The New Republic published an op-ed late last month which described the problems inherent in growing such a high percentage of vegetables in California, where long droughts are expected based on past climate information, and supplies of groundwater is becoming more and more limited.

The author’s suggestion for where to grow more food–the Southeast!  Even in our worst droughts we have over 30 inches of rain a year, and if we use it carefully on our soils (which generally don’t have good water-holding capacity) using cover crops and supplementing with judicious irrigation and growing technologies like high tunnels, we can provide a lot of food to the nation and the world.

Changes in climate can both challenge traditional methods of agricultural production and can provide new opportunities for farmers in the Southeast.  Changes in local conditions like the length of the growing season can expand the variety of crops that can be grown and may increase the ability to double- or even triple-crop as long as water and nutrients are available.  Wider changes in crop production elsewhere can affect the market for those crops and make choosing different crops more economically feasible.  Food for thought, to be sure.

greens ars d1186-1