Delta Flows: Fields of Lettuce Rot as Food Banks Grow Desperate

We were so sorry to hear that John Harris, longtime Delta Tunnel and water export advocate, farmer, and owner of the seventh largest beef-processer in the USA, couldn’t sell his lettuce after COVID19 disrupted the market for restaurant purchases. 

According to the Fresno Bee this week… 

“Longtime farmer John Harris, of Harris Farms, was growing 204 acres of lettuce for Salinas-based Taylor Farms, one of the giants in the industry. But that all changed when the restaurants they supply turned off their stoves. Last week, Harris’ workers plowed under nearly 13 acres of fresh lettuce that had nowhere else to go.”

Rather than donate this food to desperate food banks facing lines of cars miles long, Harris plowed the food back into the earth. 


Because…“For many farmers, it’s more cost-effective to let crops rot in the fields. They can’t afford to harvest it if there is no market for it, and food banks can’t cover the full cost of labor.”

Despite greater need than food, our food banks are now expected to pick the crops they distribute to the growing population of unemployed Central Valley residents? 

Why not donate it?

Mr. Harris runs a corporation that has enjoyed decades of subsidized water delivered by state and federal taxpayers to build his agricultural empire.

Also this week, we learned that US Bureau of Reclamation was cutting the water allocation to Wildlife Refuges to 75 percent for the year. 

So while our precious water is wasted growing food that gets disced back into the earth, our neighbors are going hungry, and our wildlife must suffer with less water. 

Something is broken, and it isn’t just the food distribution chain.

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