March 19, 2014
Slate.com posed the question “If we didn’t have California, what would we eat?” Consider this. California is the sole producer (99 percent or more) of the following crops: almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisin grapes, kiwifruit. olives, pistachios, dried plums, pomegranates, sweet rice and walnuts. It’s the leading producer of dozens of other crops such as broccoli, carrots, lettuce and strawberries. Here’s what this looks like visually.
Monterey County in California is among the hardest hit by the drought and it produced almost half of the lettuce and broccoli grown in the US in 2012. (Check this link to see how much water it takes to make a head of lettuce or broccoli or, surprisingly, one almond).
Deirdre Imus, an environmental health writer takes it the next step:
The list of vital, nutritious vegetables dependent on California’s particular climate and soil is extensive. The ability to grow and foster most crops relies, obviously, on water. A water shortage portends a food shortage, which we’ll all pay for at the grocery store if produce prices surge.
Farmers decide what crops to plant and how much based on available water. They’re making those decisions now. Annual crops are likely to be most affected.
Can you think of a better reason to plant a garden in 2014?