Want a local cure for the rising costs of veggies as a result of the horrible drought in California? I’ve got three words for you – “Grow Your Own.”
While I’m not going to have much success growing avocados and almonds in South Carolina, I can easily grow my own lettuce, kale, and tomatoes and Fort Mill’s strawberries will be ready soon. (Yes, that’s my little lettuce patch in one of my raised beds, along with the mesh fence to keep away those rascally rabbits that would love to nibble on my tender greens.)
These are just a few of the water-intensive California crops that are going to be increasing in cost because of the severe drought.
Before you complain about the 3.3 gallons of water needed to grow a single tomato or the 5.4 gallons needed to produce a head of broccoli, please check out James McWilliams excellent op-ed piece in the March 7, 2014 edition of the New York Times, entitled “Meat Makes the Planet Thirsty.”
McWilliams sites a 2012 study that indicates that beef has an overall water footprint of four million gallons per ton produced, whereas vegetables clock in at 85,000 gallons per ton.
McWilliams points out that if you change your diet to replace 50% of the animal products with plant based protein, you can reduce your food-related water footprint by 30%. And if you are willing to cut out meat completely, your water footprint reduces by almost 60%.
We all know that water is one of our planet’s most precious resources. Yet we continue wasting it. Have you considered calculating your personal water footprint?
And by the way, please watch these funny video clips that will help you remember that wasting water is weird!