Olives: California’s Next Possible Oil Rush


Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

California farming, draught and farming, olive trees

Photo courtesy of Abby flat-coat via Flickr

  • Olives: California’s next possible oil rush: Olives trees have a lot to offer the United States, and especially states battling water problem like California. Most olives grown around the world have no irrigation since the trees are made for drought, having evolved to go dormant during extreme dry season and to spring right back when the rain comes. Since the current drought is destroying California’s agriculture, there is real hope in olive farming. If done right, olive oil farming could be a huge benefit for our nutrition as well as the environment. As Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center explained: “There’s now ten times more California-grown olive oil than we had 10 years ago. And olive oil consumption in the United States has gone up maybe ten fold in the last thirty years.”
  • Local food producers can get support from the USDA:  Local food producers are about to receive help from the government, as part of the 2014 farm bill. Total of $78 million will be invested into local and regional food systems, from farmers markets to processing facilities and distribution centers. The goal of this incentive is to boost local, and especially rural, economies. Tom Vilsac, US Agriculture Secretary commented on this bill: “Consumer demand for locally-produced food is strong and growing, and farmers and ranchers are positioning their businesses to meet that demand. As this sector continues to mature, we see aggregation, processing and distribution enterprises across the local food supply chain growing rapidly. These historic USDA investments in support of local food give farmers and ranchers more market opportunities, provide consumers with more choices, and create jobs in both rural and urban communities.” Out of the total budget, $48 million is intended for loans for local food projects through Rural Development’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program.  The remaining $30 million will be available through grants from the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program.
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