Heart of California's Agriculture on Life-Support

Water restrictions on farms in the state have atrophied jobs in the fertile Central Valley, giving communities some of the highest rates of unemployment in the state. As jobs dry up, the need for aid is surpassing what's there to give.
September 3, 2009, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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The drought is a major aspect of the current dire situation in these farming communities near Fresno. Water allocations have been cut back all over the region, in some areas by as much as 90%.

"For the 12-month period ended June 30, the Fresno Community Food Bank distributed a record 14.5 million pounds of food to residents of a three-county area -- double the previous year. So many people mobbed one food-distribution center two weeks ago that some who had waited in triple-digit heat for hours were turned away empty-handed after the food ran out. Unemployment in the counties in July ranged from 13.9% to 15%, compared with 11.9% for California as a whole, state officials say.

'There's never been this kind of need in the Central Valley, ever,' said Dana Wilkie, chief executive of the Fresno food bank. 'In some communities, we're serving 80% of the residents.'"

Thanks to Curbed L.A.

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Published on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 in The Wall Street Journal
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