Farming is a grand industry in California, with around 77,500 farms and 122,500 farmers, California is one of the bigger farming economies in our country. But how does farming look for the environment? For the larger economy? Together we’ll take an in-depth look at how farming, and fruit farming in the golden state, in particular, are helping the growing economy and minimizing our impact on the planet.
Farming and the Economy
Did you know that in the last year, agriculture has contributed $1.05 trillion to our national GDP? For those of you who don’t have an automatic idea of how much that is, consider this: that’s roughly 6% of the money this country makes, directly from agriculture and related businesses.
Farming provides great boons for the economy. Without farming, there would be no restaurants, no food manufacturing companies, no nutritionists, and ultimately no food on your table. Farmers do the hard work of producing the food we need to feed those who will ultimately contribute to society and the economy.
Another important consideration is taxes, and farmers certainly pay their share, supporting their communities and the local and federal government with profit from their growing businesses. Speaking of taxes, know anyone in need of a job? Farming provides nearly 15% of the nations jobs, 22 million of them approximately. That’s what you call a big boost to the economy.
The Environment and Growing Fruit
Depending on where you go to do your research, it can be really difficult to develop an unbiased opinion on whether agriculture affects the environment negatively or positively. The simple answer is: yes! Agriculture is a term that covers a wide variety of methods, and while some of them can harm the environment, natural habitats, and ecosystems, others bring nutrients to the soil, provide food for indigenous life, and enrich habitats.
California, in particular, is a great place to farm, considering the rich soil, virtually rock-free farmland, and warm climate. There are roughly 77,500 farms in California, making it one of the top food suppliers in the country. To avoid harming the environment, many farms in California use sustainable methods and crops that require less water considering a pervasive drought that has plagued the region.
Fruit trees, in particular, are helping the environment perhaps more than other types of crops. Trees provide oxygen to the atmosphere and reduce harmful greenhouse gases such as CO2, the leading cause of global warming. A fruit tree planted in a yard or a garden can save you money on your utilities, providing relief from the sun in the summer and insulation against wind and cold in the off months, not to mention free fruit!
Another important thing to think about when asking yourself how agriculture affects the environment is the shipping of grown and processed food to its destination. In our country shipping that is done for the agricultural industry accounts for roughly 10% of our carbon emissions. In this sense, it’s important that we as a society, to combat global warming, sell our produce as locally as we can. Besides, who doesn’t love a farmer’s market?
Economic Growth Through Fruit Farming
Fruit farming, in particular, bolsters the economy and helps our country grow in many different ways.
To understand the importance of fruit farming, we must examine the importance of fruit. Fruit is a big part of our daily intake of food, comprising a large part of the food pyramid with vegetables, and allowing us to take in healthy sugars at a moderate rate. In other words, fruit is essential for our daily life and a healthy diet. There is, in effect, a huge demand in the economy for fruit and fruit growers.
Fruit growing provides jobs to a great many people. Did you know that California produces approximately half to 2/3 of the country’s fruits and nuts? There are, in fact, 66 crops in which California leads the nation in production. With about 77,500 farms in California that adds up to a lot of work, and Californians have more than proven they are up for the task.
If you’re looking for a great crop for California sun and soil, look no farther than your favorite fruit. With a generally high-yield, low-impact system, fruit provides a good deal of agricultural profit to the golden state.
Fruit and Your Health
Nutritionists recommend around 60-85 grams of fruit per day. This would be very hard to accomplish without California fruit growers! Fruit provides a healthy alternative to sugary snacks, part of a refreshing beverage on a hot day, and a sweet, essential part of our human diet.
Without fruit, we would not get the nutrients and the vitamins we need to be productive members of society. An orange, for example, is a significant source of vitamin C. How significant? As much as 130% of the daily recommended value. That orange is also a source of vitamin A, calcium, vitamin B-6, and magnesium. Feeling a citrus craving? You’ll be happy to know that a good portion of the oranges in the United States are grown in California!