Florencia Ramirez was the speaker at the Organic Garden Club of Ventura County’s November meeting. Her book, “Eat Less Water,” is about saving water, building soil, and cooking from scratch with organic ingredients. Her dedication to saving water started during one of California’s droughts when she read tips on saving water. She thought about inventing a shower timer that encourages people to take shorter showers and found an Australian product that did just that. She imported it and sold 80,000 units.
Fresh water is a very small fraction of all water on Earth. Even though water covers 70% of the planet, only 2.5% of the water is fresh. Most of the fresh water is trapped in glaciers and snowfields, with only 1% of fresh water readily available for people to use. Seventy percent of this fresh water is used in the production of food.
Conventional agriculture increases water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, and threatens human health. Conventional agricultures’s use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, plus animal wastes contaminate the fresh water runoff and kills the soil. Food processing plants use a huge amount of water and nearly half of all the water used in the United States goes toward raising animals for food.
Florencia traveled 18,000 miles over six years to research her book, looking for the best techniques for saving water on farms. She found that regenerative organic farms not only save water, but also invigorate the soil. Building the soil sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and holds water on the land. Regenerative organic farms practice composting with worms, rotating crops to prevent pests and diseases, rotating farm animals to prevent overgrazing, no tilling, and the use of native plants and cover crops to build the soil.
Florencia holds compost tea parties and workshops at schools to teach children early about building the soil and living in harmony with nature. Families can restore their backyards, invigorating the soil and existing plants by designing an area to hold the water in the soil, grouping plant communities together, and creating a harmonious relationship with the natural environment. By planting fruit trees, growing a veggie garden, buying organic food, supporting local organic farmers at the Farmer’s Market, and cooking from scratch, we can heal ourselves as well as the planet. Let’s build soil and turn Ventura County organic!