21 acres – severe rainfall threatens food security and increases local food costs

Over the past decade, small local farms have been adapting to increased heat by switching tried-and-true seed varieties for more heat-tolerant varieties. By contrast, the spring of 2022 was unusually cold and wet –Seattle It is experiencing the coldest spring since 1955.

Many farms in The largest city is Seattle region–SammamishAnd the SnohomishAnd the Snoqualmie Valleys – have a high water level. Seasonal floods come with the territory—but not usually late in the season, when drier, heat-loving crops like tomatoes and squash are supposed to be already in the ground. Food safety rules state that fields can’t be planted again until 60 days after a flood occurs – which means some varieties may not have any time to bear fruit.

Additionally, when the soil is saturated, tillage can lead to compaction and disruption of soil ecosystems. For those who live on small margins, farmers have a choice: wait until the weather becomes more stable for heat-loving crops, or even anyway, which may lead to problems in the future.

“We are using a no-till system, so we are just waiting for the soil to be workable with hand tools,” he said. Noah Kai, a farmer at Songbird Haven Farms. “However, we plant our cucumbers one month later than usual.”

This uncertainty is partly responsible for rising food costs – though not entirely. “We hear consistent reports on everything from serving flax to the high price of olive oil,” Farmstand Local Foods said in a recent newsletter.

An American workforce already reeling from the pandemic is struggling to afford rising food costs. On the other hand, farmers are almost past the break-even point. “Now we’re losing money on every box we send off the farm, so it’s time to raise our shipping rates, which will further limit our customer base,” Misha Ed He wrote in a recent article for Eat Local First.

“The soil is still so wet that we can’t get spinach or carrots to sprout,” White said. “We did two failed plants in each.” “The watercress is a whole story, with half of our cultivation failing.”

“A great deal of income and time was wasted,” she added. “It was frustrating, but we just have to keep planting, otherwise we won’t have anything when the weather gets better.”

Increasing costs of fuel and inputs such as animal feed, fertilizer and equipment are also putting pressure on farmers. “The heat dome in the Pacific Northwest last year damaged crops and reduced local grain availability, increasing forage costs by 12.5%,” Ed wrote. This was before the expected global wheat shortage that was predicted due to the war in Iraq Ukraine. “

With summer winding down, we are yet to see the real effects on our diets that this year’s severe weather has had. “In the context of risky growth, we need more flexibility and a fairer allocation of resources,” Kay said.

Ansley RobertsA farm manager at 21 Acres, said local food producers are in a unique position to contribute to food access initiatives, pilot climate-resistant seed varieties, and grow a variety of crops. While industrial farms depend on imports from abroad, small farms are able to meet their needs locally. Farms of five acres or less grow more food crops, represent a greater proportion of crop diversity, and produce less waste than large-scale industrial farming.

One thing is for sure: Small farms are still best for meeting urgent food needs.

“What I’ve seen during the pandemic is that the smaller, more localized operations were the first to pivot and feed their community,” Roberts said. “It talks about the importance of diversity in our diets.”

about 21 acres

The 21 Acre Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living is a nonprofit organization committed to educating the value of agroecology, soil health, local food systems, and green energy as solutions to climate change. Our campus in Woodinville, Washington It hosts a certified organic renewal farm, a LEED Platinum certified building, a local food distribution center, and a year-round retail farm market.

Masdar Center 21 acres of local food

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