The California drought is very serious for all of us. The impact may not be felt much until at least spring of next year but will likely continue for many years. It is believed that parts of California will never recover from the drought. The San Joaquin river which provides water to residents and water for growers is sinking and listed as the number 1 endangered river. The recent rains in California are not enough. The news reported that 75” are needed between now and next September which would amount to a storm every day from now until then.
How will this impact the rest of the U.S.?
About ½ of our fruits, vegetables, and nuts are grown in California including 99% nuts, 95% broccoli, 91% grapes, 92% strawberries, 90% tomatoes, and 74% lettuce. Growers in California have been planting much less than usual and ripping out almond trees because why plant if you can’t water.
What percentage of produce is grown in your state and consumed by people in your state? Utah grows only 12% of their produce.
Produce buyers in California will likely be going to other states to purchase produce which will lessen the availability in those states and increase prices. I have noticed price increases for produce for some time now.
If we cannot get fresh produce we will either have to import it from other countries which don’t have the same safety and pesticide regulations
grow it ourselves.
Because California growers are not growing as much they have less need for employing people to plant and harvest which in turn throws people out of work.
What can we do?
Learn to grow as much as you can of your own food. Start with 1 – 4 things and expand as you gain confidence and experience.
If you already are growing some of your own, try to increase what you grow.
Don’t have a yard? Find a yard to share here.
Learn to sprout and/or grow microgreens. This will serve you well when you can’t grow outside.
Growing in a raised portable garden can help if you can’t or don’t want to stoop or you don’t have much yard space. It can also be moved into a garage or other space and used during the winter.
Grow in pots outdoors. Although I have a yard I grow some plants in pots so I can move them indoors or to other parts of the yard.
Trade what you are growing with someone who is growing other things. Good luck trading all of that zucchini!
Buy locally. Buying local when possible will cause local growers to plant more plus local is fresher. Find local growers including Community Supported Agriculture.
Support grocers who sell locally grown produce.
Learn about what is already growing in your yard that is edible. If you didn’t plant it then it is likely able to handle the conditions that were already existing. If you did plant it maybe you didn’t know it was edible. One good resource is a book I recently co-authored.
Store dehydrated, freeze dried, frozen, and canned. Dry, freeze, or can your own when possible. Otherwise purchase from quality companies. One that I like is Thrive. Just like with other items it is good to read the label when purchasing so you know what you are getting.
Conserve water including proper watering of landscapes and gardens.
Learning all of the above skills now and doing as much as possible will help you later even if you aren’t yet noticing the effect of the drought.