As the daughter of a third generation citrus, pistachio and walnut farmer, I have been exposed to the agriculture industry my entire life. This lifestyle has shaped the way I see and interact with the world. I am often shocked by how removed people are from where their food comes from, especially in my own generation. I try to educate as many people as I can on the importance of the agriculture industry, particularly in California. However, I am only one person so I cannot reach everyone.
I was practically shocked by how unaware someone my age was on how food gets from the field and into their local grocery store when talking to a classmate about the severity of the drought in California. The area where I am from in the south valley was hit especially hard by the drought. I was telling this person that many of my family’s citrus, walnut and pistachio groves would likely die if we didn’t get water soon. This loss would be financially devastating since tree crops, such as citrus and nuts, take years to mature to peak production age. My classmate then suggested that my family go to Costco and buy flats of water bottles to water the trees.
This may not sound like a crazy idea to many people but let me put it into perspective for you… to water one acre of pistachios, which is about the size of a football field, it takes about three acre-feet of water per year. To clarify an “acre foot” is the amount of water it takes to cover an acre of land in one foot of water. Simple enough? Now think about how an acre-foot of water is equivalent to 325,850 gallons. This means that to water that one little pistachio grove it would require 977,550 gallons of water…or approximately 7,331,625 Costco water bottles!
Some people get upset about how much water nut trees and other commodities require to produce bountiful crops. However, let me ask you this, is feeding your country and your family a waste of water?
I hate to burst the bubbles of some people out there but no, food does not come from the grocery store! I’m not saying that everyone needs to be an expert on farming practices, all I’m asking for is a little consciousness and appreciation for the people who are working to put food on your plate everyday.
With the growth of the PR industry I have hope for the future of agriculture in California. As PR professionals, our goal is to connect companies to their publics. I hope to use my knowledge of public relations and agriculture to help bridge the gap between farm and table in an effort to connect people with their food. So next time you sit down to a meal take a moment to appreciate the farmer who put it in front of you.
By: Abby Peltzer
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