Community storytelling project

Saturday morning found me across town at a branch of the Fresno County Library. I had signed up to record a 15-minute conversation about agriculture and how it has changed over my lifetime and what the future holds. My conversation was with Bob Rodriquez who is the agriculture writer for our local paper, The Fresno BEE.

I know Bob, of course, through his writing in the paper, but I am also connected to him through social media. We exchange tweets every now and then. A few years ago I noticed that cotton was being harvested a different way than I had ever seen. I tweeted a question to Bob about what kind of machinery was doing this as I was only seeing the end result. He sent me a link to a video that demonstrated the new cotton harvester. I was mesmerized and made a point that year to be out in the fields during harvest season so as to get a closeup, and photos, of this amazing contraption. You see, I go back to the day when cotton was hand-picked by humans. I wrote a blog post about cotton picking.

I also know Bob through Fresno High. Although I never had her in my classes, his daughter was often on my radar. She faithfully brought her check for the yearbook at the beginning of the year. She passed through our hallway and bought cookies from us on many mornings. She was bright and engaging and funny. After I retired, his daughter friended me on Facebook and I have kept up with her educational and career pursuits over the years. She continues to be bright, engaging, and funny.

Here we are, getting set up to record our session. The woman seated in front of us is an employee of the library who was learning to use the equipment since we were the first ones to record. She had a series of questions she asked about our backgrounds with ag and the changes we had seen and what we saw happening now that could impact the future.

The final question was about our hopefulness for the future. Both Bob and I are hopeful for the future of ag in California, but we are concerned that people are losing track of where their food comes from and how farmers struggle to get food and fiber to us. There could come a time when all of our ag products will be imported because other countries will grow it cheaper and in larger quantities. That concerns us because those other countries may not have the ability to keep food safe.

The recording will be edited and archived both at the local library level as well as with the California State Library.

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7 responses to “Community storytelling project

  1. Fiber once was the backbone of American industry. It left almost enmasse after the 9-11 recession; only small boutique mills remained. It is returning in dribs and dabs. Where is the California cotton processed.

  2. I agree with your concerns

  3. Good for you guys!

  4. I will have to go watch that video and learn how cotton is harvested these days. I hope we will always be able to grow our own food, for many reasons. 🙂

  5. Interesting. Thanks for broadening my knowledge base.

  6. Fascinating. You really get into some important stuff.
    Ag is quite a preoccupation where I live. We could easily be self sufficient in food on the Big Island of Hawaii but import 85% of it.
    Most of our calories come from huge farms: monocultures of wheat, corn and soy.

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