Jolaine Gorilla
Paul Wellman

Every so often, Cuyama Valley residents reach out to The Santa Barbara Independent to complain about the use of pesticides in the area and how it affects their quality of life. I covered it most recently in this article “Caught in the Carrot Crossfire” from September 2010, and according to Cuyama Valley-ites, not much has changed since.

Yesterday, one such resident, Jolaine Gorilla, tried to convince me to tell the story again, and in our email exchange, she sent along a song she had written that was inspired, in part, by what she deals with every day. So instead of rehashing the same story once again, we’ve decided to share Jolaine’s song “Hey Wayfarer” with you.

As well, she answered a few of my questions via email below.

What made you want to write this song?

An ongoing sad frustration, in seeing the lack of concern or awareness, of the increasing jeopardy our planet is facing from the corporate world of pirate privateers … and my increasing love for our miraculous planet and its inhabitants!

How do these environmental concerns play out where you live in the Cuyama Valley?

We bought our land because it was in an open space wilderness area. We wanted to quietly live out our lives here.

The Cuyama Valley is a microcosm of that which is taking place throughout the world. Our valley’s groundwater is diminishing from over pumping. It is being polluted by industrial farm chemicals. The soil is being killed by farm chemicals. Once the soil is dead, there will be no further capacity for sustaining good viable farm soil for good and viable food!

We intended to grown organic apples for our retirement. With industrial chemicals applied on the adjacent fields, this is not possible. The Cuyama Valley has the promise and possibilities of being an area of truly sustainable farming, which would be to farm organically!

The industrial fugitive dusts have worsened my husband’s COPD and the same issues [and involved stress] exacerbate my heart’s problems. You might say that I am disheartened.

Are you optimistic for the future or more worried?

If the present thinking and attitudes of profit-based farming at any costs continue, we should all be very concerned and worried.

Do you plan to play the song live anywhere anytime soon?

I am closing on 80 years of age, and health issues keep me from live performances. As an old professional singer/songwriter, I am not striving for a career. My songs are intended to speak my word, in the only way I know of doing so. I hope that my songs sing shared truths, within the hearts of others.


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