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I think I'm going to have to give up almond milk


redsquirrel
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Almonds, almond milk, avocados, strawberries and lettuce and peppers as well as a bunch of other things I haven't even considered yet. Oh, and Olive oil is also going to be in shortage.  All are staples so I'm going to have to spend some time transitioning to other stuff.

 

The drought news out of California is BAD. They got 5% of their expected snowfall...so 95% less than usual.

 

In good conscious I just can't keep buying such water heavy food from that part of the country, and to be realistic, the price is going to go through the roof, so might as well start adjusting to the new reality now.

 

I do understand that is going to hurt the growers, but it's not like they are going to have anything to sell me. I can stop buying now by choice or in 6 months because there isn't any more water to grow it. Really, what is the difference?

 

 

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We read up on the CA water issues yesterday.  

 

Here is a CNN article:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/01/us/california-water-restrictions-drought/

 

We lived in CA prior to moving to the midwest.  When we first moved here my kids would run outside whenever it rained.  Such a novel occurrence!

 

I really need to get my own strawberry patch going.  those dang deer though.  And rabbits.  And voles.  maybe even the raccoons eat strawberries?

 

 

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We drove through the Central Valley last week on a trip, and talked about how most of that food, taking up all that water we so desperately need, is going to be sold out of state and at cheaper prices than its sold to us (at the point-of-purchase end). You also have companies like Nestlé being allowed to pump water in CA, bottle it, and sell it all over the country. So I'm thrilled that there are people like the OP thinking about these things.

 

It's time to decentralize our food system. And stop covering the place with grass, etc.

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I've been thinking about my almond milk, too. I'm not sure what to transition to. I just don't like the taste of cow milk, and soy always seemed not so great to me so I was glad to give that up. But I've been feelings pangs of guilt over the almond milk, and you are right that it's just too hard to justify now. :(

 

The realities there are unreal. I grew up in California during the drought in the 70's and have always been surprised by how many water saving rules they gave up on since then. I remember not being served water in restaurants--why on earth did they stop adhering to that? And ripping out lawns for lava rock and native gardens was common as a kid. Why did they not capitalize on movements that had already begun then? But the worst environmental sins are those that agriculture has been able to get away with. Now everyone will suffer at the lack of foresight of a few.

 

Maybe this will be a positive for local agriculture movements. Even in Maine I can buy fresh greens grown right in my community in the dead of winter; forgoing California produce for that which can be grown closer to home should have many

positive ripple effects. Except for the California growers, of course. I hope they have a plan. :(

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I don't need almond milk.  I belong to a local dairy CSA, so have access to plenty of local organic milk.  I just like unsweetened almond milk b/c it is so low carb. But, I can use cow milk and just use less of it. Avocado has always been a luxury item and I buy it infrequently. But broccoli? That is going to hurt. I personally eat at least 3lbs of broccoli a week. Broccoli, cabbage and kale are my go-too veggies of choice.

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Well, cutting back on almond milk is probably good, but that's such a small drop in the bucket compared to the water used to grow alfalfa which is used to feed cows both here and in China (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26124989). Alfalfa is also used to feed pasture-based animal agriculture systems.

 

Cutting back on lettuce and broccoli seems a bit to me like patching a tire with scotch tape. imo - for more bang for your buck, cutting down on meat and dairy saves a lot more water (http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/_10_percent_of_california_s_water_goes_to_almond_farming.html). I think even a 50% reduction on that side has a fairly big impact on the water equation.

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We drove through the Central Valley last week on a trip, and talked about how most of that food, taking up all that water we so desperately need, is going to be sold out of state and at cheaper prices than its sold to us (at the point-of-purchase end). You also have companies like Nestlé being allowed to pump water in CA, bottle it, and sell it all over the country. So I'm thrilled that there are people like the OP thinking about these things.

 

It's time to decentralize our food system. And stop covering the place with grass, etc.

 

Up where I live in Alaska, Driscoll's strawberries are $2.50 a carton at the grocery store, and if they aren't already fuzzy when you buy them they will be by the next day. Such a waste of food! I hate buying berries because they have such a short shelf life and by the time we get them they're pretty much done.

 

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We just bought rice bran oil from Azure Standard to try in place of where we usually use grapeseed and olive oils. For cooking, I'm liking it a lot. Haven't tried it yet for cold things like salad.

 

Erica in OR

OT but I wanted to point out that US rice not grown in CA (TX, AR, etc... Generally the former cotton belt) has pretty significant arsenic levels, and the majority of the arsenic is located in the bran. I'm not sure if rice bran oil is purified (or naturally arsenic-free) but it's something you may want to look into.
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A lot of the water that goes into producing an almond is used in the getting the trees established their first few years, before they're even yielding crops of almonds.  Is the drought at the point where California farmers ought to be abandoning orchards that were planted several years ago?  Or should they just hold off on planting new orchards and growing water-intensive annual crops?

 

I'm not sure what makes sense as a consumer - if you don't live in California, it's a great idea to seek out local produce regardless (fresher & tastier, supports farmers in your region.)  But what should we Californians be eating?  I think most of our dairy comes from in-state (the jugs of milk show the "Real California Milk" seal), and I'm seeing that it takes ~2000 gallons of water to make a gallon of cow milk.  I think almond milk has got to take less water than that because there's no way a gallon of almond milk would contain 2000 almonds.  Maybe soy milk or coconut milk beverages are a better choice as a milk substitute?

 

We're moving in a couple months, and I'm going to try to set up graywater recycling at the new house so I can use laundry and shower water for our fruit trees.  We'll be removing the lawn, too.  I'm not sure what else to do.

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Well, we already don't eat meat, except for some occasional pork from my local pig farmer/charcuterie. And as I mentioned, I have a membership with a dairy collective for liquid milk. I can only do what I can do, right?

Right, but I guess my point is that 1) there isn't a whole lot you or I can do individually when such a huge part of it is out of our control (see also: alfalfa) which I think is doubly true if your (or my) water footprint is already smaller than the average American and 2) simply switching from high water products in one region to higher water products in another is a tiny bit like shuffling the chairs on the Titanic if we don't also have some big picture changes that accompany it. The general "we" are going to need to do something about the 9,000lb gorilla in the room and I think we're going to have to change a culture that can't see past this year's profits.

 

We don't drink almond milk here, but do eat all sorts of things that are grown in California since the ground is still quite frozen and our frost fee date is more than a month off. I'm not giving up broccoli, kale, lettuce, or peppers since our water footprint is already quite small and because my calories have to come from somewhere.

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Probably a good idea. We have no water here in California. At all. And speaking of almonds, the price of almonds has more than doubled in the past year or so. The drought is bad, and unfortunately they are blaming a lot of it on the farmers, which is not true. It's the environmental policies that are killing us besides just the fact that we have had no rain or snow in the past 4 years and our legislators would rather quibble about what kind of grocery bags we should be using instead of finding a way to save our state. Here in the Central Valley, the ground has actually been sinking because the aquifers are diminishing. It is a crisis situation and it will affect the rest of the country.

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A lot of the water that goes into producing an almond is used in the getting the trees established their first few years, before they're even yielding crops of almonds.  Is the drought at the point where California farmers ought to be abandoning orchards that were planted several years ago?  Or should they just hold off on planting new orchards and growing water-intensive annual crops?

 

I'm not sure what makes sense as a consumer - if you don't live in California, it's a great idea to seek out local produce regardless (fresher & tastier, supports farmers in your region.)  But what should we Californians be eating?  I think most of our dairy comes from in-state (the jugs of milk show the "Real California Milk" seal), and I'm seeing that it takes ~2000 gallons of water to make a gallon of cow milk.  I think almond milk has got to take less water than that because there's no way a gallon of almond milk would contain 2000 almonds.  Maybe soy milk or coconut milk beverages are a better choice as a milk substitute?

 

We're moving in a couple months, and I'm going to try to set up graywater recycling at the new house so I can use laundry and shower water for our fruit trees.  We'll be removing the lawn, too.  I'm not sure what else to do.

Sadly, some places do not allow this.  I think it prudent to check before you get too far along in planning it.

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Sadly, some places do not allow this. I think it prudent to check before you get too far along in planning it.

Really? I wonder why, or how anyone would know. :(

 

It's a terrific idea and IMO should be mandatory in water challenged area especially. This is exactly the kind of proactive change nearly any homeowner can make, and has a real positive effect on daily residential use. The set up from a kitchen sink looks simple enough, though I haven't looked into it for several years. My mother saves shower water in buckets and lugs it outside to water her vegetable garden but they'd love to be set up with a more efficient system. That would make a great business opportunity!

 

Interesting note on almond trees using the most water when they are getting established. I hadn't thought of that but it does make sense. I wonder how water intensive they are when they are mature.

 

It's true that not buying almond milk or California strawberries is a tiny, insignificant drop in the bucket and doesn't make for huge change. But I really am hopeful that people become more aware of the realities of industrial food production and that local farm movements across the country benefit from the shift in perspective. I'm also hopeful that Californians take it upon themselves (since, sorry, but it's obvious the governor won't assist in real change) to make changes on a local level, at home and in their communities.

 

And now I want to know why California strawberries are the cheapest I've ever seen them at the grocery store. Total disconnect, it seems to me.

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Really? I wonder why, or how anyone would know. :(

 

It's a terrific idea and IMO should be mandatory in water challenged area especially. This is exactly the kind of proactive change nearly any homeowner can make, and has a real positive effect on daily residential use. The set up from a kitchen sink looks simple enough, though I haven't looked into it for several years. My mother saves shower water in buckets and lugs it outside to water her vegetable garden but they'd love to be set up with a more efficient system. That would make a great business opportunity!

 

Interesting note on almond trees using the most water when they are getting established. I hadn't thought of that but it does make sense. I wonder how water intensive they are when they are mature.

 

It's true that not buying almond milk or California strawberries is a tiny, insignificant drop in the bucket and doesn't make for huge change. But I really am hopeful that people become more aware of the realities of industrial food production and that local farm movements across the country benefit from the shift in perspective. I'm also hopeful that Californians take it upon themselves (since, sorry, but it's obvious the governor won't assist in real change) to make changes on a local level, at home and in their communities.

 

And now I want to know why California strawberries are the cheapest I've ever seen them at the grocery store. Total disconnect, it seems to me.

 

Check city/county ordinances.  it is not allowed in my area.  We do however, collect rainwater. We have two 1000 gallon tanks for our gardens. 

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A lot of the water that goes into producing an almond is used in the getting the trees established their first few years, before they're even yielding crops of almonds.  Is the drought at the point where California farmers ought to be abandoning orchards that were planted several years ago?  Or should they just hold off on planting new orchards and growing water-intensive annual crops?

 

I'm not sure what makes sense as a consumer - if you don't live in California, it's a great idea to seek out local produce regardless (fresher & tastier, supports farmers in your region.)  But what should we Californians be eating?  I think most of our dairy comes from in-state (the jugs of milk show the "Real California Milk" seal), and I'm seeing that it takes ~2000 gallons of water to make a gallon of cow milk.  I think almond milk has got to take less water than that because there's no way a gallon of almond milk would contain 2000 almonds.  Maybe soy milk or coconut milk beverages are a better choice as a milk substitute?

 

We're moving in a couple months, and I'm going to try to set up graywater recycling at the new house so I can use laundry and shower water for our fruit trees.  We'll be removing the lawn, too.  I'm not sure what else to do.

 

 The average dairy cow drinks 2-4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk.  My two jersey milk cows each produce around 4 gallons of milk per day, and most days they don't each drink 16 gallons of water unless it's really hot.  Obviously it takes water to grow feed for the cows, but 2000 gallons of water per gallon of milk?  The only place I can find that number is on anti-agriculture propaganda sites, none of which cite any actual research.  According to actual research which you can find summarized here, the actual number is 144 gallons of water per gallon of milk.  

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