On a frigid, eight-acre farm just outside downtown Sebastopol, Paul Kaiser has devised a hyper-intensive form of organic agriculture that is grossing more than $100,000 an acre. And, he believes, saving the planet at the same time. Yet a number of farming experts see trouble on his horizon.
By TODD OPPENHEIMER
For generations, the Isbell family of Arkansas has been tinkering with innovations in rice farming. They were the first American farmers to grow elite varieties of rice for sushi and sake, and have pioneered rice cultivation methods that can conserve water and slow climate change.
Story by DAVID RAMSEY
Photography by KAT WILSON
The Isbell family of Arkansas has spent decades experimenting with new ways to grow rice. In the process, they pioneered American-grown rice for sushi and sake, along with rice-farming techniques that can save water and help slow climate change.
You’ve probably never heard the term “acequia,” but it describes one of the oldest methods of irrigation on the planet. Too bad American ranchers have largely ignored it.
Animals, plants, soil, and air have long collaborated to regulate our climate by stimulating “the water cycle.” They have also helped control natural disasters, like the wildfires in Australia — until we disrupted their partnership. The good news is that there is a clear pathway to reconciliation.
Could a small, controversial farmer in Northern California have found the most effective way to grow food in a warming world? With gross income of more than $100,000 an acre, Paul Kaiser certainly thinks so.
While annual wildfires and other “natural” disasters mount in Australia, California, and elsewhere, a growing number of researchers and pastoralists around the globe have found remarkable, untapped opportunities to limit these troubles. It turns out that animals, plants, soil, and air have long collaborated to regulate our climate through their water use—until we disrupted their partnership. An environmental author finds a pathway to reconciliation.
By JUDITH D. SCHWARTZ
Acequias arrived with the legendary (or infamous, depending on one’s perspective) expeditions to New Mexico and Colorado led by the best-known conquistadors: Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, Juan de Oñate, and Diego de Vargas—all native-born Spaniards. Less commonly known is the fact that these conquistadors who brought acequias to the southwestern U.S. region were most often…
The blind spots in the American West’s water systems are in full display in Ventura County, a coastal region of Central California that happens to hold the most lucrative farmland in the state. Equally abundant, and somewhat in progress, are opportunities for enlightenment. Which path will prevail?
By CRAWFORD COATES