As a board member of the nonprofit Youth Drought Project (YDP) I would like to encourage readers to hire our local youth to make your yard more climate-friendly. Despite occasional wet years like this one, climate models predict long-term drought for our region.

Youth Drought Project employs high school and college students to eliminate lawns, save water, and build soil through sheet mulching and, where appropriate, rainwater retention contours. In place of lawns they plant low-water or food plants and install stone or gravel pathways and patios. The kids develop social skills, a work ethic, and job skills while responsibly engaging with our community and environment.

To help mitigate the climate crisis, Youth Drought Project is now working with landscape designers and horticulture experts to create food-forest landscapes. We can integrate a beautiful design of food-bearing or otherwise useful trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, and herbs into your yard that will develop over time into a flourishing Mediterranean food forest. The produce goes to you, people in need, and the local community.

Highly productive local food forests, when spread to large areas, are the ultimate solution to the climate crisis. They slash fuel use in our food system (the largest source of greenhouse gasses), sequester vast amounts of carbon, and create cooling micro-climates that boost precipitation in dry climates like ours. By helping pioneer a new Food Forest Revolution you serve our youth, community, and environment. 

For help with climate-friendly or food-forest landscaping contact Brad Smith at (805) 705-5844 or

Mary Lewis is board president for Youth Drought Project.  


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