California grows about 80% of the world’s almonds, about 1.1 million tons/yr.. Because the winter chilling (dormant) period has begun to shorten as the climate warms, some experts predict that by 2030, almond yields will decrease by 10%. One solution is to switch to varieties that tolerate warmer winters. Almonds also need a lot of water and with the doubling of acreage almonds are becoming California’s most extensive irrigated crop. Fortunately, most of the state’s almond farmers have adopted precision irrigation technology, watering roots instead of entire orchards. If multi-year droughts recur and the snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas continues to dwindle in the coming decades, conserving water will be even more critical.
Yields of major staple crops like wheat and rice are being hurt by increasing temperatures. Wine grape production is moving to cooler climes causing changes in the character of some of our favorites. The flavors and health benefits of teas, the size of potatoes, the sting of a hot pepper, where fish call home in the oceans, and a future decline in protein in vegetables—it’s all changing.
Our food database shows the ingredients affected by a changing climate.
To learn what farmers, scientists, and many others are doing to keep the menu stocked, see Stewardship of the Land and Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need. You have a role, too!
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This food ingredient database is in its early phase and we will strive to expand it on an ongoing basis so that everyone is aware of how climate change is affecting the foods we love and need.