The California almond industry is committed to continuous improvement and documenting its sustainability journey. Because 91% of California’s approximately 7,600 almond farms are family farms, there are strong community values preserving the land for future generations through environmental stewardship and careful forethought. Almonds are California’s top agricultural export and largest tree nut crop in total dollar value and acreage—a position that comes with great responsibility.
As consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability and the environmental footprint of the foods they eat, the Almond Board of California (ABC) recognizes that it’s important for manufacturers to be able to report on and communicate about their supply chain sustainability. Measurable progress, rooted in thoughtful data collection, can help companies meet their own sustainability goals and relay meaningful values to their consumers.
The industry is working toward achieving specific sustainability goals by 2025, among which include achieving zero waste in orchards by putting everything grown to optimal use and further reducing the amount of water used to grow almonds. The industry has already reduced the amount of water needed to grow a pound of almonds by 33% via improved production practices; but it is committed to reducing this amount by an additional 20% by 2025.
To measure progress toward the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals, ABC uses the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) to document the industry’s efforts to adopt cost-effective, environmentally and socially responsible practices. CASP provides almond growers self-assessments that help to identify specific areas and tactics for improvement—whether by adopting efficient micro-irrigation technology or planting cover crops for pollinator nutrition.
Most recently, the California almond community launched a new five-point Pollinator Protection Plan this January. A collection of initiatives aimed at protecting bees during almond bloom and beyond, the plan reaffirms the industry’s commitment to researching, protecting and improving honey bee health. The Pollinator Protection Plan marked the start of a new partnership between ABC and the world’s largest non-profit dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems: The Pollinator Partnership. The partnership’s goal is to educate and expand the number of certified “bee friendly” almond farmers who provide a habitat for all pollinators on their farms.
As another aspect of the plan, ABC is supporting the development and launch of BeeWhere, a digital mapping tool that lets beekeepers mark hive locations to help farmers plan pest management practices and protect honey bees. Plus, working with bee research organizations including Project Apis m., ABC encourages farmers to plant bee pastures and hedgerows as additional food sources for all pollinators.
To date, ABC has supported 125 research projects to address the major factors impacting honey bee health and this year alone has funded five new studies with leading bee experts across the U.S. Investing in research has resulted in significant advancements toward growing almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, protecting communities and the environment.
Almond Board of California
Learn more at www.almonds.com/growing-good