And being one of the leading producers of basically everything besides corn and wheat in America, it's a significant matter, one that affects the price of food across the U.S. One-third of the vegetables and two-thirds of the nuts and fruits each year are produced right here in California.
Water-hungry California almonds use a stunning 1.1 trillion gallons of water each year, more than any other crop in the state. Almonds also happen to be the most lucrative export for farmers, as well as citrus. But rising water prices may take their toll on niche markets like this once the cost gets passed on to the consumer.
Choose your blame, from climate change to fracking to poor water management, the real conversation now turns to solutions. In such case, farmers might look to industrial hemp, which also produces a versatile and more nutritious nut, as well as natural fibers that outperform cotton and bamboo. Each hemp plant also carries the potential of its other many uses (paper, fiber, bio-fuel, medicine, etc.) and absorbs plenty of CO2 during its life.
Now that research and hemp pilot programs have spread across America, the plant is quietly becoming of interest to more farmers and even the American Farm Bureau. In the first episode of its new series California Soul, VICE dives deep into the sand to uncover some of the forces behind drought-ridden California.
+ via VICE
+ More on the California drought via Families Protecting the Valley