The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is exploring issues and ideas that will help empower communities to build more equitable, sustainable food systems that improve people’s access to healthy, affordable food. This blog is part of a series that examines the impacts of climate change and how communities are addressing the challenges.
Climate change affects more than just the weather. Research shows it’s impacting our health, food supply, personal safety, housing and more. One example of this is the wildfires ravaging New Mexico, exacerbated by the climate change-related megadrought. Fires have burned more than 580,000 acres of land, including families’ homes, farms and communities. That’s almost twice the annual average, setting an historic record – before the wildfire season officially began in June. This event continues to threaten the health and livelihoods of thousands in the region.
Our food systems are especially affected. Climate change threatens our ability to grow food through droughts, floods and heat — and creates dangerous conditions for farm workers. When farms struggle, nutritious foods become less accessible and more expensive. This is detrimental to our overall health and well-being and raises the risk of hunger and obesity, which disproportionately affects people with low incomes and communities of color.
California, for example, is experiencing extreme drought due to the climate crisis, making water a scarce resource for residents and farms. These droughts have affected the state’s food production, and many farms are struggling to grow and provide food for their local communities and beyond. This ultimately influences the health of families and their children, particularly among Black, Latino, and Indigenous populations.