Screenshot 2014-10-10 09.19.16A report released today warns prices for a variety of fruits and vegetables in B.C. could increase up to 34 per cent this year due to the drought in California.

According to the report which was commissioned by Vancity, drought has persisted in California over the past three years, with the majority of the state in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. With the last 30 months being the driest on record, the state’s dependence on moving water is making it and British Columbians vulnerable to price spikes for fruits and vegetables.

The report, entitled Wake up Call: California Drought & BC’s Food Security, indicates:

– In 2010, 67% of BC vegetable imports came from the U.S., over half of which was produced in California, including 95% of all broccoli and 74% of all lettuce. — Between 1996 and 2011 in B.C., local crop production has decreased by 52% in the case of broccoli and 34% in the case of lettuce. — Since 1991, local crop production in B.C. has dramatically decreased, including vegetable crops, which have fallen by 20.4 per cent. — Between July 2013 and 2014, produce prices in B.C. have increased between 5.7% and 9.6%. — If current trends continue, prices for many fruit and vegetables are predicted to increase by 25%-50% by 2019, adding an extra $30-$60 to the average B.C. household’s monthly grocery bill. — Paying $7 for a pound of broccoli could be a reality in five years. — When comparing current production to recommendations for dietary consumption outlined in Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, B.C.’s food self reliance drops to 34%.

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