Community Garden Keeps Producing
Thousands Enjoy the Bounty
Fresno, CA -- Ever since the federal Bureau of Reclamation informed San Joaquin Valley farmers that they would receive none of their water allocation for 2009, large swaths of land in the fertile valley have been fallowed.
Not only does this fallow land mean less nutrient-dense food is being produced, but also that many thousands of people who earned their livelihoods by working the land or catering to those agricultural workers are unemployed.
The result is thousands of people trying to support their families and survive until water flows to these areas again.
Woolf Farming saw the emerging crisis in Spring 2009 and decided to make 15 acres available to grow food for these families. The plot of land was turned into a community garden. The community garden land was prepared, irrigation laid and crops planted. Over the summer almost a quarter of a million pounds of food was grown for the needy.
Fall is here and the situation has not improved. The Woolf Farming community garden is still producing food for families hit hardest by the lack of water. “We plan to keep the community garden producing as long as there is a need,” says Morgan Woolf, champion of the project.
A breakdown in pounds of fresh produce harvested by Woolf Farming for needy Valley families as of July 2009:
- Corn: 121,100
- Zucchini: 64,600
- Crookneck squash: 19,900
- Bell pepper: 15,760
- Anaheim pepper: 12,200
- Jalapeños: 3,000
- Tomatoes: 1,200
BBC Special "Jimmy's Global Harvest" Featuring Woolf Farming - Part 1 - See Global Agriculture
BBC Special "Jimmy's Global Harvest" Featuring Woolf Farming - Part 2 - See Global Agriculture
Heinz features Woolf Farming
Under their "Grown not Made" story Heinz ketchup shows its trust in Woolf Farming.
Valley looks forward to bumper crop of tomatoesDespite water shortages, softer consumer demand and a record crop, California processing tomato farmers and industry officials are feeling optimistic.
"Yes, we have challenges," said Don Cameron, a Fresno County tomato farmer. "But in the long term we are going to see increases in tomato production in California."
This year, the industry is set to handle its biggest crop ever, an estimated 13.3 million tons, up 15% from last year.
Valley growers to get bad news on water deliveries
West Valley farmers Friday will hear the news they have feared for weeks an unprecedented forecast of no federal water for their multibillion-dollar industry.
Farmers now must shift into survival mode, pumping ground water to keep orchards alive and leaving bare dirt where tomatoes, onions and melons grew in previous years.
“People are going to be using every available ground-water well and trying to get by,” said Sarah Woolf, spokeswoman for Westlands Water District, the largest of the affected districts.
Woolf Farming talks on 60 Minutes about the California Water Shortage
Running Dry: Lesley Stahl reports on California's severe water shortage and the debate on how to solve it. Sunday, Dec. 27, 7 p.m. ET/PT.
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