Editor's Food for Thought: October/November 2015 Issue
When we talk about food security, we often think of equal access to healthy nutrition. What we don’t automatically consider is food security’s reliance on water—an element becoming increasingly important as we realize it is not an unlimited resource.
With agriculture consuming 70% of the world’s fresh water supply, strategies are beginning to form about ways to develop more water-smart food production systems. This includes raising awareness of our water footprint, the amount of fresh water that is used to produce or supply the goods and services we consume. Currently, almost 95% of our water footprint is hidden in the foods we eat, the energy we use, the products we buy and the services we rely on.
The average American consumes about 2,000 gallons of H2O a day — twice the global average. To help gain some insight, consider the water footprint/usage of some of our favorite foods:
|Gallons of water required to produce 1 ounce of food*|
|Beef = 106.3||Rice = 16.3|
|Eggs = 11.73||Milk = 5.5|
|Red wine = 3.5||Tomatoes = .95|
|Peas = 44.5||Pasta = 16.6|
|Avocados = 9.4||Blueberries = 5.6|
|Kale = 2.26||Carrots = .9|
* Based on U.S. data from the Water Footprint Network.
Do you know your water footprint? If not, I encourage you to check out the interactive meal footprint calculator created by the Los Angeles Times.
In this issue, we profile Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest’s efforts to lower their water footprint with a net-zero water system for their edible garden. The regenerative design reaches beyond watering edibles to create a closed-loop system that utilizes rainfall to feed the garden then returns water to the land in a healthy natural ecosystem.
As we enter a season of gratitude, and we give thanks for family, friends and food, I encourage you to add water to your list. Unlike many parts of the United States, and the world, we have the luxury of simply turning on our faucets to receive water that is rated among the best in the country. But for how long will this be our luxury? And what can we do now to secure this powerful resource for tomorrow?
-Ann Curtis, Managing Editor
“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”
- Benjamin Franklin