Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
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Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

sam farr2What can be done in the short- and longterm to address water shortage issues for Santa Cruz County agriculture? 

Access to clean water is the lifeblood of our agriculture industry. Since the start of this recent drought, I have been in constant contact with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on ways we can help growers now and ways we can mitigate the impact of future droughts.

Congress has already taken some action to combat the drought by passing a full five-year Farm Bill. The new Farm Bill has provisions to assist growers in finding new sources of water and more efficiently using the water we already have. Additionally, the Secretary made all four counties in our district eligible for disaster relief to help offset the economic impact of the drought. I also joined with other members of the California delegation to introduce new legislation to further assist our growers during these dry times.

These are all great steps to deal with the current drought but the unfortunate reality is that droughts will become more frequent in the future due to global climate change. This year was the driest on record and it is no coincidence it was also one of the warmest. However, even if folks do not believe in climate change, we can all agree that we need a better plan to deal with water shortages. Federal, state and local government need to work together with the communities they serve to find better ways to manage our water supply.

A long-term solution is going to take an all-of-the-above approach. We can search for more efficient methods of irrigation and ways to recycle water through better reclamation practices. Employing growing methods that increase organic matter in the soil will also increase the moisture content of the ground. These and many other ideas are just the tip of the sword. The public and private sector must continue to work together to identify the best practices and ways to replicate them throughout the industry. If everyone works together, we can decrease the impact of future droughts for everyone and ensure the long-term stability of our agriculture community.  

In light of 2014 being a midterm election year, what is your stance on the state of campaign finance in this country? 

The strength of our democracy is determined by the health of our elections. Recent Supreme Court decisions have dealt a serious blow to supporters of a fair and open election system—one defined by the simple idea of “one person, one vote.”

By improperly giving corporations the same rights as people, the court opened a floodgate of political spending, allowing billions of dollars to come pouring into races through the formation of Super PACs. The average citizen’s voice is drowned out by this influx of cash because they simply cannot compete with such a massive amount of spending. What is even worse is that these unregulated Super PACs do not have to disclose where the money is coming from; allowing groups like those supported by the billionaire Koch brothers to campaign against candidates anonymously. How can a candidate fight back against lies and smears if they don’t even know who is spreading them? The public has the right to know who is trying to influence their vote and what that group’s real agenda is.

Thrown on top of all of this are voter suppression laws and gerrymandered districts designed to reduce the influence of the general public. The whole purpose is to create a system that is rigged to benefit the lucky few at the expense of everyone else.

But I remain hopeful because the country is wakening up to this agenda. They are beginning to reject candidates who listen only to a few wealthy supporters and ignore the needs of everyone else. By fighting back against these malicious attempts to hijack our elections we can reclaim our democracy and elect candidates that work for everyone.

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Santa Cruz Home Care Provider since 1990
written by Dennis Dryna, March 25, 2014
California Industrial Hemp Farming Act Becomes Law

Crop of the Future?
Farmers, who are constantly negotiating their irrigation expenses, would likely be drawn to industrialized hemp, which requires less water and fewer agricultural inputs than most other crops, and has deep tap roots that leave the soil in good condition for the next crop cycle.

If water and other production costs were significantly lower and the value of the product was more than the fruits and vegetables many farmers are already cultivating, then the hemp option would definitely be on the table

“Water costs are always an issue,”

Trading Water for Fuel is Fracking Crazy
It would be difficult to live without oil and gas. But it would be impossible to live without water. Yet, in our mad rush to extract and sell every drop of gas and oil as quickly as possible, we’re trading precious water for fossil fuels.

US House of Representatives Approves Hemp Research Provisions

HEMP Friend to People & the Ecology
Hemp for Soil & Water -- The plant's strong roots anchor and invigorate the soil to control erosion and mudslides. Hemp plants shed their leaves all through the growing season, adding rich organic matter to the topsoil tohelp retain moisture. Hemp is self-fertilizing and grows on the same ground for decades without the heavy fertilizers and pesticides that corn, cotton, tobacco and others need; and that now pollute 50% of our drinking water. Unlike fossil fuels, a hemp spill requires no cleanup; it even enriches the soil.

Hemp, Tropical Corn and Other Alternative Annual Forages: Opportunities for Feeding Beef Cattle in Five Easy Lessons!

Helping Earth's Sustainable Management with a Plant

Using Industrial Hemp
The leaves and roots of the plant also deserve mention. The Hemp plants drop their leaves when they are mature, which reintroduces minerals and nitrogen back to the soil. Even Hemp’s deep roots offer an important contribution; they anchor and aerate the soil to control erosion and mudslides. When Hemp is used as a rotation crop, the crops that follow it are stronger and healthier.

One of the most beneficial uses for hemp would be as an alternative to tree-based paper. This of course means less logging which would mean less habitat destruction for plants and animals (over 27,000 species go extinct every year,(2) and deforestation is the biggest contributor), a possible end to old-growth logging, less mudslides and fires, both caused by over-logging, a reduction in greenhouse-gases, and in general a vast reduction of the ecological destruction going on in forests all over the country. 40% of trees logged become paper, and hemp because it has a higher yield, roughly four times more fiber per acre,(2) and grows more quickly, could virtually end logging.

Hemp for Victory
The hemp plant could also be replanted along riverbanks. This would not be to harvest, but used to prevent soil erosion, mudslides and also loss of watershed. Hemp is the only plant known to man that is capable of reducing acid rain and the greenhouse effect.

Cal EMA Puts Pressure on FEMA
The devastating storms that caused flooding, mudslides and took out roads throughout California this past March are still having an effect on the state and Santa Cruz County.

The Curious Case of Hemp
The first Hemp History Week began on May 17 with a slew of events across the nation—and a few in Santa Cruz—aimed at educating people on the deep roots of hemp in American history and the stigmas the useful crop faces in modern times.

The Green Energy of Hemp Offers a Solution to Our Ecological Crisis
Hemp does not deplete the soil of essential nutrients as many food crops do if grown repeatedly on the same lands. Leaves fall to the ground during the plant’s entire growth cycle, fertilizing the soil. The deep shade of the tall plants chokes out weeds, and the deep root systems connect with water sources and loosen hard packed ground. Thus, hemp is a perfect tool for the reclamation of damaged, depleted, or marginal farmlands. It can be used in the restoration of drought-stricken zones and to prevent erosion in mudslide and forest fire areas. Hemp may prove to be our most important ally in reversing the desertification of stripped rainforest areas.

An Inconvenient Truth about Industrial Cotton
There is a very good likely-hood that the clothing you currently have on is extremely harmful to the environment.

Hemp is an ideal riverbed crop, helping prevent soil erosion and mudslides. Perhaps one of the most amazing facts about hemp and its benefits is that it has a strong ability to clean up soil which has been contaminated with toxic metals, pesticides, solvents, gasoline, and explosives. Hemp is currently being used to clean the toxins in the soil around Chernobyl.

Hemp Facts
Hemp Roots: Anchor and Aerate soil. Reduce soil loss because of erosion and mudslides by reducing the velocity of runoff. Detoxify soil by pulling metals and toxins (including radioactive elements) from ground.

Mudslide traps cars on U.S. 24 west of Manitou Springs 07/10/2013
A mudslide closed U.S. 24 west of Manitou Springs on Wednesday afternoon, trapping about 20 cars in deep muck.

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