Is Dry Farming the Next Wave in a Drought-Plagued World? | National Geographic | 9/29/16

Is Dry Farming the Next Wave in a Drought-Plagued World?

National Geographic | 9/29/16

By Ari LeVaux

When he wasn’t swearing in Spanish at his broken mechanical potato harvester, Ryan Power of New Family Farm spent the better part of his afternoon professing his commitment to “dry farming”—growing food without any irrigation. Now, he was thirsty.

We took our leave of his rainbow-colored field of dry-farmed quinoa, and walked over to a patch of tomato plants that hadn’t been watered or rained on for six months. The plants appeared roughly how one might expect the recipients of zero water outside of Sebastopol at the tail end of California’s record drought last year to look—all but dead. The only signs of life were the plump, radiant orbs dangling from the withered vine. Power carefully removed a golf ball-sized fruit. “Try one of these,” he said…

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