5 Thanksgiving Foods that Climate Change is Impacting

Posted by Jolie Peters
(@Jolie Peters)

From food to fashion, nothing is safe against the impending doom of climate change – not even your Thanksgiving feast. If we don’t start taking serious action towards combatting climate change, here’s how it will effect your favorite holiday dinner. Spoiler alert: even the vino might not survive.


There are a few ways that climate change is effecting turkey production. For starters, most industrial farmed turkeys eat corn. Corn is unable to seed above 95 degrees, so if we continue to see temperatures rise, corn production will need to move north. That will be cause for heavy imports, and in turn, pricier birds.

Also, turkeys may not survive the heat even if we do get the corn concerns under control. The conditions in which turkeys are farmed are…well…pretty horrifying. They are packed into farming units with little ventilation. A recent study found that if temps continue to rise, poultry houses will exceed critical temperatures 30% of the time. That’s a huge issue.

Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Melted Butter and Green Onions

Sad news for spuds if we don’t get climate change under wraps. For starters, C02 emissions drastically effect the nutritional value of plants and vegetables. The emissions actually deplete nutritional minerals from the plant tissue, which means potatoes would be higher in sugar and starch.

Also, as rain becomes less-reliable, farmers will have an increasingly difficult time farming things like potatoes. What would Thanksgiving be without some spuds and gravy?!

Cranberry Sauce

The giant Cranberry bogs around Massachusetts and Wisconsin are wildly beautiful. When the crimson berries are ready for harvest, water floods the bogs and air inside the fruit forces it to rise to the surface. Sadly, we’re already seeing the effects of climate change on cranberry harvesting. Rising temps are causing dry spells, which is effecting the flooding that allows farmers to harvest the fruit. In turn, they’re forced to use even more water to irrigate the crops which poses another problem for the environment as well.


Without grapes, there is no wine. Without a constant climate, there are no grapes. Grapes are part of the plant group called perennials, which means that they are planted once and last for years. This type of plant is particularly vulnerable to changes in climate as it relies on a steady climate to thrive. When temperatures rise, the sugar in the fruit breaks down and the plant rots. We’re already seeing this occurrence in areas like Napa Valley that have seen a steady increase in temperatures and severe droughts.


While a variety of pie fillings could be effected by the climate, the biggest concern is currently about the pie’s crust. Wheat is being majorly impacted due to rising temperatures. A 2014 study by Stanford University found that by 2040 wheat yields across Europe could drop by more than 20%. An additional study from the UN recently showed that wheat yields have already started to slow down, which is a major problem considering our population is only growing. The Food Policy Research Institute warned that climate change could push the price of food staples up by 130% by 2050. That’s going to be one pricey pie.