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Published on May 8, 2009
FROM THE GREAT AMERICAN BLOG:
Let me be honest: When I get hungry, I walk into the kitchen, wash an apple, slice it and slap some peanut butter on it. Or sometimes I grab a can of almonds, pour a few in my hand and enjoy a little healthy snack. But, never do I think about where the foods are grown or how much work went into growing them.
Recently that changed when Chase ("Hannity" producer) and I flew out to Fresno, California. We spent days visiting farms where nearly 300 crops (fruits, veggies and most nuts) are produced. It was quite a site. We flew above miles and miles of gorgeous, almond orchards and talked with farmers about different issues affecting our foods.
The main concern and the reason for our research is this: Nearly 40,000 farmers in the Central Valley are unemployed because a judge ordered to turn off the irrigation system in order to save a small fish, which is endangered.
The minnow is called the Delta Smelt and it lives in the water, which is pumped into the San Joaquin Valley. Environmentalists complained and a judge ordered the pumps be turned off. But, no water means no crops and no jobs.
In turn, farmers are making tough decisions. They are losing their farms (in some circumstances third generation farms) and forced to fire the workers. Food banks can't keep shelves stocked because of all the needy families and eventually, farmers say, you and I will feel the effects. We will be forced to eat fruits, veggies and nuts from other countries (with few regulations, pesticides, etc).
Most farmers are screaming "fish over family" and they are stressed, frustrated and fearful. But, environmentalists say the fish needs to be protected and without it the entire ecosystem is in danger. They want the fish to stay in its natural surroundings, not moved to another pond (aka not supposed to be there).
It's a fascinating story and one that will take a long time to work out. But, no doubt, something has to be done. Watch the story tonight on "Hannity" at 9 PM EST. I'll be on set with Sean discussing the issue. Thanks for watching!