California: Hard times ahead for fresh produce lovers?

CaliforniaDroughtUntil the 20th century, the wettest in a thousand years, much of California was a barren desert.

Now in the 21st century, it is in the process of returning to its former desert environment.

California is running out of water.

According to NASA satellites, the state has lost 48 million acre-feet of total water supply—snow, rivers, reservoirs, soil and groundwater—since 2011. Most of the state is experiencing either the highest or second highest classification of drought.

Unless things change drastically, those of us accustomed to a diet of clean, whole food and a multitude of fresh fruit and veggie choices are in for a shock.

Because unknown to many complacent shoppers, most of the nation’s domestic fresh fruits and vegetables—both organic and conventional—are grown in California’s central ‘salad bowl,’ which is afflicted with ongoing extreme drought.

Here are a few examples of California’s output of the produced we depend upon:

* 99 percent of our artichokes

* 44 percent of our asparagus

* Two-thirds of our carrots

* Half of our bell peppers

* 95 percent of our celery

* 90 percent of our leaf lettuce

* 83 percent of our Romaine

* 83 percent of our fresh spinach

* One-third of our fresh tomatoes

* 86 percent of our lemons

* 90 percent of our avocados

* 84 percent of our peaches

* 88 percent of our strawberries

* 97 percent of our fresh plums

Those are among the best of our superfoods, the ones that help protect us from disease and obesity.

Many other food-producing regions of the world, such as Brazil, are also experiencing extreme drought. And while the eastern U.S. is slammed with excessive snow, rain and cold, recent studies by Cornell and Columbia Universities warn that the Southwest U.S. is at severe risk of a significant megadrought (conditions lasting over 35 years).

The term “Water is the new oil,’ is becoming increasingly common.

So don’t take water for granted. The specter of the end of ‘mega-farms’ providing plentiful fresh fruit and veggie supplies is hovering over us and may come sooner rather than later.

Individual and community small, water-conserving plots and pots all over the country and world may be the best opportunity for many of us to enjoy the healthy, wholesome fruits and vegetables our bodies crave.

 

 

 

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