by: Josh Harkinson
ON THE EDGE of Jim Diedrich’s 1,500-acre almond and tomato farm is a rustic office where his son would normally be sitting in front of a flat screen, controlling a superefficient drip irrigation network. But he’ll have some more time on his hands this summer. California is in the midst of its most severe drought in nearly 20 years. And to make things worse, two years ago a federal judge ruled that pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta were killing off the threatened delta smelt. And so Diedrich’s farm outside the Central Valley town of Firebaugh is receiving almost no irrigation water this year. Sitting in his office, commiserating with a neighboring farmer, he griped, “It’s unbelievable the power of the goddamn wacko environmentalists.”
Water footprinting has already caught the attention of some large, PR-savvy corporations. In the past two years, 50 companies, including Coca-Cola and Levi Strauss, have signed on to the United Nations CEO Water Mandate, making a loose commitment to cut their water use and encourage their suppliers and customers to do the same. Last year, Unilever, the Dutch and British conglomerate that buys 7 percent of the world’s tomatoes, announced that in making its Ragú pasta sauce it would favor California tomatoes grown by farmers who use efficient drip irrigation systems. “We’re highly reliant on water as a source material,” explains John Temple, the company’s sustainability director. “If we don’t have a handle on water availability, we might not have the business in the future.”
LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!