April 08, 2023
In the Media

CBS News spoke to postdoctoral researcher Sreedevi Rajagopalan, of the LIFT Lab at MIT CTL, about the impact that extreme weather in California will likely have on food prices this year.

Thanks to devastating storms in California this winter, shoppers everywhere will be paying higher prices on groceries this spring and summer.

At least 16 atmospheric rivers unloaded torrential rain and wind on California between December and March, flooding the state's growing region and affecting strawberries, lettuce, broccoli, cherries, tomatoes and more.

It is illegal in California to harvest flooded farmland because floodwaters can bring dangerous bacteria or contamination — as a result, some farmers have to abandon their crops. Less produce to harvest will drive prices up in late spring and summer, and possibly for the rest of the year, Sreedevi Rajagopalan, a postdoctoral researcher studying supply chains at MIT, told CBS News.

"For the farmers, this catastrophe hit at the worst possible time," Rajagopalan said.