When A Town Runs Dry


[GO PROJECT FILMS] [When a Town Runs Dry] [♪ music ♪] My grandfather started the farm. And we’ve been farming here
ever since. For the last couple years, we
haven’t had the crop production that we’re used to
when we have adequate water. We’re struggling. I’ve had to sell some property
to try to keep in business. The little bit of land
that we did sell was a very emotional thing to do because
that’s land that I worked with my dad and it’s gone. Growing up in Stratford was
a wonderful thing as a child. [children talking] The canals were always filled
with water. We could spend a whole day
at the canal trying to catch crawdads,
hunting for frogs, fishing. We’d ride our bikes off
into the river. And we would swim in it. Nowadays,
there’s no water there. I grew up in Yemen. Living over there
was really hard. So that is why we came
to the United States. First we moved to Oakland but I didn’t feel
like home there. I wanted to move
to a smaller city. That’s when I found Stratford. I really like living here but sometimes it gets hard
with the work. Since the drought has started we lost half the business. Most of the people
that come to my store they work for the farmers. Most of the farmers
they get broke, the workers they go
somewhere else to find work. I really feel bad
about the people. They have a rough time. This makes me sad because we were welcomed
by all the people here. Being able to work
with the ground and with nature
has been very satisfying. But of late
when the water has become scarce we don’t get a lot of help
from the people who want the food
that we grow. This year probably two-thirds
to half of our farm has not been put
into cultivation because of lack of water. Without food production,
there’s no jobs out in the rural communities. When you have the commodity
we tend to not plan for the future. Otherwise
we should have been planning years ago. You don’t start thinking
about reality until you start seeing
the writing on the wall. Water is one thing, but you take a step back
and you look at what’s going on in the community,
and it’s heartbreaking. You’ve got to be grateful
for the people that are there from dusk to dawn
or even later than that. When those stores
close their doors, we’re really going to be hurting
in that little community. You know, where are our kids
going to be able to go to go get a snack? When people don’t have the money I start to run a tab with them. Some people they pay me back, some people they can’t
because no work. Okay Kenny, thank you. – You have a good day.
– We’ll see you next time. When you know the people when they can’t make
no money, no work, it’s hard to say “you know”
pay me my money back and you know they don’t have it. We lost a lot. Sometimes you think I don’t know
what to do anymore and we just keep going. Anything helps, you know,
anything helps. Any time someone puts
a little bit more effort into the community, [whistle]
the community stands stronger. And you just hope that it grasps
and it keeps moving forward. I would like my kids
to take over the farm and keep it going but
if it continues to deteriorate then the future is not bright
in agriculture. [cheering] The only thing we can do
is sell more land and that’s like selling
part of yourself. [screams] There’s no better life. It’s not fast. There’s not
a lot of money in it, but it’s a fair living. So it would really be sad for me
to see this lifestyle come to an end. I hope the water
is coming back. When the rain comes back I hope a lot of work
and a lot of people come back. I really like living
in this town. I don’t want to leave this town. [credits] [©2016 Go Project Films]

7 thoughts on “When A Town Runs Dry

  1. Nailed it dead on! Growing up here, I think you captured it all in this video. Completely remarkable, speechless, & just pure wholesome truth to life. Thank you for this.

  2. Thank you for this amazing video on a town that most can't even find on a map but for us who love it it means everything.

  3. So sad, wonder why the rivers dried up, poor water management and Climate change, hopefully they can think of a way to rejuvenate the community.

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