Got Produce?

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 10:13 AM

When most of us want some form of produce we simply go to our local Super Market's produce department. Imagine that tomorrow you go to your local Super Market's produce department with your shopping list. You are looking for olives walnuts, almonds, kiwifruit, figs, dates, artichokes, persimmons, prunes, and pistachios. Unfortunately, you find the Super Market is completely out of each item on your list. Across the empty produce bins is a sign the reads," Due to the loss of our major supplier we can not longer supply olives walnuts, almonds, kiwifruit, figs, dates, artichokes, persimmons, prunes, and pistachios. We are sorry for the inconvenience." You ask the Produce Manager which supplier was lost and the answer is "California".
Yes, California. For many California is viewed as sunny beaches and Hollywood types. But it is also the home of the Central Valley a prime agricultural area. The Central Valley of California is not very large when compared to other agricultural areas. It is just 400 miles long and 50 miles wide. Yet this area is very productive. In fact over 90% of the world's olives walnuts, almonds, kiwifruit, figs, dates, artichokes, persimmons, prunes, and pistachios are grown in the Central Valley. In addition it accounts for over 80 % of all the apricots, grapes, and avocados grown in the United States.
However there is one fact about California's Central Valley that must not be forgotten. It is a desert! How do you put an agricultural area in a desert? By relying on water from outside sources. These sources are extremely unstable due to drought and political issues.
Currently due to both drought and political issues California's Central Valley is facing the impact of soil erosion and the related land degradation. This is causing the drying out of topsoil and effective loss of soil structure and aggregation. Due to this the fertile topsoil is being removed by wind and by the little rain that does occur. If this trend continues, California Central Valley will no longer be able to supply olives walnuts, almonds, kiwifruit, figs, dates, artichokes, persimmons, prunes, and pistachios. This will mean that either your local Super Market's produce department will not be able to offer these types of produce, or if they do, you may not be able to afford to buy them.
You can help keep the supply of produce coming to your local Super Market at reasonable prices by taking action.

For more information on what you can do contact:

California State Water Resources Control Board
Mailing Address
State Water Resources Control Board
P.O. Box 100
Sacramento, CA 95812-0100
or at :

http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/


You should also contact the California Farm Bureau Federation to get more information on the Central Valley of California's agriculture and the impact of drought and soil erosion.

Contact:

California Farm Bureau Federation
2300 River Plaza Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833
or at:

http://www.cfbf.com/counties/index.cfm

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