Farmer Interview – Brien Darby, Cultivate KC
On February 21, New Roots for Refugees hosted climate resilience expert Laura Lengnick. The workshop was full of conversations and personal stories of how the changing climate affects farmers. Twelve farmers, both current participants and graduates of the New Roots for Refugees program, attended the workshop.
The opening demonstration was powerful. Farmer Ca Saw volunteered to sit in the center of the room representing the Earth. Laura explained how cars add CO2 to the atmosphere, so to demonstrate we wrapped our volunteer in a blanket. Then she explained natural gas and the energy that comes from burning coal which adds more CO2. We continued adding blanket after blanket while asking farmers if they had charged their phone or driven the tractor BCS which uses gasoline. Each activity that was named contributes to the warming of the Earth.
Like many others, the New Roots farmers have noticed the challenges brought on by the changing climate including heavy rain events, drought, heat waves in the summer, and a longer growing season which changes the lifecycles of pests and diseases. The disruption is real. The farmers must adapt if they are to be successful.
Near the end of the discussion, farmers were given a list of practices that protect their crops or help their farm adapt. Farmers made note of which strategies they currently use. Laura’s closing question was a persuasive ask of the farmers: What climate resilience practice will you try next?
To be resilient, farmers need an adaptable mindset. Building savings, having access to credit, learning from mistakes, and trying new practices are all valuable for resilience. A strong climate resilience plan means support from local and regional governments. Farmers can support each other and build a more resilient farming future together.
Laura provided the farmers with context for some of the toughest problems they’re facing and motivated us all to do better to build a better farm future. Adaptable land, adaptable farmer, and adaptable community; we have to do this together.