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Wine, Water & Dirt by Don Wallace - Part 4


Wine, Water & Dirt by Don Wallace - Part 4

By Don Wallace
I don’t know why, but this time of year means more and more to me with each passing year. I don’t know if it is because I had an “It’s A Wonderful Life Type” experience a few years back ... no I didn’t try to jump off  a bridge or anything like that, but I was becoming a cynic. I am referring to the Jimmy Stewart movie where he is so down on life that he almost ends it all by jumping off a bridge and just in time an angel comes along that shows him how wrong he is. Now, for the most part, I am able to see the good in things and both sides of an issue, etc. Most of us who live in Sonoma County have a lot to be thankful for but we often can’t see it because we think that someone is trying to take something from us, something that we believe to be ours. We get all upset and draw up our battle plans.

Circles of SustainabilityOver the last few years there has been more and more of this type of feeling in Sonoma County towards agriculture. Those feelings have been driven by more people moving here, a drought and wanting to live right next to farmland. For some reason when our ancestors moved from Europe to here they abandoned an important tradition. Most people lived in small villages, towns or cities unless you were a farmer. Some day we will need to go back to that model as it is much more sustainable. For now we will have to come up with solutions that make the most sense for the most people without violating the rights of the individual.

As always, some of the problems are real and the negative feelings are justified. Fortunately in the end we have abandoned our battle plans and met at the table to negotiate. While the process is slow and painful it is happening. A very diverse group was assembled by the County to come up with a new way to manage growth. That is a reason to be thankful.

We live in a country that allows us to have a voice and where we can participate in the process.
We live in a county where government and landowners are successfully working together to save our salmon from disappearing.
We live in a county where the major farming industry is still very diverse, unlike areas in the mid-west where companies farm vast tracts of land of genetically farmed corn.

We live in a county that has low unemployment and the major employers donate large sums of money to worthy charities. Where the major industry came up with the new concept of farming, Sustainable Agriculture, influencing and improving our environment everywhere, not just in Sonoma County, not just in California or even just the United States.

We still have a lot of problems and a lot of work ahead of us but we have so much to be thankful for as 2015 comes to a close.


This article is the 4th part in a series on Sonoma County agriculture.