Opinion: Earth Day: California Must Curb Central Valley Food Waste as Water Crisis Worsens

In the Central Valley, agriculture is everything. Farmers here grow 25% of the country’s food, yet copious amounts of flawed produce is dumped or left to rot.

For many supermarkets, an orange with a hail scratch is deemed unsellable. In 2019, researchers from Santa Clara University found that an estimated one-third of food in northern and central California is wasted, largely because of supermarket standards and consumer habits. We cannot follow this model of growing more produce than we need – or wasting this much – given California’s limited water resources, drought on surface water, and severe overpumping of groundwater.