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Sky High Food Prices Ahead Due To California Mega Drought

California drought food shortage

Image source: Grewall Evy Marketing

California is in the midst of what experts are calling a “mega-drought” which could lead to sky high grocery prices and even food shortages this year, experts say.

The farms that supply much of the nation’s produce are literally running out of water.

Maps indicate that the areas of California hardest hit by the mega-drought are those that grow a large percentage of America’s food. Those regions include Monterey County, which produced nearly half of the lettuce and broccoli grown in the United States in 2012.

It’s not just vegetables that will be affected; nuts and fruits will be hit just as hard or harder.

“There will be thousands of acres of fruit and nut trees that will die this year because of lack of water,” David Sunding, a professor of natural resources at the University of California at Berkley, told the San Jose Mercury News. “The reduction in yield will drive up prices.”

Large Percentage of the Nation’s Food Supply Threatened

A disturbing feature in Mother Jones magazine shows just how devastating the mega-drought will be to the nation’s food supply. California’s farms supply far more of the nation’s produce than you might think.

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The produce grown in the Golden State includes:

  • 95 percent of America’s broccoli crop
  • 90 percent of its tomatoes
  • 91 percent of its grapes
  • 74 percent of its lettuce
  • 99 percent of its walnuts
  • 99 percent of its almonds
  • 98 percent of its pistachios
  • 99 percent of its walnuts
  • 92 percent  of strawberries

The state also is a major source of numerous other fruits and vegetables ranging from garlic to peaches — all of which could be affected by the drought.

“We’re not expecting to see much in terms of spring planting of peppers and melons,” Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition told The Monterey Herald.

How High Will Food Prices Climb?

It isn’t known how high prices will climb, but some farmers already are making predictions.

The price of a pint of organic strawberries will rise by 20 percent, from $3.50 to $4.20, California strawberry farmer Jim Cochran told The Monterey Herald. Cochran runs the Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport, California, where he also grows artichokes — which he has stopped watering.

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“We are going to have to sell our products for higher prices because we are not going to have the yield,” Cochran said. “We’re not trying to make more money; we’re trying to lose less.”

Scientist: Mega Drought Could Last for a Century

Lynn Ingram, a scientist at the University of California at Berkley, has uncovered evidence that such droughts can last for decades or centuries.

“If we go back several thousand years, we’ve seen that droughts can last over a decade, and in some cases, they can last over a century,” Ingram told CBS News. Ingram and her colleagues examined sediment and other evidence dating back 3,000 years.

The pattern she uncovered indicates that the 20th Century was the wettest in California in 1,300 years. She believes the current mega-drought could be the start of a century-long dry spell. Ingram also noted that California’s water infrastructure was not built to deal with such dry spells.

If you live outside of California and you want inexpensive fresh produce this summer and fall, consider planting a garden. If Ingram’s predictions about the mega-drought are true it could be the only source of low-cost fruits and vegetables.

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2 comments

  1. And yet our wonderful government is draining the Great Lakes and sending it to China. Really shows what they think of us.

  2. (Lynn Ingram, a scientist at the University of California at Berkley, has uncovered evidence that such droughts can last for decades or centuries.)

    Yes droughts can last for years, but saying it’s going to last for centuries is fear mongering and serves no real use unless it’s a political advantage or a monetary advantage for the research origination doing the research.

    Like global warming being pushed hard by scientist being paid by government grants to produce the results the government wants.

    As far as the great lakes being drained, I live within a few miles of Lake Erie, have a 24-foot boat that I take out on the lake every year, and it’s level is the same as it has been for all my adult life and I’m over 50.

    Scientist almost always deal with abstract figures that are projected well into the future to generate fear and overbearing, draconian action NOW that numerous times come to be based on less then good research. This is because it’s driven by a desired result, rather then being driven by the facts and sound research principles that allow the result to be determined by facts and not the results you went into the results looking for.

    It’s called JUNK SCIENCE and sadly it is what passes for science today.

    I mean does anyone reading this actually think that the drought this year is going to last for and or cause food shortages 200-years from now? If so you are not a very deep thinking person that has much antithetical abilities. The Dust-Bowls of the 1930s lasted for no more then 10-years an the ground recovered. Not that the Pan-Handle is a good place to farm in the first place because it has a history of occasion droughts. California will recover from this and so will the nation. People will plant more crops in other places to make up for it. But if (when) the government gets involved in this it will hamper the recovery by regulating things to the extreme.

    Want to reduce the cost of higher food prices brought on by this drought, plant a garden and learn to can food.

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