Give Thanks to Farmers
It goes without saying that this year has produced some of the most traumatic natural disasters ever seen before. From Napa Valley to Dominica, many Gulf, Caribbean and Central American areas were devastated by hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes.
Families were displaced, lives were lost, and homes were destroyed. Thousands of farms were greatly affected by these unprecedented events. As we continue to learn more of the ramifications of each of these natural disasters, we realize the huge impact these events will have on the food we consume daily.
In Northern California, many wine and cannabis growers have been unexpectedly impacted by the fires that swallowed massive amounts of the state. Being forced to grow new grapes, or using ones with “smoke taint” are both non-ideal options that some growers are facing.Fortunately, most of the grapes for the season were harvested before the fires came.
In Texas, cotton producers were gravely affected by Hurricane Harvey that hit in September. Cotton growers suspect millions of dollars in crops to be lost. Similarly, hundreds of rice acres are underwater – farmers must wait for the water levels to go down before moving forward.
Further east, the Florida citrus industry lost 50-70% of all crops from Hurricane Irma. And not too far north, Hurricane Irma took down pecan trees, virtually damaging every tree, setting growers back years.
Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, grounding all the mango fruits. Puerto Rico doesn’t anticipate yields until mid-2018. Plantains, yams and sweet pepper crops were also adversely affected by Maria’s power. Within hours, Maria wiped out an anticipated 80% of crop value in Puerto Rico.
Similarly, other Caribbean islands, such as the Dominican Republic, Dominica, and St. Martin, that export foods to Puerto Ricowere also grossly impacted by Hurricane Maria, making available foods even more difficult to comeby.Many growers throughout the Caribbean agree that within their lifetimes, Maria’s effects are unprecedented, and they must work extremely hard to overcome their losses.
The world eats, and farmers will fight forward to regrow. This Thanksgiving, as we sit among loved ones and enjoy fresh foods, give thanks to the farmers that are fighting to regrow. Without their hard work, Thanksgiving traditions and dishes would never be the same.