The Dog Days of Summer

The right forces created the Midwest topography and geography. An overabundance of water, rich soil and weather conditions created rich farm land that feeds much of the US and the world. Midwesterners generally don’t have to worry about where our next glass of water will come from. As homeowners, we worry about how to maintain that Kentucky black grass that has an unquenchable thirst for water; as it grows we mow it, feed it and mow it again.

Yet, as we enter the dog days of summer, Mother Nature steps in and reminds us how precious water really is. Water rationing has hit some communities.

The recent drought has created fires in virtually every Western state and has affected the price of harvests. The price increase in corn and other commodities affects us as we try to eat healthy at an affordable price. Around the globe and in this country, many communities can only survive because of engineering and manipulation of water systems. A balance that is often hard to achieve.

tomatoes.jpegRecently, I toured a Lexington, Mo. farm with students from the Park Hill School District. In order to support a 14,000 tomato plant crop, the local farm will need a million gallons of rain water between March and November. With no aquifer on the property, rain will determine the bounty of the crop.

Meanwhile, Cross-Lines Cooperative Council, Inc.’s, community garden in the Armourdale district of Kansas City, Kan. thrives, due in part to an $8,0000 Health Care Foundation grant. This grant supported water access. The garden feeds many in the community where grocery stores are scarce. Without this grant the summer harvest would have been challenged and depleted. The lack of rain creates a problem for the urban gardener or the farmer. Without their ingenuity the fresh fruits and vegetables that we consume would not be possible.

In baseball we often refer to the dog days of summer as that time when a true champion is formed. Tonight, take a look at the summer sky and look for Sirius, the “dog star.” Ancient astronomers believed that Sirius in the constellation of Canis Major added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. As we hit mid July and wait for some cooling summer rains, all we can do is be grateful for those that toil the earth so that we can reap its benefits.


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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at


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