.org on your own for more info on the drought.
I know, that was heavy. I honestly didn’t think I would be so affected until I got to our first stop of the farm tour, Lundberg Family Farms in Richvale, CA. Family-owned and operated since 1937. The family and farms have withstood their share of droughts. Superheroes for their organic, non-GMO rice products. Rice cakes, rice chips, pasta and rice. Lundberg rice is top of the line. I saw the itinerary weeks ahead, I knew exactly where we were going but nothing makes an impact like being there. My personal connection to rice is with my Grandpa Smith, who invented a hand tiller in the 70s. I pretty much grew up visiting his factory and rice paddies in the Philippines every Summer vacation when I was a kid.
The tour was headed by who better than family member Bryce Lundberg, the VP of Agriculture. We got to take a peek at everything from the factory to the fields. Sharing an infographic below to show How Rice Grows:
The fields are in the harvest phase. Bryce Lundberg showing us rice fresh from the fields with the husk still on.
The drought is real, yall.
This is the first post in my food grows where water flows journey, stay tuned for the next stops on our tour.