Farmers Don’t Need to Read the Science: They are Living It

Farmers Don’t Need to Read the Science: They are Living It

“FIREBAUGH, Calif. — Many farmers probably haven’t read the new report from the United Nations warning of threats to the global food supply from climate change and land misuse. But we don’t need to read the science — we’re living it.

Here in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, there’s not much debate anymore that the climate is changing. The drought of recent years made it hard to ignore; we had limited surface water for irrigation, and the groundwater was so depleted that land sank right under our feet.

Temperatures in nearby Fresno rose to 100 degrees or above on 15 days last month, which was the hottest month worldwide on record, following the hottest June ever. (The previous July, temperatures reached at least 100 degrees on 26 consecutive days, surpassing the record of 22 days in 2005.) The heat is hard to ignore when you and your crew are trying to fix a broken tractor or harvest tomatoes under a blazing sun. As the world heats up, so do our soils, making it harder to get thirsty plants the water they need.

The valley’s characteristic winter tule fog is also disappearing, and winters are getting warmer. Yields of many stone fruits and nuts that feed the country are declining because the trees require cool winters and those fogs trap cool air in the valley. Warm winters also threaten the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides 30 percent of California’s water. We had a good wet winter this year, but a few years ago the snowpack was at its lowest level in 500 years. We also worry that last year’s record California wildfires, which blanketed the valley with smoke for weeks, might become the new normal. I don’t get sick much, but that summer I had a hard time breathing because of the congestion in my lungs.”

Read the rest of the article here!

Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day at the Rosmann Family Farm in Harlan

Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day at the Rosmann Family Farm in Harlan

I am looking forward to catching up with Resilient Agriculture farmers Ron and Maria Rosmann in just a few weeks.  Ron and Maria have invited me to open the field day by sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned from sustainable farmers and ranchers about how to cultivate climate resilience with sustainable and organic agriculture.  

I will share three simple lessons to help frame the field day events:

  1. Resilience is about more than bouncing back!  It is about design and management of systems to cultivate the capacity to avoid or reduce damage from disturbance.
  2. Resilience has regional roots!  What I mean by this is that “it takes a region to raise a resilient farm.”  We need each other – the producers and the eaters – to cultivate resilience.  No one farm can do it alone!

We already know enough to put us on the path to a resilient food future!  The Rosmann family, and many others like them all across the country, have been busy for the last 30 years bringing the future into being. This farm, and many others like it all across our country ARE THE FUTURE of food.  We don’t need any more research, any more studies, any new technologies – the future is already right here – you are standing in it.

Working Lands Offer Climate Solutions, No Matter Location

Working Lands Offer Climate Solutions, No Matter Location

“LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday the appointment of Los Angeles’ first forest officer, a position that will oversee urban forests in an effort to plant 90,000 trees by 2021.

“Every tree we plant can help stem the tide of the climate crisis, and when we expand our urban forest, we can sow the seeds of a healthier, more sustainable future for communities across our city,” Garcetti said.

The mayor appointed Rachel Malarich, a certified arborist, to the post.

According to the mayor’s office, Malarich has spent more than 12 years working to increase tree canopy in urban areas throughout Southern California, devising strategic management plans to expand urban forests and promoting community engagement.”

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