In my decade plus of farming, the summers have always been dry on the Island. Usually the rain in the shoulder seasons makes up for it, refilling the ponds and the aquifer and comforting us through the dry months. But this spring was drier than any I can remember and now we are heading into many weeks of what will most likely be little rain.
I spoke with a friend in California this morning about the ever-rising threat of reliable water access out west. She spoke of a farm up the road that normally pumps all the water for their irrigation needs from a nearby river. With the presence of severe drought, the farm recently received a cease and desist order from the state, denying them access to this lifeline. The farm has had to let go of their employees and stand by as crops wither. This is an ever increasing reality for many farmers on the west coast as rainfall becomes less and less.
As a grower, I have watched climate change in real-time. In our fields, we have shouldered against increasing wind storms and irrigated through no-rain summers. We have had frosts in June, and then been frost-free well into early winter. We grow more crops under the protection of hoop houses, hoping to combat increasing pest and disease pressure and to mitigate unpredictable weather patterns. Who knows what lies ahead of us; this is such a tenuous game we play.
For now, each time I turn on the irrigation, I try to pause and offer a blessing of gratitude for this wealth that too many of us count as a given.
So, let's hope for those rainstorms later this week. If we get a good shower, you'll find me doing a joyful jig amid the raindrops!