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Notes From the Editor

By Paulette Swallow, Editor

with David Lewis and Julia Van Soelen Kim, Co-editors

My drive home from work every day is through the back roads of Marin County’s countryside. This time of year, I see dry, golden brown hills and pastures waiting in preparation for this year’s grass crops to grow. Each week, as fall progresses, my angst grows for rain this winter. From my office chair, it is easy for me to “hope” for rain; if it doesn’t come there is no direct impact on my household. But for Marin County farmers and ranchers facing high feed bills, empty watering ponds, and fallow fields, rain brings a relief many of us will never know. This year, although farmers and ranchers have faced many challenges due to short feed supplies and few options to problem solve this drought, they have continued to deliver superior products to our community. But this all depends on a wet winter.

dry hills

In recent weeks I have spent a significant amount of time in the field  visiting row crop farms, dairy ranches, and attended industry meetings, and the conversations always come around to how producers are handling the drought. Water is essential to life, whether it has roots or a heartbeat. Thankfully the central goal for these producers is the quality product they provide. Although most of them live and work amongst family members and have been doing so for generations, at the end of the day they run a business—a business that provides a product to local consumers.

It is inspiring to see a fourth generation dairyman show concern for the health of his cows and the quality of his milk. The same care is shown when a farmer kneels in the soil and takes pride explaining how she has built her soil quality, improved her crops, and become a steward of the land. I think about how lucky we are. We live in one of the most beautiful places in California, and in Marin County, we are surrounded by an agricultural industry that produces an abundance of fresh, healthy, and delicious food. Whether it is milk, cheese, lettuce, or beef, our producers maintain the highest of quality standards. We have steadily become a health conscious community and I can’t think of a better place than Marin County to fulfill this healthy lifestyle.

Yet water is the reason we have this abundance: at pumpkin patches and corn mazes, farmers markets and farm stands, we have the opportunity to enjoy all of this right in our own backyard. As most of us admire the agriculture scene from a distance, contemplating when that corn maze will be done growing or noticing the new array of fall vegetables at the grocery store, take the time to appreciate the hard work and determination of our local producers.