Corn Lies in the Hand of the Public:
Whole Foods uses local farmers for all their produce received. These farmers are experts when it comes to the realm of sustainability. By using the process of Whole Trade, the Whole Foods community can easily look over the farming techniques of local farmers throughout New Mexico and approve them as a USDAC field organic system. Whole Foods uses an exercise called the Fruit Cut. When they receive fresh fruit, it is good for a maximum of five days. During that time period, the fruit can only be sold within a two-day period. The remaining fruit is then packaged up, and sent to Roadrunner Food Bank. This process is one of many sustainable ways Whole Foods practices.
Another interesting fact about their seafood department includes the coloring of their salmon. Many people do not know, but salmon is not naturally a red/pink color. It is in fact, a creamy white color. Farmers will feed the fish dyes that cause their flesh to turn pink, or even dye the meat when it is in the grocery store. Whole Foods do have small amounts of white colored salmon, but it is not normally sold because of the lack of education amongst the customers. To adapt to this problem, Whole Foods created a sustainable way to dye the salmon flesh. By feeding the salmon crushed up shrimp tails in their food at the salmon farms, the meat will turn a bright fleshy-pink color…. causing customers to buy the “natural” looking salmon.
An important factor I learned from one of the three blogs I read was that corn yields could potentially fall 15 to 30 percent if we do not fix this upcoming problem. Although our crops have not failed yet…they are destined to if we do not fix our sensitivity to upcoming droughts. Crops have increased from 24,000 plants per acre, to 30,000 plants per acre. Between the years of 1995 and 2012, scientists have been recording the stress amounts of each yield. It has been decided that the highest stress levels of the crops fall under the category of VPD. Vapor pressure deficit is the difference in humidity between the inside of the plant and the outside air. The VPD determines how fast the plant loses water to air as it takes in carbon dioxide to fuel the photosynthesis of the plant. It has been found that yield growth has declined immensely in the areas that contain high amounts of VPD. This shows that crop yields have in fact become more drought sensitive rather than drought tolerant. The reasoning for such unfortunate results is due to the higher densities of crops. The larger amount of crops yielded, has cause a lessening of soil, sunlight and water amongst the plants.
The demand for corn has increased immensely since 1995, and will increase further into the future. There is no set solution to lower the amounts of VPD other than of course, lower the amount of corn produced. Unfortunately, that idea conflicts with the growing public demand. A new product called “drought-tolerant corn varieties” has been created, but is not making a large impact on the problem. So I leave you with this question, do you believe we will find a way to fix the vapor pressure deficit of our corn yields? Or do you think we are going to have to ultimately lower our demand for corn products?