the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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california is blessed with rains, but what about other regions?

sahara-mali

Photo Credit: Jeanne Menjoulet

After 5 years of severe drought, a series of winter storms has drenched and flooded California. Over 40% of the state has had its drought restrictions lifted and the Sierra’s have been swallowed by snow.

But what about other regions in the world? Climate change and severe drought have wreaked havoc across West Africa. Subsistence farmers are finding they simply can’t get by, causing mass migration and dangerous treks across the Sahara and through destabilized countries. A recent article in the New York Times, with personal stories, maps, videos, and stunning photography, tells the whole story.

“Climate change on its own doesn’t force people to move but it amplifies pre-existing vulnerabilities,” said Jane McAdam, an Australian law professor who studies the trend. They move when they can no longer imagine a future living off their land — or as she said, “when life becomes increasingly intolerable.”

Folks, this is a must read, especially for those interested in global agricultural and climate issues!

Check it out HERE.


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the wild west of weed has a water problem

Some drought-stricken rivers and streams in Northern California’s coastal forests are being polluted and sucked dry by water-guzzling medical marijuana farms, wildlife officials say — an issue that has spurred at least one county to try to outlaw personal grows.

State fish and wildlife officials say much of the marijuana being grown in northern counties under the state’s medical pot law is not being used for legal, personal use, but for sale both in California and states where pot is still illegal.

This demand is fueling backyard and larger-scale pot farming, especially in remote Lake, Humboldt and Mendocino counties on the densely forested North Coast, officials said.

“People are coming in, denuding the hillsides, damming the creeks and mixing in fertilizers that are not allowed in the U.S. into our watersheds,” said Denise Rushing, a Lake County supervisor who supports an ordinance essentially banning outdoor grows in populated areas.

“When rains come, it flows downstream into the lake and our water supply,” she said. Many affected waterways also contain endangered salmon, steelhead and other creatures protected by state and federal law. Click HERE to read more about this dilemma.

 

 

 


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did drought kill your trees? here’s some help…

2012 and 2013 were tough years for planting/growing anything in much of the US.  If it wasn’t flooding, it was a drought.  drought kill your trees?

Trees died.  The FSA office of USDA is here to help (with cash to recoup your losses). Even for losses you may have had two years ago!

The Details

The farm bill was recently extended, so what’s old is new again.  Here’s how it worked last time around:


1) Read the above links
2) Call your FSA office 
3) Be nice
4) File an FSA-899 form
5) IMPORTANT DETAIL: If you’re a Beginning Farmer (10 years farming or less in last 10) or Historically Underserved (look up the definition if you don’t know), you are EXEMPT from the crop insurance requirement.  THAT MEANS YOU CAN APPLY EVEN IF YOU HAD NO CROP INSURANCE.
6)Tell Grant how it goes for you.