- Author: Marissa Palin
In 2011, California farm revenue was $43.5 billion. We produced more than 400 crops with 800,000 workers on 81,500 farms.
The University of California plays a big role in supporting California agriculture. UC is the largest public holder of agriculture and biotech patents registered in the United States—UC holds 627 active plant licenses. UC plant varieties account for 90% of California’s wheat, 65% of California strawberries, and 40% of strawberries worldwide.
Our UC researchers are working to meet the challenges of global food production by coming up with new innovations in animal care and breeding, plant varieties, irrigation and nutrient delivery, and pest and disease management practices.
Despite California’s abundant food production, 16.2% of California households are food insecure. And California crops are being threatened by climate change. California temperatures are projected to increase by 2.7° F by 2050—that’s 3 times the rate of the last century. California lettuce and spinach ($1.6 billion in value) is being threatened by increasing temperatures.
Our world is changing. What does that mean for California agriculture? What does that mean for global food systems? What does that mean for us, our families, our neighbors? What do we need to do to keep up?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
- Author: Marissa Palin
Now imagine going to your local farmer's market, and seeing no locally-grown citrus. No oranges, no lemons, no grapefruits, no mandarins.
According to the Citrus Research Board, California's citrus industry generates approximately $1.8 billion in economic activity through commercial growing operations.
But that could all change if Huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease, gets a hold of our trees. The pest, and the disease it transmits, has the potential to completely decimate California citrus crops.
So far the disease-transmitting pest, asian citrus psyllid, has been found as far north as Tulare County. In 2012, the disease was found in Los Angeles County. In Florida, the disease has tallied more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity according to CDFA.
The average American eats 12.5 pounds of citrus each year. California's citrus industry ranks 2nd in the U.S.
How do we prevent HLB from claiming our citrus trees? What would California look like without citrus? What would world agriculture look like without California citrus? Comment and let us know your thoughts.
- Author: Marissa Palin
All 6, almost 7, billion of us.
But what happens when there are 8 billion of us? Will more and more of us spend our weekends trying to scrape together enough food? Will more and more of us start our own gardens and obsess over our fresh produce? Will farmers markets become the new Ralphs? Will we have enough water to feed ourselves? Will we have enough land? How do we sustainably feed 8 billion people by 2025?
“We’re going to have to produce more food in the next 40 years than we have the last 10,000. Some people say we’ll just add more land or more water. But we’re not going to (be able to) do much of either,” says William Lesher, former USDA chief economist.
This is a global issue. But as Californian's and residents of the world’s top agricultural producer, what is our role in meeting these challenges? On April 9, 2013, producers, geo-politicists, ethicists, economists, humanists and many others from around the world will come together to discuss the challenges surrounding our global food systems at the UCANR Statewide Conference: Global Food Systems Forum.
The Global Food Systems Forum will feature Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and president of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, and Wes Jackson, founder and president of The Land Institute, as the keynote speakers. The program will include a Global Panel, discussing key issues such as resource limitations, ethnical quandaries, climate change, responsibilities, etc. A California Panel will also take place, tackling issues such as California responsibilities, productivity, policies, markets and research.
But this conversation isn’t just about UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. It’s about all of us. We all need to take a stand and advocate for our food. If you watch what you eat, you should join the conversation. If you love what you eat, you should join the conversation. If you worry about how you will eat in the future, you should join the conversation.
The public is invited to participate in this one-day event via a live online webcast. You can also join the ongoing conversation on twitter by following the hashtag #Food2025. Make your voice heard. Stand up for your food, and help shape our future global food systems.
Learn more about the Global Food Systems Forum and register to watch the live webcast at food2025.ucanr.edu.