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Episode 9: Water. We need it. We're running out.

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On Episode 9 of the Farm.One podcast, Jess Karol, Farm.One’s Technical Director, joins Rob and Michael for a discussion about water.

California Water Futures Begin Trading Amid Fear of Scarcity. California’s the largest agricultural producer in the United States and the 5th largest economy in the world. Over half of the organic leafy greens in the US come from California and according to the California Almond Board, the state’s growers supply over 80% of the world’s almonds. Meanwhile, the state has been suffering from a drought from December 2011 to March of 2019.

“The contracts, a first of their kind in the U.S., were announced in September as heat and wildfires ravaged the U.S. West Coast and as California was emerging from an eight-year drought. They are meant to serve both as a hedge for big water consumers, such as almond farmers and electric utilities, against water price fluctuations as well as a scarcity gauge for investors worldwide.”

The team breaks down the issues, the causes and the problems for agriculture, in what is an interconnected set of policy, business and environmental topics that define complexity.

In the second news story, the team discusses a story from Civil Eats: Is Farming with Reclaimed Water the Solution to a Drier Future?

The story is about CoCo San Sustainable Farm, a small farm in Martinez, California, founded by Carolyn Phinney. Carolyn was able to acquire land from Contra Costa County that was being used as a dumping ground, “(t)he ground was so poor that even weeds struggled to grow there.” Located on “sanitary buffer land owned by the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCCSD) and is adjacent to their water treatment plant. Phinney irrigates all her crops with reclaimed wastewater, which she says is nutrient rich, safe, free, and abundant.”

What is reclaimed water? Is the water safe? Can it support high yields? Is this a viable and sustainable solution for urban farms across the country?

For more information about today’s stories:

California Water Futures Begin Trading Amid Fear of Scarcity, Bloomberg

Farming with Reclaimed Water the Solution to a Drier Future?, Civil Eats

CoCo San Sustainable Farm

Climate as a contributing factor in the demise of Angkor, Cambodia

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