Rhodes farming to get permit for homes?

Last month I visited a friend on Verde in Golden Valley and she complained about all the dust and told me that somebody is clearing the desert to farm.   I decided to drive through the desert to the source of the dust at Shinaramp:

5-24-13-Rhodes-farm

Here is a picture of the land next to Rhodes’ farm:

5-24-13-next-to-Rhodes-farm

Lots of creosote, willows, mesquite, all sorts of desert shrubs and many rocks provide shelter for new plants so they can get established.

I’m all for growing food, but not in this destructive way!

Word on the street is that Rhodes plans to force the county to give him permits for more home developments through farming as farming will take more water than would be used in residences.  Apparently the county was concerned with the depletion of the aquifer in the past.  Because Rhodes’ land is zoned for agriculture, apparently nobody can stop him from growing peppers and tomatoes or whatever.

From the Kingman Miner 6/12/13 article Farm going in at former Golden Valley development site:

The grand plan is to farm about 40,000 to 50,000 acres in Mohave County …

According to my sources, that includes Red Lake.

“Mr. Rhodes spent millions of dollars on water studies for this area. There’s more than enough water here for everyone. There’s more water here than we could use in a generation,” Mills said.

So typical, so selfish.  What about the NEXT generation?

A 2007 U.S. Geological Survey study of the Sacramento Valley aquifer in Golden Valley showed water level declines of as much as 55 feet in some wells between 1943 and 2006.

I’ve heard of wells in the GV area that went dry.

I’ve been growing food in the desert since 2001 and I found that most plants grow ok as long as you water — until the first dust devil comes through.  I learned that it’s MOST important to protect the plants from the wind.  I can’t imagine how that’s going to work out for Rhodes with not a tree in sight.

And while I read in the comments that they won’t use GMO seeds and I hope that’s true, they’ll have to be using tons of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

I find it truly offensive that some commenters support this project because JOBS are being created.  Anybody who thinks that it’s a good idea to create $8/hr jobs working in this heat and dust all day ought to give it a try sometime!

It would have been very cool if Rhodes had the vision to create a sustainable operation with a focus on future development. 

He could have put up some hoophouses, planted trees and IMPROVED the land instead of destroying it.  He could have planned on future development with individual homes in between food forests, maybe include a large greenhouse that could eventually be turned into the community greenhouse.  It could be a great organic farm where people could pick berries, herbs and of course many veggies.  It could be a beautiful sustainable development.

Who wants to live in an ugly tract home development anyway?

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