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Bruce Adams: Water is essential for local food

May 18th, 2020

This is an excerpt from the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of the Upstate Advocate, Upstate Forever’s twice yearly publication sponsored by Pacolet Milliken Enterprises. To read the entire newsletter, click here. If you’d like to be added to our mailing list to receive future issues, please email

Bruce Adams is a 4th-generation farmer and Director of Furman Farm. The sustainable agriculture practices he employs on this 1/4-acre farm supply Furman University’s dining hall with fresh produce all year-long without the use of an irrigation system.

Water is a life source — for humans, for animals, for plants. Without water, we would cease to exist. But too often, you seem to only appreciate the vast importance of water when it becomes scarce.

As a farmer, I have learned to respect water in a way that I never put myself in that position of scarcity. If you were watering our 1/4-acre plot in a traditional way, you could be using upwards of 50-75 gallons a day in the summertime. But our garden is arranged in a way that we can maximize each rainfall — in fact, we often have an excess of water that flows from the farm straight into Swan Lake. We go to a great extent to conserve water, and our systems have become a model for campus farms for just about every university in the Southeast and beyond — even Princeton.


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