Industrial Farming and Sustainability

The Guardian released an excellent article about the impact of industrial almond farming on bee populations.

The Role of Bees

In industrial farming, one crop grows acre after acre. All of those plants blossom at once. Because of this, there aren’t enough bees in the area to pollinate all of the plants at once, to compensate, other bees are brought in.

Check out the 99% Invisible episode on this topic.

Transporting bees all over the country puts them at risk for diseases. Almonds are the #1 pollination crop. They are in such a high demand that #2 pollination crop, apples, use 1/10 the number of bees required for almonds.

Consumer Impact

A lot of non-vegans like to take articles like the one from The Guardian and use them to put down veganism. The point here is not dairy vs. non-dairy or one diet vs. another. It is about becoming educated on these issues.

If your intention is to cause less harm, you can. The demand for almonds has been skyrocketing and there have been serious consequences as a result. We all love almonds but do we need almond milk, almond butter, almond flour, and roasted almonds?

If you want to reduce your harm, think about where your food is coming from and how it is produced:

  • Buy local and or organic if possible
  • Buy LESS — of everything
  • Consider your source
  • Do you need to have something delivered, is there a store you could walk or drive to?

I hate making people feel personally responsible for the current crisis our environment is in. But the fact is, almonds are an example of an industry that has been in high demand by consumers. We have seen how consumer demands have been able to shape our buying choices. There are now organic and gluten-free sections at most grocery stores. At my grocery store, the non-dairy milk section of the refrigerator case is three times as large as any other section. We, as consumers, DO have the power to shape our food system.

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