Creative Nonfiction Genre Finalist Florencia Ramirez’ proposed creative project, Eat Less Water, is an environmental anthem for our time backed by a strong literary voice. Her writing is an estuary where the different rivers of her personality and experience converge. The salt water of her public policy training at the University of Chicago, the fresh water of her creative writing instruction, the brackish water of the activist, and the nurturing water of the educator and mother…spill onto the pages of her book project; a story that explores the connection between the looming problem of water scarcity and the food we eat.
She writes in her Gift of Freedom application:
This book begs to be written. Since its inception, this creative project carries me on a river of encouragement. It’s led me to the most amazing people who transfer their passion for food into the plants they raise, the soil that nurtures those crops, and the water that sustains the earth. Thus far my journey has led me to, among many other places, John DeRosier’s organic wheat farm in Paso Robles, California. When I described my project to John by phone, he simply said, “You are in for a treat.” A treat was an understatement. I was served chocolate cake that day. I learned from John about dry farming, bio-dynamic farming, and the art of cultivating hummus — soil teeming with life.
In upstate New York, I learned from Maureen and Paul Knapp how they were transformed by the river that runs along their dairy farm. As Paul said, “We all live upstream.” Those words guide all their farm practices.
Much more awaits to be learned and discovered, and I am the fortunate person who gets to write it all down.
Ramirez writes from Oxnard, California, an agricultural town on the Pacific coast that smells of celery, strawberries and fertilizers. Its abundant farms drew her family to California from Mexico three generations ago as migrant farm workers. She now lives there between the ocean and the fields with her husband and three young children.