No matter what, though, it seems as if the valley is eventually going to become less productive. In fact, that’s already happening. Development and contamination have taken land out of production. And disproportionate swaths are being devoted to grape and almond farming solely because those crops can be reliably processed and profitably shipped to China. There are pioneers in the valley, people working to figure out ways to make their style of farming — whether big or small — work over the long term. But beyond the profit motive, there is little public support or encouragement for them or their ideas and no way for consumers or even officials to know whom to support. As a result, our land use and, to a considerable extent, our diet are dependent on the hunches and whims of landowners. If we want a system of farming that’s sustainable on all levels, we have to think about a national food and farming policy. And as I was looking out at Buxman’s amazing land, it occurred to me just how amazing it is that we don’t have one.