Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

We have all heard about all sorts of animals that are now extinct, but who has heard of food extinctions? I guess the extinction of certain types of grains, apples or beans is not yet really newsworthy.

Whether you believe in climate change or not, extreme weather events all over the planet are causing serious changes to agriculture. Today, many of the common foods we consume on a daily basis are slowly becoming harder to produce and to transport to selected destinations.

What would life be like without chocolate? It’s estimated by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture that by 2030, we will begin to see a huge decrease in the cacao production. Temperatures in regions where cacao is grown have become less suitable for the plants’ ideal growth. Temperature change will significantly reduce the production of cacao. Without cacao, there is no chocolate.

Your morning cup of coffee could also in danger. A 2017 study that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science demonstrates that climate change is threatening conditions where coffee crops are grown and the bees that are responsible for about 25% of the coffee bean production.

Bees help to pollinate coffee crops and also increase the quality of the beans. Unpredictable weather and higher temperatures repel bees with lower heat tolerances from pollinating coffee plants. Suitable areas in Latin America to grow coffee beans are dwindling each year. We may need to find a new resource for the common morning ritual.

Fortunately, coffee and chocolate are not extinct, but for these and so many other foods their stability doesn’t look very promising. Maybe there is something we can do to help our planet and our food crops.

Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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