When Shahar Caspi moved from Israel to California eight years ago, he planned to open a vineyard. These days, he is growing produce as part of a community supported agriculture.
He is also using his lessons learned in Israel to help save on water and grow an eco-friendly farm even when California is in the middle of a terrible drought.
According to Caspi, in his native Israel, water conservation is a way of life.
“In Israel, if you water your garden during the day, you will get fined,” Caspi explained. “Or they will put a lock on your water and you cannot water anymore. So you water only at night. Everybody is aware of it.”
In California, on the other hand, Caspi would often see farmers using massive amounts of water, even when the state had water shortages.
In fact, the first time Caspi saw a farmer flood his field to irrigate it, he was shocked that so much water would be wasted.
“What is that? Something went wrong here,” Caspi recalled himself thinking. “They blew up a pipe or something.”
To help save on water usage, Caspi uses a drip irrigation system developed in Israel that uses far less water to keep plants healthy.
“I want to make only the very top soil wet, that’s it. Because most of the nutrients are at the very top soil,” he explained.
He also uses the plentiful organic material all around to help nourish the soil as well as his two special fertilizer factories, pigs he has named Ava and Adamo.
“When you finish the garden, you just move the animals,” Caspi said, explaining how the pigs help make his California farm more self-sustainable. “They eat. They poop. They fertilize the soil and then the next year you can grow the crop.”
Although Caspi is proud of his organic farming techniques, he said his mother would not approve of his pig friends.
“God forbid if my Jewish mother knew that I’m raising pigs,” he said, adding that his swine are in no risk of being dinner “because I’m afraid to go to Hell for it. We don’t eat pigs.”