Guest Post: Food and Extreme Weather: It’s the Soil, Stupid (Tom Phillpot)

Normally we here at Symphony of the Soil don’t repost other’s writing- but this article from Tom Phillpot hits the nail on the head. This is what we’ve been saying!! 

Food and Extreme Weather: It’s the Soil, Stupid —By                                  Written for Mother Jones magazine  | Mon Jul. 9, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

As the climate warms up and “extreme” events like heat waves and droughts become more common, what will become of food production? I started to examine that question in my last post, published Wednesday. A front-page article in Thursday’s New York Times brought a stark reminder of why the topic is crucial. Reports the Times’ Monica Davey:

Already, some farmers in Illinois and Missouri have given up on parched and stunted fields, mowing them over. National experts say parts of five corn-growing states, including Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, are experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions. And in at least nine states, conditions in one-fifth to one-half of cornfields have been deemed poor or very poor, federal authorities reported this week, a notable shift from the high expectations of just a month ago.

The message from the Midwest is clear: Chemical-intensive, industrial-scale farming is vulnerable to spells of hot, dry weather—some of the very conditions we can expect to become common as the climate warms. In my last post, I argued that the solution to this problem favored by US policymakers—to keep industrial agriculture humming along with novel seeds engineered for “drought tolerance”—probably won’t work.

What might? I think the answer lies outside of some Monsanto-funded university lab and right beneath our feet: in the dirt. Or, more, accurately, in how farmers manage their dirt.

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Guest Post: The Benefits of Dry Farming a Vineyard Organically

by Brian Jones, Jonesing for Wine

Symphony of the Soil, Sonatas of the Soil DVD cover
I recently watched Portrait of a Winemaker featuring John Williams of Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa Valley. This is part of Sonatas of the Soil Volume One which is directed by Deborah Koons Garcia. Deborah directed the widely acclaimed The Future of Food which focuses on genetically modified foods. Her latest documentary, Symphony of the Soil, premiered last weekend.  I’ll have a much shorter post about it in a couple of days since it isn’t directly related to beer, wine, and/or spirits.
Having talked to many winemakers and vineyard managers while working in the industry, having family in the industry, being a wine writer, and going wine tasting, I can safely tell you that every winemaker/grape grower can talk about their product well and why their method is better than the rest. With that being said I think John Williams is a straight shooter and they have put forth a solid segment with strong historical, viticultural, and visual reasoning.