Cultivating Resilience, LLC works with organizations of all kinds to integrate resilience thinking into assessment, operations and strategic planning. We offer education, coaching and consulting services to leaders in business, government, academics, and community-based advocacy and work with clients to co-create effective climate risk and resilience management tools tailored to organizational needs. Our founder and owner, Laura Lengnick, draws on more than 15 years of practical experience applying social-ecological resilience science to help organizations navigate these challenging times.
Laura Lengnick, Founder and Principal
Laura Lengnick has explored agricultural and food system sustainability through 30 years of work as a federal researcher, policy-maker, adult educator, private consultant, community activist and farmer to understand what it takes to move sustainability values into action on the farm, in community and as a nation.
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Trained as a soil scientist, her innovative leadership in soil health and sustainable agriculture systems research at the Beltsville Agriculture Research Center in Maryland was nationally recognized with a USDA Secretary’s Honor Award in 2002.
Laura has broad federal policy expertise gained through work as a U.S. Senate staffer, a USDA-ARS researcher, and a lobbyist advocating for sustainable agriculture in the U.S. Congress. She has owned and managed organic vegetable operations marketed through community supported agriculture and farmers’ markets in Tidewater Virginia and in western North Carolina. She has a long history of leading effective collaborations in community-based research, education and advocacy for sustainable food and farming and the application of social-ecological resilience theory to climate risk management and resilience planning in service to a just transformation of U.S. food and farming.
Laura is the owner and principal consultant at Cultivating Resilience, LLC, a private firm that works with organizations of all kinds to integrate climate risk management and resilience thinking into operations and strategic planning. She has led federal, state and local climate resilience research and planning projects exploring agricultural climate solutions, conducted resilience assessments and developed carbon management plans for small- and mid-sized businesses, and designed and delivered climate risk management workshops tailored to diverse audiences throughout North America. Laura has served as an advisor to the National Cooperative Extension’s Climate Science Learning Network, the Vermont Food Network, the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance.
In 2021, Laura joined the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming as the Director of Agriculture. She works with the entire Glynwood team to ensure that Glynwood’s farmer training and regional food programs promote best practices in climate-smart agriculture and leads Glynwood collaborations with regional, national and international organizations to develop climate solutions in regional food and farming that enhance community resilience.
Laura’s scientific and popular articles about climate change, resilience and the future of food have been included in regional, national, and international publications. The second edition of her award-winning book, Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate (New Society Publishers, 2022), examines climate change, resilience and the future of food through the adaptation stories of more than 40 leading sustainable, organic, regenerative and climate-smart farmers and ranchers growing food throughout the U.S.
When Resilient Agriculture was published in 2015, it was the first, and is still the only book to apply social-ecological resilience theory to climate risk management in U.S. food and farming systems. Resilient Agriculture was included in Food Tank’s 15 Favorite Food Books of 2015 and was nominated for the Southern Writers Award in 2015 and for the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Excellence in Journalism Award in 2016. Resilient Agriculture was one of just twelve books selected for Yale Climate Connections’ “Climate Changing the Menu” bookshelf in 2016.
Prior to founding Cultivating Resilience, LLC, Laura led the Sustainable Agriculture Program at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, where she also served as the Director of Sustainability Education, conducted research in sustainability assessment and holistic management, facilitated student-led energy descent action planning, provided technical assistance to campus farm and food service managers, mentored capstone student research, and led the development of an innovative sustainable dining policy for the college.
In her free time, Laura enjoys working on her 2 acre biointensive mini-farm tucked away in a lovely south-facing cove in the Swannanoa Valley near Asheville, NC. She delights in singing classic swing, is an accomplished traditional dance fiddler, and regularly performs at dances and private events in the Asheville region and beyond.
Collaborators and Associates
Produced Cultivating Resilience, a series of videos sharing hopeful conversations on agricultural climate solutions featuring farmers who contributed to the first edition of Resilient Agriculture (2015). Learn More
Peyton Siler Jones
Produced Bridging the Divide, a short film designed to invite open and honest conversations about climate change among disengaged, doubtful and dismissive Americans (2016). Learn More
Facilitated dynamic governance decision-making for Resilience Women Asheville, a project designed to offer women leaders 50 years or older an opportunity to support organizations, projects and programs cultivating resilience in the Asheville area through collaborative grant-making (2017). Learn More
Conducted a market feasibility study for Carbon Harvest, an innovative carbon services provider offering carbon management services to land managers, businesses and individuals wishing to promote a cooperative carbon market in the Southern Appalachian region (2019). Learn More
Developed plain language climate-resilient gardening lessons designed to support literacy programs offered by Seed Programs International partners in more than 70 countries worldwide (2020).
Consulted on the design of community-based narrative engagements to document perspectives on climate change vulnerability and resilience in support of the Asheville Climate Justice Initiative (2021).
Created a resilient development checklist for use by affordable housing developers and general contractors that integrates best practice options for Wellness Lifestyle and nature-based designs, construction waste reduction, climate resilience, and LEED, SITES and RELi certifications (2021). Learn More
Designed and managed marketing and investor relations to support the launch of Carbon Harvest, an innovative carbon services company promoting a cooperative carbon market serving Southern Appalachia (2022). Learn More