Why we avoid Almonds at Birds and Beans

It might be impossible to always eat ethically, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try - National Post

"[Almonds] are also contributing to drought problems in California. Eighty per cent of the world’s almond supply comes from the state experiencing its worst drought on record. A report published by The Watershed Agricultural Council found that a single almond takes 1.1 gallons of water to produce. [...] California almond farmers are drilling thousands of feet down into aquifers to pump out water, threatening critical infrastructure like bridges, roads and irrigation canals, and even potentially triggering earthquakes." ~ National Post

We consider a lot of factors when choosing our products.  Being committed to health, community and sustainability requires balancing of many factors.  

We were pleased to see 2 recent articles (Toronto Star, and National Post) addressing decision making with more sophistication than considering a single factor.  

For example, is it better to purchase organic produce that has travelled a thousand miles and is packaged in clamshell plastic than it is to purchase uncertified product from a farmers market?  

Off hand, I don't know.  I would have to balance the factors and make a decision.  In my view, it is more meaningful to go through the process of weighing the factors than it is to "get the right answer".  Strengthening our ability to make fuzzy assessments with contrary impacts is itself meaningful.

So for me, there is no right and wrong.  There is trying and not trying. 

In our trying, we have chosen to remove our organic almonds from our baking.  We have replaced them with conventional hazelnuts.  

California's Drought May Be Worst in a Millennium ~ Scientific American

"Their analysis showed that a number of other droughts in California's history had less precipitation than the one the state is currently experiencing. However, the most recent drought stood out because of how exceptionally hot it was compared to other droughts over the past 1,200 years." ~ Scientific American

Why? Because we believe that the drought in California, where 80% of the worlds almonds are grown, is a factor that should be weighted very heavily.  

As for conventional hazelnuts, there is much to their credit. We prefer their flavour!  They are amazing in our breakfast cookie. 

Hazelnuts are native to Canada and grow here in Southern Ontario.  We have one in our garden at home (hey!  Maybe we should add one to our café garden!).  They offer Ontario growers a specialty crop that can reduce dependence on the forces of "Big Food". While most hazelnuts are grown in Turkey, market pressures are increasing demand for Ontario hazelnuts.  We are now part of that pressure.

And the health and nutritional benefits of hazelnuts rivals those of almonds.

So that's it!  We are off almonds and on hazelnuts.  Check our ingredient lists for them at the café.

One Reply to “Why we avoid Almonds at Birds and Beans”

  1. In this post, the author chooses to return to milk from almond milk “an industrially-processed food with one especially concerning additive: carrageenan”. And “Of course, not all milk is created equal. I don’t consider cheap milk from sad cows on industrial farms the better alternative. Instead, I seek out the best-quality milk I can find, from local sources when possible.” IMO it is about weighing the factors and making a judgment. http://www.thekitchn.com/why-i-stopped-drinking-almond-milk-started-drinking-regular-milk-again-197085

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