There have been wheat and corn shortages, chocolate and coffee shortages and, amazingly for us here in the Northeast, even egg shortages. Food shortages in Venezuela are an example of how catastrophic such conditions can become.
One clear example of the effects of a changing climate on food production is the prolonged drought in California’s Central Valley. It’s resulted in a loss of 5 percent of irrigated cropland, or $800 million in crop revenue, according to UC Davis. Central Valley has long been renowned for its abundant harvests of apricots, asparagus, almonds, cotton, tomatoes and grapes.
Another widespread loss is in eggs. The US used to export about 30 million eggs per day. Now we’re importing eggs to cover shortages resulting from Bird Flu. Our nationwide production is down by 28 million eggs per day.
Let’s face it – Living in Herkimer, a veritable agricultural Garden of Eden, we should not have food shortages. Our fertile soil, abundant farmland and wealth of water resources are what first attracted settlers to the flats along the Mohawk, and have sustained our farm families for generations. We should be able to provide bountiful food locally for everyone and at a lower cost because it is grown here. There’s no necessity to import produce that can be locally grown from California or Florida. And soon, probably impossible, given the toll climate is taking on crop yields in formerly abundant agricultural regions. We need to begin cultivating our own food self-sufficiency now, in the thousands of fertile acres that abound in Herkimer and the Mohawk Valley. We’ll have fresher food that requires less energy to grow and distribute.
We can expand our expertise to include fish farming, and we can grow our crops all year long in such inexpensive structures as hoop houses that provide the warm sunlit environment plants need. We can try aquaponics and hydroponics for high density, organic indoor farming.
Community farming can be the opportunity we need to teach vital sustainability skills to our children even as we grow our farms to protect us from disaster by providing food security. Working together for the benefit of all also teaches us the social skills we need to foster a genuine, sustainable community. We might also petition our mayor to let us have chickens and a goat or two, even if we live within Herkimer Village.
Always keep in mind that just because you’re one person, you’re not incapable of making important changes. By growing your own food and joining others in making our community a sustainable one, you can make our planet healthier while bringing food security to your home and neighborhood.