did you know?
23 almonds=one serving
each with a sustainable story to tell
grow what you know about almonds
Click here to download a printable version.
Want to learn more or have questions? Contact the Almond Board for more information.
1 What defines California Almond sustainability? Sustainable almond farming utilizes production practices that are economically viable and are based upon scientific research, common sense and a respect for the environment, neighbors and employees. The result is a plentiful, nutritious, safe food product.
The California Almond community has invested more than $60 million to build a foundation of research on environmental, production and other issues to continually evolve best practices and support almond sustainability1. This has resulted in an abundance of knowledge about best practices and continual improvement as an industry.
Explore the categories above to learn more about the Almond Board?s legacy of research investment and continued commitment to innovation.
1What defines California Almond sustainability? Sustainable almond farming utilizes production practices that are economically viable and are based upon scientific research, common sense and a respect for the environment, neighbors and employees. The result is a plentiful, nutritious, safe food product.
Bee Health & Pollination
Did you know that one-third of global food production relies on pollinators and over 90 crops are pollinated by commercial honey bees?1 Almonds are one of them.
Unlike some plants, almond trees are not self-pollinating, so they need some extra help to fertilize flowers and start the process of growing almonds. Honey bees provide the essential link from one blossom to another.
While investigating best pollination conditions and practices have been part of the Almond Board of California?s (ABC) research program since nearly its inception, honey bee health research became an area of focus in 1995, with nearly 100 honey bee health research projects funded to date. Of the $2.8 million the California almond industry has invested in pollination research, nearly $2 million of it has directly focused on improving honey bee health.
The findings of this research have helped inform best management practices that almond growers employ to protect honey bees both during the pollination season and beyond. With this research commitment and constant improvement of in-orchard practices, the California almond community is contributing to the sustainability of this vital pollinator ? not just to benefit almonds, but food security worldwide.
Beyond the Almond Board's ongoing commitment to research and extension, ABC partners with and participates in several local, national, and international organizations and agencies committed to honey bee health, some of which are listed below.
To learn more about the mutually beneficial relationship between bees and almonds as well as the Almond industry?s commitment to honey bee health, click here.
Tree & Soil Health
Almond growers carefully manage nutrients and pests in their orchards to balance yield and quality goals while protecting surrounding ecosystems, the natural environment, and human health.
California Almond growers accomplish this balance by using research-based and university developed Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. The California Almond industry has been honored twice for its IPM initiatives by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the agency?s Environmental Stewardship Program award, as well as twice by the California Environmental Protection Agency Department of Pesticide Regulation.
To ensure that orchards and the soil they grow in have the nutrients available to thrive, growers make certain the right minerals are available at for the trees to use exactly when and where they are needed. A new online tool developed based on Almond Board-funded research helps growers make nutrient management decisions that benefit both yields and the environment.
Click here to learn more about the commitment of California Almond growers to sustainability1 and environmental stewardship.
Almonds are unique in so many ways, except one: the amount of water they use.
Fact is most fruit and nut trees in California use about the same amounts of water1. But what's extraordinary is what almond growers here in California are doing to increase water efficiency.
Fueled by decades of funding on irrigation research, almond growers have been early adopters of efficient micro-irrigation. It's far above the average reported for California irrigation methods with 70 percent of almond growers using next-generation micro-irrigation systems and more than 80 percent monitoring to irrigate based on the needs of the trees, rather than a pre-determined schedule.2
The Almond Board also funds water quality research which studies water quality standards to ensure both a healthy tree and a healthful crop as well as best orchard management practices to prevent adverse impacts on the quality of local water resources.
This research has led to improvements in farming practices including advanced irrigation systems and irrigation decision support tools, among others. While there's more work to do, the California Almond industry remains focused on this issue and will continue to invest in research to further improve water efficiency and water quality, using research-based practices and strategies to best manage this vital natural resource.
Want to learn more about almonds and water? Click here.
California has some of the strictest air quality standards in the nation so it makes sense that the California Almond industry has been funding research in this area since nearly the inception of the Almond Board's research programs over 40 years ago.1
Initially focused on a specific production practice, research in this area has expanded to address local, regional, and global air quality impacts ranging from particulate pollution to greenhouse gases. Air quality is an area closely linked to many other sections of the Almond Sustainability Ecosystem. By optimizing practices through research-based innovation in pest, nutrient, water and soil management, growers and processors can reduce air quality impacts and provide economic benefits by lowering costs for inputs.
Significant cost savings can result from less reliance on natural resources and implementation of practices that protect air quality. These practices help protect both environmental and human health.
Between the power of the sun that grows each tree, the energy and fuel needed to operate on-farm and processing equipment, and the electricity produced through grower and processor solar panels, energy is an important part of the California Almond industry ? and something growers and processors strive to use efficiently.
But not only do California almond growers and processors use energy ? they create energy too. You?ll learn in the Coproducts section that nothing grown by the almond tree goes to waste ? tree included! In addition to almond shells, when their productive life is over after 25 years, whole almond trees are removed from the orchard, ground up, and sent to cogeneration facilities where they create alternative energy.
Almond trees grow more than just almonds. Besides the kernels we love to eat, almond hulls are valuable livestock feed, reducing the amount of land and water that would otherwise be used to grow other feed crops. In fact, in Stanislaus County, almond hulls rank in the top 10 most valuable crops.1 Almond shells are ground up and used as livestock bedding and to create alternative energy in cogeneration plants.
Beyond the fruit they grow, almond trees themselves are a coproduct. Orchard prunings (tree wood, bark, clippings and other materials) are composted, re-integrated into the soil, or used for cogeneration. At the end of an orchard's productive life, the wood from the trees are used for energy generation and more.
A subject of years of Almond Board-funded research, the utilization of almond coproducts continues to be an important component of the overall sustainability2 of almonds, and results of that research help almond growers and processors make certain nothing goes to waste. To find out more about the different parts of the almond fruit ? the almond kernel, hull and shell ? click here.
Quality & Safety
Food safety practices are continuously evolving to ensure almonds are produced in a safe, responsible manner. The almond food supply chain covers practices spanning from growers and handlers to processing, packaging and sales. Specifically, the Almond Board regularly educates growers and handlers on research-based Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in our orchards and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) in our processing facilities.
California Almond growers produce virtually 100% of the United States? supply of almonds, making the U.S. the single largest market for almonds grown in California1. Almond growers and processors take great pride in providing a wholesome and safe food for consumers in the U.S. and around the world to enjoy, which is why it has never been more important for the industry to be doing everything possible to have a state-of-the-art food safety system in place. In fact, every few months, through food recalls not related to almonds, we are reminded of the importance of a solid food safety program.
To learn more about almonds and food safety, click here.
Health & Wellness
There's power in the crunch of almonds, with 6 grams of energy giving protein, 4 grams of hunger-slaying fiber and essential nutrients in every heart-healthy handful.1 Ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin. They're also an excellent source of magnesium.
FIBER & PROTEIN
Fiber and protein can help provide that satisfied feeling everyone wants after a meal or snack. Ounce for ounce, almonds contain more dietary fiber (4 grams per ounce) and protein (6 grams per ounce) than any other tree nut.2
As part of a healthy diet, heart-smart, nutrient-rich almonds help maintain your weight and healthy cholesterol levels. One serving of almonds contains 13 grams of unsaturated fat and only one gram of saturated fat.
Almonds are one of the highest dietary sources of magnesium (76 mg/oz.), and also are an important plant-based source of important minerals like calcium (75 mg/oz.) and potassium (200 mg/oz.). Naturally gluten- and dairy-free, almonds and almond products deliciously fill in nutrient gaps that can be left by specific dietary needs.
The FDA says, "scientific evidences suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease."
Want to know more? Click here to learn All About Almonds.
In addition to the economic contributions of the California almond community both in the form of jobs and gross revenue, almond growers and processors are part of the fabric of their local communities. Not only do they provide direct and indirect employment, they support local schools, businesses, and civic and religious organizations.
Beyond direct contributions and engagement, the California Almond community?s ongoing commitment to research and innovation continues to benefit local communities by improving farming and processing practices that minimize impacts on neighbors and the environment.
Things like the Almond Board?s California Almond Sustainability Program and collaboration with the Coalition for Urban and Rural Environmental Stewardship give almond growers and processors tools that can support a healthy crop while protecting people and the environment.
Want to learn more about the value California Almonds provide to their local communities? Click here.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is about ensuring that people, profit and the planet are all considered while conducting daily business. A definition of sustainability specific to almonds based on this basic definition was developed with almond growers and handlers in 2005, and subsequently adopted by the Board of Directors of the Almond Board of California. It reads: Sustainable almond farming utilizes production practices that are economically viable and are based upon scientific research, common sense and a respect for the environment, neighbors and employees. The result is a plentiful, nutritious and safe food product.
Growing Up Sustainable
Whether it's reducing the amount of water needed to grow almonds or investing in clean energy and production practices to reduce our carbon footprint, almond growers and processors use a variety of research-based tools and strategies to ensure an environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible future for California agriculture.
When it comes to following sustainable1 agricultural practices, California almond growers and processors continuously challenge themselves to do more. One of the most important tools available to the California almond community is the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP).
CASP was established in 2009 to both educate participants about sustainable practices and continuous improvement as well as better understand the ongoing sustainability practices of growers related to the following aspects in their operations:
- Ecosystem Management
- Workplace and Communities
- Financial Management
In addition to collecting data related to the areas above, CASP analyzes the practices used to grow almonds for their relative impact on the environment in combination with economics. This value analysis has helped the California almond community identify which of the many practices have the greatest environmental and economic impact while helping inform future research areas and projects.
Click here to learn more about the California almond community's commitment to innovation and sustainability.
Assessments & Partnerships
Environmental Assessment Growing Almonds
While there are different ways that the environmental impacts of growing almonds, or any human activity, can be assessed, one comprehensive and holistic approach is a life cycle assessment.
Funded in part by the Almond Board of California and recently published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, an almond life cycle assessment (LCA) evaluated energy and greenhouse gases over an almond orchard?s productive life, comprehensively examining the many interrelated elements, from land preparation and planting the tree through the life of the tree and its eventual removal. The first of three phases of life cycle assessments, this research will be followed by similar studies about processing and consuming almonds.
This independent LCA study was carried out by University of California, Davis researchers and shows that almond trees accumulate and store significant amounts of greenhouse gas over the course of their 25-year life cycle.
Additionally, it showed that re-using byproducts from producing and harvesting almonds is key to the industry's environmental impact and further reducing carbon emissions. Should policy changes and production advances work hand in hand, the California Almond industry has the potential to be carbon neutral or even carbon negative with respect to greenhouse gases.
The research demonstrates the benefits of almond orchards capturing carbon in the soil. "Almond orchards capture and store a significant amount of carbon both above and below the surface over their 25-year life cycle. This carbon storage provides a climate benefit not considered in conventional carbon footprints," said study co-author Dr. Alissa Kendall, UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Click here to learn more.
Environmental Assessment Processing Almonds
The Almond Board is currently funding the second phase of the almond life cycle assessment (LCA) research with UC Davis researchers, who will explore the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions beyond the farm. This will include processing activities such as blanching, roasting, packaging, and transport.
Stay tuned to learn more about this exciting new project.
Environmental & Nutritional
Assessment Eating Almonds
To truly understand the interrelated elements of all aspects of California Almonds, future research on the third phase of almond life cycle assessment (LCA) will address the health effects of eating almonds with particular attention to heart health.