Vegetable prices in the United States were up nearly 40% in November over the previous month, according to new figures from the Labor Department.
It seems that climate change is one of the reasons why. In California, an ongoing drought that studies have shown has been exacerbated by climate change has led to $3 billion worth of agriculture losses in a state that grows much of the nation's food. The megadrought, which covers much of the American West, has forced cuts in the amount of water that states like California and Arizona receive from the Colorado River.
Thanks to a significantly diminished snowpack in 2022, following the driest January and February in recorded history in the state, California's Central Valley has also struggled to produce its usual output of fruits and vegetables. And then there was the fact that lettuce production in the Salinas Valley has fallen further, thanks to an outbreak of the impatiens necrotic spot virus, which spreads from plant to plant and can decimate entire greenhouses.