Here on the ranch, we've started reducing water even more and my mom and 90-something ranching grandfather have both declared they're not growing gardens this year, to save water. That's a first, in my lifetime. While planting and watering a garden is optional for a farmer, they have to continue to irrigate their crops or risk losing everything. So, we have continued to sprinkle water onto the avocados and lemons, oranges and berries, plums and apricots, hoping that rain will come and that abundant yields will compensate for rising water prices.
All this comes just as I'm trying to expand our supply of strawberries and I planted my first tiny field of strawberries. Today I picked my first 15 berries (not counting the five I ate earlier this week, unable to resist the temptation of a beautiful, warm strawberry straight from the ground.) Of course, they're sweet and delicious. But knowing that they're also the product of our precious water makes them that much more precious. Which brings me to my ultimate point: grow what you can eat!
Look, if everyone either stopped irrigating their landscaping or only planted (and watered) things they could eat, imagine how things would change! Water could translate into food. Food could be shared with neighbors who didn't have lawns. People would see the direct affect of water and its use on their food supply. I know this won't happen, but we can all start by planting a few more strawberries, right? After all, I can assure you that there's nothing in this world more amazing than a March strawberry, picked and eaten in the perfect late afternoon California sunshine. Drought or no drought, nothing tastes as sweet.