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On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

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Water War & Peace

Uploaded: Mar 29, 2015
Spring kicks my vegetable garden into high gear. And, yes, it's here again, that photosynthetic tipping point...but with sinister undercurrents. This can't go on, I am beginning to realize. There isn't enough water.

With warming days and arcing sun, my potatoes have burst into botanical song. But how long? I must have planted these things in a moment of denial. Potatoes are water-intensive. So are my two small patches of apartment lawn. I am already realizing that something has to give. All this greenery can't survive the drought.

Or maybe it can...and that is the real problem. We are in a water crisis, yet I don't see any signs of crisis. Whether or not water automatically arrives with my restaurant meal...well, this issue seems like small potatoes. And I can count on small potatoes without enough water. This fact has spurred me into action.

Actually, a low level of community organizing. Being surrounded by congenial apartment neighbors, this isn't all that hard. People will happily dump a little graywater on my potatoes...particularly if they become "our potatoes." And if everyone pitches in with water recycling, the least they can get is part of the crop. As for "graywater," what is it exactly? I forget. Or maybe what I remember is no longer up-to-date. We all need some educating.

The drought is going to test our ability to cooperate. It already is. Highway signs in the Central Valley proclaim that the drought is a federal plot. Who gets water, who conserves water...which crops and industries survive...and who profits from the water shortage? There's a lot of pain to spread around. There's also a great opportunity to pull together.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by tater tot, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres,
on Mar 30, 2015 at 10:29 am

imo: an individual who grows their own veggies, in a reasonably spare and conscientious fashion, uses far less resources than the giant commercial concerns.

Most folks I see around use space and resources more wisely: they compost, they mulch, they water only when needed - possibly using hyper-efficient drip, they use herbicides and pesticides more sparingly (if at all) than the mega farms.

Away from the actual pro's and con's of actual resources used, I find that those that grow their own also are more connected to the issue. As is clearly evidenced by Mr. Bendix' note above.

So.... enjoy the 'taters!

Posted by growers, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Apr 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Agree. Grow, Paul, grow!

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