Santa Barbara Blueberries and our neighbors are under an existential threat from as many as eight (8) industrial cannabis sites proposed for development across the 101 and upwind of the beautiful berry fields and oak savannahs of Restoration Oaks Ranch. Please help us ban industrial cannabis sites in our uniquely located and sensitive Nojoqui Creek ecosystems and save the experience of Santa Barbara Blueberries for this and future generations.
Many people around the world know about the UPick berry farm, but there is much more going on here at the ranch than healthy, good-tasting berries. Through the combined efforts of Santa Barbara Blueberries, Rockin' L7 Cattle Company, Restoration Oaks Retreats, Wild Farmlands Foundation and our many community partners, we are innovating and educating the public about agroecology as a better way to grow food, to manage climage change and to regenerate landscapes of all kinds. Agroecology innovations and educational activities on Restoration Oaks include professional field days, planting hundreds of oak trees, replacing synthetic fertilizers with vermicast, docent tours of the berry farm and the worm farm, volunteer youth and adult work days, microbial soil regeneration, climate smart food growing, green waste recycling with local grocery store partners, holistic water management and wildlands restoration, and introducing the public to our living agroecology ambassdors: the tarantulas, toads, composting worms and wildlife of our native oak woodlands and savannahs. All these tremendous community activites and forward-thinking innovations are at risk.
Water overuse is an unmistakably existential threat to us and every other landowner, food growing and agritourism business in and around the Nojoqui Falls Corridor. Continue reading to learn more about this below.
There are other long-term and as yet unquantified threats to us, our neighbors and our customers that will also be introduced with the presence of industrical cannabis. We are disappointed that the county of Santa Barbara considers potential new tax revenues as more valuable than us, the beatiful ecosystems that we are the stewards of and the many food growing and agritourism businesses in and around the Nojoqui Falls Corridor.
Please tell the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commissioners that you support a ban on cannabis sites of any kind in the Nojoqui Falls Corridor, which starts at the top of the Nojoqui grade and ends at the Santa Ynez river in Buellton.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN A PETITION TO BAN CANNABIS IN THE NOJOQUI FALLS CORRIDOR FOREVER.
Want to do More?
Write an email or a letter to the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors, and cc: it to me, Ed Seaman. My wife and I are the grateful owner/operators of Santa Barbara Blueberries and the stewards of Restoration Oaks Ranch. I am also the Executive Director and a co-founder of the Wild Famlands Foundation.
Water Overuse in a Warming Climate Cycle.
According to the Cachuma Water District, the Nojoqui Creek Basin, the rainfall and the first order stream that feeds it has not been studied by any public water agency. We know our water basin is recharged solely by rainfall, and that the tiny Nojoqui Creek (a first order stream) is the primary source of below ground water between the Nojoqui grade and the Santa Ynez River. There simply isn't enough groundwater to support industrial cannabis and the existing oak savannah ecosystems, farms and ranches already growing grapes, berries and foods in the corridor. We aren't guessing- in 2016, our shared well went dry. We need 16-18" of rain per year for our private wells to get us through to the following year. Less rain means diminished aquifer throughout the basin. When it is gone, it is gone for everybody, not just the newly minted industrial cannabis sites currently being processed for approval by the county.
Additional (armored?) cargo van, car and truck traffic in a very short section of 101 ( less than 3 miles long) that has no offramps or onramps. All traffic must accelerate to ~70 MPH from a dead stop. This is difficult for heavy cargo vans and trucks to do. All cannabis sites will have roughly the same harvest seasons with the same peak traffic calendar. Add ~100,000 blueberry season guests to the peak cannabis traffic in May/June/July.
As more counties across the country legalize growing cannabis, the high cost of growing in Santa Barbara County will force growers to grow more per acre (which means more water), grow for the black market (which means more crime), or quit (which means the lands they occupied will be left in disrepair for the landowners and the community). As a blueberry farmer that has already experienced this market shift, I can tell growers and landowners throughout Santa Barbara County that the downward pressure on the fair market value of cannabis will happen. It is not "if", it is "when".
We can't provide food security for our local communities without local farmlands growing and distributing local food. Every acre used by an industrial cannabis operation is one less acre of local food-growing farmland. As a community and as a world, our greater need is food and food security, not recreational drugs or CBD therapies. There are plenty of other places to grow cannabis that have water, and don't currently grow food.
Community Values or Industrial Tax Revenue?
The only possible benefit to Santa Barbara county is tax revenue. This money comes at a great cost.
We also can't have industrial cannabis operations and agroecology & tourism operations in the same Nojoqui Falls Corridor. Neither the watershed nor the prominent wind eddies will support it. Visitors will stop visiting. The gateway to and from the Gaviota Coast and the Santa Ynez Valley, including Buellton, Solvang and Santa Barbara Wine Country, becomes an industrial zone to the senses.
Who are we, Santa Barbara? What is the Santa Barbara brand? Are we the evironmentalist, climate-smart American Riviera, or the Cannabis Growing Capital of the World?