[Vision2020] 65 acre feet of water equals $2 million of food

Donovan Arnold donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 4 23:26:42 PST 2008

  I wish it were that easy!
  Best Regards,
  Garrett Clevenger <garrettmc at verizon.net> wrote:
  I spoke with the manager at WSU's organic farm about
their water use and income, and did some calculating
to put a figure on what the water Moscow agreed to
give Hawkins would be worth in terms of growing food.

WSU uses about 500,000 gallons to irrigate 3 acres of
organically grown produce. They produce food for 300
people who subscribe to their Community Supported Ag
(CSA) service, and sell a bit at farmers markets, the
Coop and WSU Hospitality.

They brought in $45,000 in 2007. Since they are a
teaching farm, they are not producing as much as they
could, so this is a conservative figure.

Based on the 65 acre feet of water Moscow may sell
Hawkins, and the 204 acres that Hawkins plans to buy
from Whitworth College for their development, here are
the numbers if that water and land were used instead
to produce locally consumed organic food.

65 af = 21,180,315 gallons. This divided by 166,666
gallons needed to irrigate 1 acre times $15,000 income
per acre equals:

$1,906,228 worth of locally produced produce, money
made from something made here, as opposed to most food
that is trucked in, which adds a whole other layer of

204 acres times $15,000 per acres equals:

$3,060,000 worth of produce.

Another interesting number is if the 65 af were used
to produce food, 12,708 people would be fed. If the
204 acres were used to produce food, 20,400 people
would be fed, about the size of Moscow.

If this water and/or land were used for something
everybody needs (food) in a way that insures
freshness, a cheaper cost (CSA subscribers generally
receive more produce then they would be able to buy in
a store at the same cost) and that money stays local
(as opposed to most of the products that will be sold
at Hawkins, which are often produced overseas, adding
a whole layer of hidden costs) it seems to me we
should be refocusing our priorities on how we are
allocated precious and limited resources.

The Palouse has some of the most fertile soil in the
world, yet most of the wheat grown here is shipped
overseas. On top of all the development that is
swallowing farmland, we are not utilizing for the best
something that has way more value then is currently

What a boon it would be for our health, economy and
environment if we irrigated this farmland to produce
food for ourselves, instead of bringing in stuff most
people don't need, and shipping out the food that is
now grown here. Who doesn't understand how
short-sighted it is to use this land and water for
retail sprawl instead of food?


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