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

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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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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