Water and Agriculture
Strategies to Create Resilience and Avert a Crisis
Global agriculture uses about 70 % of the available freshwater on earth. Arid regions represent 41 % of the earth’s terrestrial surface, are home to 2.5 billion people and grow 44 % of the world’s food. These regions are drought prone, experience water scarcity and are being affected by desertification and biodiversity loss. California, the supplier of two thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts as well as four-hundred other commercial crops, has experienced 8 years of drought out of the last eleven years.
To make up the water shortage from the drought, the California’s agriculture sector has relied heavily on groundwater withdrawals, dangerously drawing down aquifers, which in a number of places in the Central Valley has resulted in land subsidence and saltwater intrusion of the water table in coastal farming regions. A rapidly changing climate will continue to put stress on water supply and will push water availability to agriculture to crisis levels.
At this one-day intensive workshop, hosted at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, farmers, permaculturists, researchers and policy makers will share the hard realities, innovative approaches and best practices of careful and responsible management of this precious resource to help make farms more drought resilient. World renowned experts will join us to explore new technologies and urgently needed strategies of conservation, groundwater recharge, and increasing the water holding capacity of soils, as well as policies that take a long view of water stewardship.
The program will include two Conservation Hydrology Tours with OAEC WATER Institute Co-Directors Brock Dolman and Kate Lundquist.
Tour 1, taking place in the 10-acre OAEC Core Area, will focus on integrated water conservation, harvesting, and re-use systems and techniques (storm-water, roof-water, black-water (compost toilets), rain gardens, sediment control, etc.) for regenerative human settlements.
Tour 2, taking place in the 70-acre OAEC Wildlands Preserve, will focus on watershed-scale restoration and management techniques for increased in-stream flows, riparian restoration, fish-friendly roads, erosion control, and off-stream water harvesting for ag water supply.
Brock Dolman co-directs The Water Institute, Permaculture Design, and Wildlands programs at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and has taught permaculture and consulted on regenerative design projects internationally.
Gary Paul Nabhan is an ethnobotanist and author of over 30 books including Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land – Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty.
Gary has played a catalytic role in the multicultural, collaborative conservation movement, and has been involved in numerous projects that celebrate and support ecological and cultural relationships.
Doniga Markegard raises pastured livestock holistically on 10,000 acres incorporating Keyline design to rehydrate the landscape. Markegard Family Grass Fed ranching practices regenerate lands by building soil, sequestering soil, purifying water and restoring health to coastal prairie ecosystems.
Dale Strickler, an agronomist for Green Cover Seed – a leader in the soil health movement, is a Kansas farmer, cover crop expert and author of a Drought Resilient Farm, a blueprint for farming during weather extremes.
David Montgomery is a geologist from the University of Washington and an award-winning author of numerous books on soil including Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, and The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health, a collaboration with Anne Biklé. The book addresses the relationship between microbial life, plants, and people.
Location: Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Occidental, CA
Price: $195 (includes lunch & transport)
Shuttle leaves Embassy Suites in San Rafael, CA at 8:15 a.m.
October 21st | 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
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