Are your almonds worth it?

I’m not just saying this because I’m allergic — find another favorite nut.

I’ve been attending a podcast group where we listen to a list of podcasts and talk about them on Zoom a couple of weeks later. This week’s topic was World Bee Day.

And of course, bees are under attack from pesticides, yellow jackets, disease, and climate change. But almonds stuck in my brain as another risk factor.

I learned that almond growers require 2 million colonies of honey bees to pollinate almond flowers to fulfill our outrageous need for almonds. 80 percent of the world’s supply of almonds are grown in the Central Valley.

So this means 85 percent of all commercial bee colonies in the United States visit California’s almonds.

And it’s not just almonds. The bee colonies travel along the Central Valley of California to pollinate our crops. What an exhausting job.

The bees need to be trucked in for pollination, and trucked back out before pesticides are applied.

Does anyone else see a problem here?

We are trucking these poor bees thousands of miles (in the back of a truck!), to pollinate our crops.

This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to eat locally and in season when you can. When you eat food like almonds and you’re not from California, you are contributing to this cycle, which even I thought included greenhouse gas emissions, water and land use, but also includes our most important pollinator — bees.

Almonds also use more than other nut milks to produce, second only to cow’s milk. So switching to a different milk (oat is the best, and making it at home is even better!) is the best choice overall.

There is more you can do to help bees, too! If you own property, you can plant native plants, make a bee water fountain, and avoid pesticides when you garden.

You can also buy local honey from farmers, sponsor a local hive, and raise awareness about these little guys, even if you are scared of them. They help us all!

There are plenty of other nuts to swap out when the opportunity presents itself, so think twice the next time you want to eat an almond.

Cover photo by Kai Wenzel on Unsplash

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