Environment – Drought (and potential food shortages?)

So I come across this article on HuffPost Green about the Rainbow Mountains in China, a great article with amazingly beautiful pictures, but I decided to click on the HuffPost Green link to visit, since I had never been to the web site,  and right there on the front page is a a link in bold letter proclaiming “DRIEST YEAR EVER.”

In the article on USA Today, mentions that

California is enduring its driest calendar year on record, with no signs of relief coming anytime soon. In San Francisco, the city is seeing its driest year since records began during the Gold Rush year of 1849.

Although a drought emergency has not yet been officially declared, a lack of rain and snow this winter could bring catastrophic losses to California agriculture, as water allotments are slashed by state agencies.

Further down the article it states:

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported that 94.25% of the state is enduring some level of drought conditions and that most of the prime agriculture area of the Central Valley is in extreme drought, the second-worst category.

When you look at the Drought Monitor web site, you can see the extreme drought conditions, and this should really make us think. How many people know that a large percentage of fresh vegetables have traditionally come from California?

For some vegetables, only three states, California, Florida, and a few states like Texas and Washington grow a large portion of some vegetables for the entire USA grocery market.

Due to the vast size of the produce industry, minor problems with the distribution chain, such as the 2006 E. coli contamination problems in pre-cut spinach shipped from California, can cause ripple effects throughout the nation’s food system.

The same will hold true for drought conditions, which also exist in Texas and Washington at the current time. So where does this leave us for fresh fruit and vegetables? I think we will be very vulnerable to shortages starting as of this Summer (2013), and going forward until this drought subsides or we get alternative production online.

This situation should reinforce our need to grow more of our fresh produce as close to home as possible. I am ever more encouraged to have a vegetable garden ready to sow into by spring. I hope to be able to grow at least 10% of my vegetable needs right in my own back yard.

Part of this will involve traditional organic vegetable gardening in raised beds, but in time I am also hoping to get an aquaponics system established that will be part of my winter time lean-to greenhouse attached to my backyard shed. This would allow me to not only grow vegetables in the winter, but also supplement my diet with fresh protein in the form of fresh fish.

If all goes well, I will start with a grid powered circulation pump, which will be supplemented in the future with a solar powered unit, probably the same pump running of an inverter and a large battery bank that will be charged from solar and wind.

Until such time, though, I am fully expecting there to be both physical shortages of fresh vegetables, as well major price increases for those imported from out of state, causing shortage in the household budgets or personal health of millions.

The Central Valley of California, with the San...

The Central Valley of California, with the San Joaquin Valley in the southern sub-region, and the Sacramento Valley in the northern sub-region. © 2004 Matthew Trump (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Advertisements

One Response to “Environment – Drought (and potential food shortages?)”

  1. […] to other things, I decided to review my blog posts, and one year ago I talked about the environment and drought in the south western part of the United States. Today, one year later, this drought persists, and in some ways is worse. One of the key stories is […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: