A couple of weeks ago, and on the same day, I had 2 emails in my inbox about the drought in California and what this means to Canada, so dependent on California for fresh fruits and vegetables. In my presentations about Ag3.0, I usually speak about self-reliance being a big part of what defines Agriculture 3.0. But I thought I was speaking about a far away future, not 2014! For some reason, the alarm bells are not ringing. Will it make the news only if our produce aisles start to look empty?
(Since writing this blog in 2014, I have learned more about what it really means to be self-reliant. It’s not the solution because it makes us separate and individuate rather than weave ourselves into the fabric that creates communities.)
The warnings of potential repercussions are sometimes subtle. Writer and blogger Maria Rodale drove the 2.5 hours from San Francisco up to Sacramento to give a talk and writes this very visual account about how shocked and concerned she is by what she saw – “a dust bowl just waiting to happen.”
In an email discussing a food hub initiative that I am spearheading, Sustainable Good Foods Consultant, David Cohlmeyer says: “I suspect the problem is that people just aren’t thinking big enough. The multi-year California drought is starting to cause serious problems. Due to our long-time willingness to accept their dumped foods, Canada is going to feel this first.”
In the New York Times, Michael Moss writes (Feb 4, 2014): “A turn toward locally grown produce would lessen the dependency on California (now plagued by drought), slash carbon emissions from trucking, make produce available to more people, increase its appeal through freshness and perhaps even lower prices.” article
Deirdre Imus, in her article, ‘What We Can Learn From the California Drought,’ writes “we’d all be wise to pay close attention to the severe precipitation shortage in California.” She quotes a Slate.com article that pondered what the American diet would look like without California, which produces a large portion of fruits, vegetable, and nuts. More than 90 percent of the US’s artichokes, walnuts, kiwis, plums, celery, and garlic are grown in California. A water shortage will result in a food shortage, which we’ll all end up paying for at the grocery store.
Maria Rodale, in her article, ‘5 Reasons Why This Is the Most Important Year Ever to Start a Garden,’ says it simply. “I’m telling you now: This. Is. Real. The drought in California will cause food prices to rise this summer. Truth. No getting around it. And it will have at least a two-year impact because many of the crops in California are tree crops (fruits and nuts), which take longer to recover from drought. Start planning and planting your garden now (and plant a few fruit and nut trees while you’re at it–some strawberry plants and raspberry bushes, too) and you will save money in the future, for sure.”
Read her article for more on her other top four reasons: 2. Nature needs you! 3. Even if it ends up as an overgrown patch, that’s better than grass, 4. Climate Chaos: Droughts, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, plagues, you name it, I’m sure we will be surprised by something this summer. 5. Food, glorious food” and the experience of growing, preserving and preparing it.
Cuba has been there (see my post 2 earlier), with empty grocery store shelves. I often mention Cuba’s situation as one of the reasons why it is so important to think seriously about the future of agriculture, Agriculture 3.0. More and more, it’s looking like the future is now.