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Beyond the Orchard

The Most Efficient Place to Grow Almonds

California is one of the few places on earth with the Mediterranean climate needed to grow almonds. Others with suitable climates include the area around the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, South Africa and Chile.

California's climate is a major reason it produces nearly 80% 1 of the world’s almond supply. But California is also unique in other ways, including its rich soils, natural resources and infrastructure, and innovative research and technology. In addition to following federal regulations protecting workers, food safety and the environment, California farmers must also abide by stringent standards set by the state that further protect people and the planet.

California: The Ideal Place to Grow Almonds

All of these things together make California the most productive almond-growing region in the world. What’s more, California grows 400 different crops and produces more than 50% of the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Growing more than nutrition.

In addition its almond orchards, California is our home, too, and we’re committed to taking care of it. An acre of almond trees grows 450 pounds of protein, 260 pounds of fibre and “good” monounsaturated fats, which helps keep almond lovers energised and satisfied.2,3 But did you know almond orchards grow environmental benefits too?

Almond trees benefit air quality by capturing and storing carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas.3  They also produce oxygen and act as a natural filter, cleaning pollutants from the air, with measurable health benefits. Nationally, on average, an acre of trees is associated with $11 in annual averted health costs.4

What’s more, almond trees also grow coproducts—the hulls, shells and the trees themselves—that help reduce the carbon footprint of almond production. Traditionally used for dairy feed, livestock bedding and electricity generation, almond farmers are spurring innovation for higher-value and more sustainable uses, with promising research in the areas of recycled plastics, fuel, regenerative agriculture and more.

One of these new approaches, a concept pioneered by almond farmers, grinds up whole almond trees at the end of their productive lives and incorporates the wood back into the soil. Known as whole orchard recycling, this practice improves soil health, boosts water efficiency, increases yields and helps to address climate change by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Farms that use whole orchard recycling sequester 2.4 tons of carbon per hectare,5 equivalent to living car-free for a year for each acre of land.6

Defining Sustainability
Global Mediterranean Climates

1. International Nut and Dried Fruit Council.
2. USDA-ARS, NDL. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Version Current: September 2015, slightly revised May 2016.
3. Alissa Kendall, et al. A scalable and spatiotemporally resolved agricultural life cycle assessment of California almonds. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 2021.
4. David J. Nowak, et al. “Tree and Forest Effects on Air Quality and Human Health in the United States.”  Environmental Pollution. 193: 119-129. May 2014.

5. Emad Jahanzad, et al. Orchard recycling improves climate change adaptation and mitigation potential of almond production systems. PLoS ONE. March 2020.

6. Seth Wynes, et al. The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions. Environmental Research Letters. 2017.