2017 Community Reflection #1

Dear RFRS Community,

This letter begins a new tradition for RFRS. In response to your request, we are adding more insights from the food and agriculture communities, and storytelling as a part of our communications.

We will begin by sharing stories from the field and what is happening with the RFRS organization. The goal is to keep you, as a part of our community, in the loop, and to build a practice of transparency and vulnerability. We invite you to write back with any comments, feedbacks or stories of your own. We will share honestly and candidly - like all our storytellers do at each RFRS gathering - and invite in other voices from the food chain as well. How does that sound? Let us know!

What's on our mind this January? How does living in the city disconnect us from the meaning of the rain? For some, it might get distilled into complaints about slower commute times or for others, gladness about the end of the drought. We asked our storyteller Nikiko Masumoto of Masumoto Family Farm to share with us what the recent rain has meant for her and her family's farm. 

Rain in the Central Valley means many things - it clears the air, it soaks the fields giving a deep gulp to the trees that have been parched throughout the drought. For farmers, equally as important (and possibly more important) than the rain is the snow in the neighboring Sierra Nevadas. The snow acts as its own reservoir of water, in the spring and summer as snow melts and runs down to our Valley, it fills our watershed with precious water when the temperatures rise and the plants need water the most. 

But, there are also simultaneous challenges: the rain has been accompanied by warm temperatures. As of now, we have a lower amount of "chill hours" than is ideal for the trees to sleep deeply. In the past, this has meant fewer blossoms and fewer fruit. It is alarming to think of this, our daily reality, in the backdrop of another report of the warmest year on record.

Perhaps it is better to think of the rain less as "good" or "bad," and more like an important member of our collective dance with nature. We must look in the mirror and ask, what kind of partner are we?
- Nikiko Masumoto//

Thank you Nikiko for connecting us to the greater picture and our dependence and connection with nature. 

What does the rain mean to you?

Pei-Ru Ko