To save water, one almond butter producer is turning to traditional techniques.
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Tillamook

Almonds. They're tasty as heck, but sometimes they get a pretty bad rap.

Just look at these salted almonds and try not to drool. Image via iStock.


Lately, these nuts have been getting singled out as a big contributing factor in California's water crisis. So what's the deal?

It's true that it takes over one gallon of water to produce a single almond, but that's not the whole story.

California grows 82% of the world's supply of almonds, so at over one gallon of water per almond, that's a whole lotta water.

But many other California crops, like walnuts and tomatoes, require even more water ... and even these don't begin to compare to the water required to produce other types of food.

Plus, almonds are a big contributor to California's economy.

A drawing of an almond tree. Image via iStock.

"Almonds are but one piece of the Californian agricultural industry," explains Tim Richards, a California almond butter producer. "[But] because almonds are such a notorious cash crop, they get the worst rap."

Tim, the owner of a California almond butter company, is trying to change that.

Tim is the owner of The Philosopher's Stoneground, a nut butter company based in Santa Cruz. He describes his company as "the first drought-adapted almond butter company."

The almonds Tim uses are unique in that they're farmed using traditional techniques of "dry farming" instead of mainstream modern irrigation practices.

Sheep help control the weeds and provide natural fertilizer on this dry almond farm. Image courtesy of Tim Richards.

Dry farming is pretty straightforward, says Tim. "Irrigate the trees when they are first planted, then perhaps once more 10 days later, then let them go!" In the right climate, the trees will thrive.

The process of dry farming may seem simple, but it's not without its obstacles.

Centuries ago, almonds would have been almost exclusively dry farmed. But over the decades, farmers have turned to irrigation-heavy methods, which produce higher yields and allow farmers to keep up with demand.

Look at those healthy dry-farmed almond trees! Image courtesy of Tim Richards.

Irrigation techniques also allow almonds to be grown where, according to Tim, "they should not be growing: in the desert regions of [California's] Central Valley."

That's why Tim chose to take part in an experimental dry-farmed almond orchard project in the Capay Valley near Sacramento. For many years, almonds in the Capay Valley (which is home to the 100-year-old Almond Festival) were dry farmed, and Tim hopes to help rekindle that tradition.

Being a small nut butter producer isn't easy, but Tim is determined to see his company — and his almond products — thrive.

When I asked Tim what has been the most challenging part of running The Philosopher's Stoneground, he replied: "Running a business! It's easy to make and sell food, but there is much more to running a food business than that."

Image courtesy of Tim Richards.

Recently, Tim raised $5,000 for a loan on Kiva Zip, which will provide funding for The Philosopher's Stoneground to move into a larger production facility. The crowdfunded loan even got a boost from Tillamook Co-Op members — the co-op works hard to support community real-food projects.

Tim and his team are hoping their expansion will help them keep up with demand and open an e-commerce site. As he explained on his Kiva page, "Our biggest challenge [is] producing enough to feed [all our customers], let alone the inquiries we get globally!"

For someone who says he's "not a business person by nature," Tim's nut butter company seems to be off to a very promising (and delicious) start. Companies like this — that value the health of consumers and the Earth — are so essential to the future of farming.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Acts of kindness and compassion are always inspiring. A veterinarian gave a different spin on the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

The poor little pup in this video walked into this shelter with a history of being abused. He was so traumatized that he wasn't eating. The vet treating him wasn't sure what to do, so he decided to book a table for two: a the dog's place. It is not clear whether he got an official invite from the canine in question, but he felt pretty safe about showing up unannounced. He walked into the cage and sat down next to the dog. With his back up against the corner of his new (and hopefully temporary) domain, the rescue stared apprehensively at his human guest. The vet presented a dog dish with food and put it in front of the dog. The frightened pup just looked at the dish and made no attempt to eat. Then he broke out another dog dish identical to the one he just gave to his four-legged patient and started eating out of that bowl. And then came the turning point.


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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

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"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

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Do you know that guy who has never had an issue with his TV/internet provider? Neither do I. If you claim you have never had issues with your bill going up without warning, then you are either lying or you own the cable company. Jake Lawson apparently does not own a cable company, and was prepared to communicate his frustrations regarding his bill in a most creative way.

First off, Jake understands what everyone should realize. The customer service representative doesn't own the cable company either, so yelling at someone who is just trying to make a living like all of us is not the answer. Their job is hard enough as it is so give them a break. Jake gave them more than a break. He gave them a song.


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