I had been drafting a post about our little CSA (that's "community supported agriculture" for those not familiar) and summer life to go live this week, when events over the past few days conspired to get in my way. Unless you live in a rain forest and are completely disconnected from all forms of news media entirely, you must know that we (this United States of America) are in the grips of a horrific drought. Not a little dry spell. Not a week-long heat wave, let's all hope it rains and cools off. Not a turn your sprinklers on and we will make it. No, this is serious business. Literally and figuratively.
I live smack-dab in the middle of Northwestern Ohio's farm country. Out the window from my computer desk I look into a corn field. Directly behind our home on the other side of Dry Creek (literally right now) sits a large soybean field. To the north of our small neighborhood is a hayfield. Driving to work during the school year I pass more farms, barns, grain silos, tractor storage sheds, and elevators than I can count. Grain prices are listed on our news broadcasts right along with the stock market. As members of a local CSA, we are directly tied to the farmers who feed our family as well. Becky, Don and the crew are like family to us. Farmers make up a large percentage of the community that employs me as a school counselor. And right now, things are bad.
We aren't getting distribution this week for our CSA. Or next. The crops simply are not producing. Farmers are selling off herds of cattle. Chickens are dying due to heat. (and before anyone tells me about how they are kept in inhumane conditions, I'm talking about lovely hens that roam farmer's front yards and produce the most delicious free-range, organic eggs you've ever eaten). Even my own little garden that we irrigate isn't producing. The blossoms are coming on with my pepper, cucumber and tomato plants, but then drop off. The plants are so stressed.
My heart is breaking for those who are working so hard every day to feed us. I know so many of them and see it in their faces right now-the stress and sadness. And there isn't a thing we can do except pray for rain. Hope for the heat to break. Stare at radar screens and will those rain storms to dive south towards us instead of hovering 50 miles north.
I'm not a climate change expert. I'm not even close to what one would call a scientist. Quite the opposite actually, as it is my second-to-last worst subject. But I am hearing everywhere I turn that we are facing more winters that are warm and snowless. More summers with record-breaking heat waves and dry weather. So I am going to do my best to step up our efforts here to reduce our footprint. It may not bring the much hoped for rain, but it is the very least I can do. All I ask is that you do the same, and spread the word.
And hug a farmer. Then take them some lunch or dinner. They need all the support they can get right now, and we should take it right to their fields.