Why is lettuce getting more expensive?

If you've noticed that lettuce prices have skyrocketed recently, you're not alone. "Food prices normally fluctuate throughout the seasons or with inflation," says Nick Cutsumpas, an urban farmer and plant coach who designs exterior landscapes on Netflix's Instant Dream Home and wrote Plant Coach: The Beginner's Guide to Caring for Plants and the Planet, "but this specific surge in price is a reflection of the fragility of our food system."

It's not just a matter of supply and demand but more a cause-and-effect situation that started with crops on the West Coast. "Much of the lettuce we consume here in the United States is grown in the warm climate areas of Central California," Cutsumpas tells Yahoo Life, "and alongside inflation and climate-related circumstances, starting in the fall of 2022, an insect-borne virus started spreading through fields of leafy greens."

It seems our favorite leafy greens have been suffering from their own sort of pandemic, and the results have been devastating. "The virus, impatiens necrotic spot virus or INSV, is carried by the thrips insect (a common houseplant pest), and because there is no cure for the disease, farmers in California lost as much as 80% of their entire lettuce crops," Cutsumpas adds.

With such devastating losses, the demand for an already limited supply led to skyrocketing costs. "Wholesale boxes of greens jumped to more than three times their usual value," Cutsumpas explains. "Grocery retailers needed to adjust their prices accordingly, and we, the consumers, ended up paying more. Although this is an acute incident, our agricultural woes may continue to worsen as climate change threatens farmers as well, and we must find other ways to decentralize our food system to reduce our food dependency."

Read more at yahoo.com 

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