Bordeau’s essay is an interesting departure. California ag doesn’t generally talk about food security, because if it did, someone might get interested in the question of ‘how much ag would CA need to be food secure?’ and the answer is ‘not much at all.’. So CA ag doesn’t usually bring it up. But, you know, it’s been a bit, so maybe no one told him to pipe down about that.
The truth is, if we want CA ag to be the source of Californian food security, we’d have to change just about everything from our current profit-maximizing, economically-optimized, plantation system. The system that we’ve come to accept is terribly brittle. I don’t know that it is brittle to COVID 19 in particular, but COVID 19 is reminding people that huge bad shit that is out of our control can happen. Our system doesn’t have a way to scale up and down for type of water year. Plantation ag is not diversified. If an almond plague came through, it’d wipe out 1.5M acres. We’re at the edge of collapse for groundwater and salt. The people in the system cannot imagine any other way; their ways of life are brittle.
We should actually convert to a system that grants real food security. Honestly, the water policy is the simplest part. The hard part is that we’d have to define our values. Food security for Californians? For the independent county of Pacifica? For America? What kind of food? Mediterranean diet? Meat heavy? Does everyone get it? If so, we’d have to build those food pathways. We have to decide what we want to spend on it communally so that people aren’t food insecure independently. We’d have to decide what kind of ag and where. I wish we would, but I don’t think Californians are scared enough yet to have the will and those conversations.