With Earth Day fast approaching, it’s probably a good time to talk about what the California Drought means for food. On second thought, it’s always a good time to talk about food.

Kermit not easy being green

In the near future, you’re going to need a lot more green to get your greens — and in eating your greens, it’ll become increasingly difficult to consider yourself “green.” Fan-freaking-tastic. Just two weeks after this health report revealed a seven-a-day fruit and vegetable diet significantly outperforms more traditional five-a-day approaches, the Wall Street Journal confirms fruit and vegetable prices are indeed on the rise. And we, the smoothie happy, the ladies and gentlemen who lunch, are in some way responsible.

No part of that opening paragraph should surprise you, provided you have a basic understanding of these truths: produce is good for you, California is enduring a severe, unrelenting three-year drought, and a “juice” is an exorbitantly expensive, efficient and trendy way to consume heaping portions of fruits and vegetables. You also know that avocado salad add-on is going to set you back an extra $2.50, but goddammit you are weak, hungry and your otherwise midday ruffage assembly is in dire need of creamy substance.

Fortunately for my health (knock on wood), I truly enjoy the taste of most fruits and vegetables. Eating well is a winning habit I adopted early in life (thanks, Ma). One childhood favorite was steamed cauliflower, albeit covered in melted American (i.e. mystery) cheese, and I once cried happy tears over a side of crispy brussel sprouts. These days I’m all GIMME ALL THE KALE, and as an undergrad, I greatly advantaged from Villanova University’s dining services by exercising the Golden Rule of unlimited meal plans: never leave the cafeteria without pockets full o’ pilfered fruit. It’s not really stealing if you already paid (in excess) for it.

The true burden, however, is not one of produce-laden pockets, but of a guilty conscience. I know too well how far a banana travels from origin to [GMO] cereal bowl, that it took 37 gallons of water to fill my coffee cup, and 1.1 gallons to grow just ONE of the almonds currently stockpiled in my cupboard. I know, too, that when I leave my desk for lunch today, a “local enough” bed of kale will not counter its less sustainable, resource-heavy plate mates. But it’s all too easy to forget, or rather to deny come mealtime. What California Drought? This fruit salad is fucking delicious!

 (read on and save yourself from another juice cleanse…)

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