It's official: Avocado has surpassed kale as America’s trendiest superfood. But with all the demand, the avocado market has gone way off-kilter with unsustainable practices that amp up deforestation rates, mess with biodiversity of regions, and adversely affect the health of people living in close proximity to the farming and processing sites.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Villagers in Peru’s Apurimac region have figured out a way to grow avocados sustainably with a methodology that also provides workers a living wage. So go ahead and dive in to that green-topped toast. Here’s what’s happening.
We’ve grown super comfortable with showing up at a supermarket and filling our baskets with fresh produce without a thought to where it came from and what it took to get it here. Tomatoes in February, pineapple in Alaska, and avocados… everywhere.
California has done its part to produce as much avocado as possible to keep up with demand (the state currently grows 165,000 tons of the fruit annually). But if you’re outside of California, you need to be a bit of a detective about where your fruit is coming from, scale back on your consumption, or turn to pea mash to satiate your toast-topping cravings.
Candelaria Pillaca has been a farmer for years. But five years ago, the Apurimac-based Peruvian has focused on producing avocados, EcoSalon reports.
Pillaca found out about a savings and credit program through World Neighbors, an organization currently working with 500,000 people internationally by offering loans, training, and education so communities and individuals can solve challenges of disease, hunger and poverty in poor areas around the world. Through this partnership, Pillaca learned about organic farming, fertilization, water conservation, and basic accounting.
Her burgeoning avocado plantation now supports Pillaca and her family. The farm is organic and utilizes a drip irrigation system, crop diversification, and utilizes organic fertilizers from animal waste and compost. Instead of clearing forests for avocado planting, Pillaca has figured out how to incorporate avocados into an existing and diverse farm.
Based on Pillaca’s success, villagers in her region are following in her footsteps. As these biodiverse farms spread and offer many more health and ecological benefits than their monoculture counterparts, it may only be a matter of time before sustainable avocados are the norm—and no longer coming at such a cost.
St.-Emilion, a winery in France, will begin organic certification of their Bordeaux wine in 2019 as they've adopted sustainable farming practices over the last two years. Demand for organic products pushed many wineries toward these new methods.
NotCompany, a startup from Chile, has created software called "Giuseppe" that can learn what's in food and develops multiple recipes with vegan ingredients. They hope to work with major corporations to change how we consume our food.
Spoiler Alert is a new company that creates software to connect organizations like food producers, food banks, and pantries. This system allows everyone to communicate in real time and keep food waste down by getting it to the right people quickly.
Thanksgiving is delicious, but the estimated food waste every year is damaging the planet. You can make a difference with a little planning and the help of a free customizable calculator.