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Which foods may cost you more due to Calif. drought

April 16, 2014

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores, and to pay higher prices for those items. Professor Timothy Richards of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University recently completed some research on which crops will likely be most affected and what the price boosts might be.

“You’re probably going to see the biggest produce price increases on avocados, berries, broccoli, grapes, lettuce, melons, peppers, tomatoes and packaged salads,” says Richards, the Morrison Chair at the Morrison School of Agribusiness within the W. P. Carey School. “We can expect to see the biggest percentage jumps in prices for avocados and lettuce – 28 percent and 34 percent, respectively. People are the least price-sensitive when it comes to those items, and they’re more willing to pay what it takes to get them.” produce section in grocery store Download Full Image

Industry estimates range from a half-million to 1 million acres of agricultural land likely to be affected by the current California drought. Richards believes between 10 and 20 percent of the supply of certain crops could be lost, and California is the biggest national supplier of several of those crops. For avocados, the state is the only major domestic source.

Richards used retail-sales data from the Nielsen Perishables Group, an industry analytics and consulting firm, to estimate price elasticities – how much the prices might vary – for the fruit and vegetable crops most likely to be affected by the drought. Those most vulnerable are the crops that use the most water and simply won’t be grown, or those sensitive to reductions in irrigation.

He estimates the following possible price increases due to the drought:

• Avocados likely to go up 17 to 35 cents to as much as $1.60 each.
• Berries likely to rise 21 to 43 cents to as much as $3.46 per clamshell container.
• Broccoli likely to go up 20 to 40 cents to a possible $2.18 per pound.
• Grapes likely to rise 26 to 50 cents to a possible $2.93 per pound.
• Lettuce likely to rise 31 to 62 cents to as much as $2.44 per head.
• Packaged salad likely to go up 17 to 34 cents to a possible $3.03 per bag.
• Peppers likely to go up 18 to 35 cents to a possible $2.48 per pound.
• Tomatoes likely to rise 22 to 45 cents to a possible $2.84 per pound.

“We predict the increased prices will change consumer purchasing behavior,” says Sherry Frey, vice president of Nielsen Perishables Group. “We’ve identified certain consumers who will be more heavily affected by the price increases – for example, younger consumers of avocados. In addition, there is a larger department and store impact retailers will need to manage. While some consumers will pay the increased prices, others will substitute or leave the category completely. And, for a category like avocados, there are non-produce snacking categories, such as chips, crackers and ethnic grocery items, that will be negatively impacted.”

Richards adds, “One other thing for shoppers to understand – because prices are going to go up so much, retailers will start looking elsewhere for produce. This means we’ll see a lot more imports from places like Chile and Mexico, which may be an issue for certain grocery customers who want domestic fruit and vegetables.”

ASU Art Museum curator honored with ceramic education accolades

April 16, 2014

Peter Held, curator of ceramics for the ASU Art Museum’s Ceramics Research Center, was honored in March 2014 with two of the highest accolades possible within the field of ceramic education: the Smithsonian’s James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Educator Award and the National Council for Education on the Ceramic Arts Honorary Member Award.

The James Renwick Alliance presents the Distinguished Educator Award every other year, honoring up to five educators for their outstanding ability to increase awareness and appreciation for the history and traditions within the field of craft, a reputation for excellence and innovation in education, and for significant contributions to American education in the craft field. Held, along with fellow awardees Dan Dailey, Glen Kaufman and Patti Warashina, was honored at a special brunch event on March 30, in Washington, D.C., as part of the James Renwick Alliance’s 2014 Spring Craft Weekend. Peter Held (far left), ASU Art Museum curator of ceramics Download Full Image

The National Council for Education on the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) presents the Honorary Member Award to individuals who have made an outstanding life-long contribution to the professional development of the ceramic arts in accordance with criteria established by the council's board of directors. Both Held and artist Richard Notkin were presented with the award at the 48th Annual NCECA Conference in Milwaukee, Wisc., March 19-22.

Held received his bachelor’s degree in studio art from the State University of New York at Brockport. Upon graduation, he moved to Helena, Mont., to become a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts (1974-1976). He later completed a master’s degree in museum administration at Oregon State University and interned at the Portland Art Museum in the Asian Art Department.

In 1994, Held returned to Helena to serve as executive director and curator of the Holter Museum of Art, where he successfully led a $2.3 million capital and endowment campaign. Since 2003, he has been curator of ceramics at the Ceramics Research Center.

Held has curated over 100 exhibitions, including seven national traveling ceramic shows, has authored numerous articles on contemporary art and crafts, and is the editor and essayist of 10 books.

The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center and Peter Held received the 2007 CLAY Award (Ceramic Lifetime Achievement Award) from the Friends of Contemporary Ceramics, the leading organization of ceramic collectors, art dealers and curators in the United States. The award is given for lifetime achievement in advancing the field.

“(Held has done) more for ceramics and its scholarship, more for securing legacy for our major players, more for our recent history, than anyone else in our field, but does so without fanfare,” said Garth Clark, 2001 recipient of the NCECA Honorary Member Award, in a statement nominating Held for the NCECA award.

ASU School of Art faculty member Susan Beiner, who also nominated Held for the NCECA award, praises not only Held’s exemplary contributions to the field of ceramics, but also his contributions to ASU: “He is supportive for all the students interested in ceramics as our programs work side by side offering each other assistance whenever needed. Whether a visiting artist, graduate student public lecture or a student internship, (Held) offers his opinion and guidance to the situation.”

Countless other leaders within the field also speak highly of Held’s career and achievements:

“I count (Held) as among the leaders in curators and authors of contemporary ceramic art,” praises ceramic artist Richard Notkin. “He possesses an extensive knowledge of historical and contemporary art (and is nationally recognized as an expert in contemporary American ceramic art), tremendous enthusiasm and intelligence, and a strong personal commitment (to the field) … Held’s reputation among his colleagues and contemporaries (is) that of a highly dedicated and generous individual.”

"Held is a brilliant curator,” says Gordon Knox, ASU Art Museum director. “He is a sensitive and insightful scholar of contemporary crafts. He is also an institution-builder, creating a solid network of support for the Ceramics Research Center. But first and foremost, he is an educator. Everything he does – from exhibitions, to research, to institutional advancement – ensures the ongoing engagement of the next generation in the glorious tradition and unexpected innovations of the field.

“That these august institutions are recognizing Held for his role as educator is timely,” Knox adds. “His greatest contribution to the field is seen in the careers of the scores of energetic young artists and curators inspired by his vision, informed by his knowledge and empowered by their engagement with crafts through Held’s guidance."


Juno Schaser,
Public Relations | ASU Art Museum
Deborah Sussman Susser

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts