As gardeners and environmentally conscious people, we try to lessen the impact in our own homes and gardens. We plant for the bees and butterflies and try to plant a few plants for the larva so they won’t eat our prize roses! A great idea is to visit your local markets to buy local produce and reduce the transport carbon footprint. However not everything grows here in southern Ontario and the more northern places and today we have access to food from around the world.
This brings me to my unintended consequences: monarch butterflies and avocados. What do monarch butterflies and avocados have in common? As most people know, monarchs make the epic migration down to the pine forests in central Mexico to overwinter and even breed. Often it is the next generation that comes back in the spring. Avocados have become one of the new “superfoods” to eat and consequently the demand has risen for avocados. A lot of our avocados come from Mexico where the farmers are cutting down the pine forests to grow avocado trees. Monarchs do not like avocado trees. They are losing their winter habitat and we are at risk of losing the monarchs. There are several articles on the internet now about this, for example: theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/high-demand-for-avocados-could-impact-monarch-butterflies/71057.
Farmers need to make a living too so let’s see if we can all work together to enable both farmers and wildlife to thrive and ensure there is food for all of us.
Think about this the next time you eat an exotic food. How did it get to your plate from thousands of miles away and what unintended consequences might it hold?