Almonds, Almond Milk, Large-scale Agriculture, and Bees

"A recent survey of commercial beekeepers showed that 50 billion bees – more than seven times the world’s human population – were wiped out in a few months during winter 2018-19. This is more than one-third of commercial US bee colonies, the highest number since the annual survey started in the mid-2000s.

“Beekeepers attributed the high mortality rate to pesticide exposure, diseases from parasites and habitat loss. However, environmentalists and organic beekeepers maintain that the real culprit is something more systemic: America’s reliance on industrial agriculture methods, especially those used by the almond industry, which demands a large-scale mechanization of one of nature’s most delicate natural processes.”


Damn it! Not my almond milk! I finally found a couple of brands in the store that are pure, sprouted, almond milk, no gums & fake vitamins. Now I have to feel conflicted over my granola. But we must save the bees. They die, we die.

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That’s the stark reality. It sucks, but the suckiness is irrelevant. If we don’t make significant changes in how we produce foods, and the foods we consume, things are going to get increasingly dire.


Plant-based milks: options and environmental impact.


Very informative article about alternative milks. I’ve always preferred soy but only the fresh kind you get from Viet or Chinese tofu shops.

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I’ve been defaulting to coconut for much of my cooking; I didn’t realize the issues surrounding it, though. Thinking I need to try more of the oat options (I tried two and didn’t care for them).

Confession: I’ve never had fresh soy milk - that’s now moved to my “gotta find” list. Any suggestions for places semi-accessible from Pasadena?

@ElsieDee, I like VP Tofu in Monterey Park. Cash-only though. @Chowseeker1999 has a thread about it but that is mostly about their tofu desserts. It is a tiny spot and looks very much hole-in-the-wall, but the employees there speak enough English that it’s never been a problem for my non-Asian husband whenever he’s been there. They have sweetened and unsweetened soy milk, in a variety of flavors: plain, pandan and black sesame. They also have them in different sizes too- 16 oz, half gallon, gallon. So you don’t have to commit to a huge size if you don’t like it :slight_smile: Since it doesn’t have preservatives it’s only fresh for a few days but I’ve kept it in my fridge for up to a week with no problem. Recommend going early especially on weekends because they do sell out.


I can foresee a venturing forth in the next week or two; thank you for the recommendation!

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Hmmm … homemade oat or hemp milk, anyone?


If you want sustainable almond milk, go to a farmers market, get almonds from a small organic farm, and make your own. It’s not difficult.

290 gallons of water to grow 1 lb of oats vs almost 2k gal for Almonds.

i guess we could make potato milk at 34 gal of water per lb

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There are sustainable oats, too. Some are green as fuck.

Totally showing my ignorance here, but I think oats are grown in areas where water is plentiful - but I need to do some reading. :slight_smile:

I mostly thought the information was interesting and thought provoking and don’t mean to imply I have any deeper knowledge.

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That’s absurdly misleading. The global average amount of water that’s used tells you nothing about the sustainability of a particular farm’s products.

They say figs require 401 gallons of water per pound, but the ones in my yard are dry-farmed. The only water they take is what we wash them with. Lots of small organic farms and ranches are totally sustainable.

But access to the foods produced by sustainable practices is a privilege not everyone has.

Financial constraints, proximity to venues where these foodstuffs are sold, accessible transportation, available time - and a myriad of other challenges have to be overcome by large segements of the population if they want to consume sustainably produced foods.

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In the long run, the alternative to sustainable food is starvation.

The problem is industrial agriculture that’s dependent on fossil fuels, mining groundwater, and other dead-end, unsustainable practices. Switching from almonds to oat milk won’t do anything about that.

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Also agree with the reality of industrial agricultural practices.

On an individual level, I agree. But collectively, if we all make changes to what we consume, we can effect some change.

Whether or not that’s enough to make a long-term difference, I don’t know. I think there needs to be a systemic change and don’t foresee that happening without a cataclysmic event (or series of them) - and even then, it will require a transformation throughout the food production process.

Climate change isn’t some future event: it’s now.


Indeed, but to fight industrial agriculture and promote sustainability you need to evaluate the specific products available to you. Going by global averages will lead you to make nonsensical choices.