We travel to the State of California where 50% of all fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in Canada and the United States are produced. Beyond fresh produce, California is also a major producer of dairy, olives and nuts, and the list of foods goes on.
But how secure is this reliance we all have on Californian food? Certainly for most Canadians and Americans, the distance food is travelling from California is almost laughable. But food miles aside, California has just endured its 3rd year of drought, leaving an already-fragile agricultural and seafood economy much more vulnerable.
We learn of the challenges facing California's water supply and how this is affecting food production and as we often do on Deconstructing Dinner, we spend considerable time deconstructing the media and how some of America's largest networks and newspapers like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are communicating a pretty misleading and innaccurate message about this drought and its impacts on Californian farmers. Since President Obama took office, Fox News has taken on an aggressive campaign to do whatever it possibly can to undermine the current presidency. In some cases, Fox has become full-on activists... helping organize and advocate protests, rallies and campaigns that challenge the President and his decisions. But within this dramatic change of tone at Fox News has been the blatant politicizing of issues that in many cases has Fox grasping with such intensity, that many gaping holes in their logic have presented themselves for some overdue deconstructing.
While the California drought and it's impact on farmers is a multi-faceted and complex issue, Fox has chosen to instead blame the drought on the President and a "two-inch fish"!
Pete Lucero, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Reclamation (Sacramento, CA) - The Bureau of Reclamation is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The Bureau is in the 17 western states and the goal of reclamation is to provide water and power to those states. As for California, the Bureau operates 20 dams and reservoirs to help provide and deliver water for agriculture, urban use and maintaining natural habitat.
Doug Obegi, Staff Attorney, Western Water Project, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (San Francisco, CA) - After working as a policy analyst for a national environmental group for several years, Doug earned a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law. According to Doug, he has now landed his dream job, by working to help NRDC restore the Bay-Delta and protect its imperiled wildlife.
Zeke Grader, Executive Director, Institute for Fisheries Resources (San Francisco, CA) - Since 1992, Grader has served as Executive Director of the Institute for Fisheries Resources, an organization begun by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen�s Associations. Zeke works to assure sustainable fisheries, including measures to protect against over-fishing, decreasing bycatch, rebuilding depleted fish stocks and protecting and restoring fish habitats. He has served as the president of the western region of the old National Federation of Fishermen and the West Coast Fisheries Development Foundation, and he currently serves on the board of directors of the Marine Fish Conservation Network.
Sean Hannity - Commentator, Hannity (Fox News) (New York, NY) - Sean Hannity is a popular commentator through his nationally syndicated radio show. His television program airs weeknights at 9pm on the Fox News Channel.
Ainsley Earhardt - Correspondent, Fox News (New York, NY) - Earhardt joined the Fox network in 2007 and provides live news cut-ins during the overnight hours. Prior to her current position, Earhardt served as a morning/noon anchor for CBS affiliate, KENS-5 in San Antonio, Texas.
Devin Nunes - United States Congressman, 21st Congressional District (Tulare, CA / Washington D.C.) - Rep. Devin Nunes is a Congressman from the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley of California. He is currently serving in his fourth term in the House of Representatives.
Jon Stewart - Comedian, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (New York, NY) - Stewart is an American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian. He is best known as the host of The Daily Show, a satirical news program airing on Comedy Central in the United States and on The Comedy Network in Canada.