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There’s a lot of people doing a lot of good (and difficult!) work to make certain we have the food we need, and protect the environment and all the species that live in the wild. Sometimes, trying to create enough safe, tasty food for us, can make life harder for plants and animals we might not usually think would be effected one way or another by the foods humans need. In fact, most of us would think good, safe, food for our tables would automatically translate into good, safe environments for wild plants and animals. But that’s not always the case.

For example, in some areas of central California, farmers are working so hard to keep fresh produce healthy, they’re clearing out all the wild plants growing around the lettuce and spinach fields – wild plants that could (or could not!) be hiding places for mice, or insects just waiting for a piece of lettuce or spinach salad. Of course no-salad-eating-insects also means there also aren’t any insects that don’t eat plants, like ladybugs that eat many times their weight in other insects; or pillbugs that eat what others would consider in-edible, or even honeybees to spread pollen.

And a little further north in California, generations of oyster fishermen have depended on the clean water of Tomales Bay (yumm, Oyster Tamales!) to provide the best environment for growing shellfish; while inland, dairy farmers are struggling to maintain the strict cleanliness regulations for handling and disposing of waste water that are designed to keep Bay water clear.

Sometimes, it seems that no matter what’s done, it isn’t right and somebody is suffering. Even among the rules and regulations it can be confusing which can help, and which could be of no use or even hurt. But now, groups representing the farmers, fishermen, and food industries are working with government, university, and environmental-organization scientists to understand what species and practices are really a potential danger to food crops, and which species are just bystanders – or even could be helpful to the farmers, and us, the consumers. There’s a lot more hard work and research to be done, but already some of the policies and guidelines are being changed for the benefit of all. So while no one wants to see cows tramping around on our salad greens, with smart planning and wise practices it is possible for everyone and everything to share the world.

Pebble Beach Deer WIKI

“This is a farm? I thought it was a fountain show. That explains why it’s not synchronized to music.”

There’s enough to learn, for everyone! Here’s some places to start:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteer/marapr11/working_lands.html

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/plantsanimals/fishwildlife

http://www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/solutions/

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