NRCS Conservation Programs Help KC Farmers Gain Climate Resilience
In early March, Cultivate KC brought a delegation of Kansas City-area farmers from both sides of the state line to participate in the Rally for Resilience, where farmers and advocates from across our country gathered to ask members of congress to make climate change policy a priority in the upcoming Farm Bill. The Rally took place at Freedom Plaza and was followed by a march to the US Capitol.
The audience of a few hundred farmers and supporters represented a diversity of farming styles and farmer backgrounds. While Cultivate’s delegation was sponsored by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, of which Cultivate KC is a member organization, attendance at the Rally represented the larger coalition of national and regional organizations requesting more attention be given to the growing climate crisis. Other themes on display at the Rally and the march were calls for immigration reform, environmental justice, protection of our soil and increased land access for marginalized populations.
The following day, rally attendees were encouraged to schedule meetings with their members of Congress to discuss the Farm Bill priorities. The delegation from Kansas City met with staff from 3 out of the 4 senators representing our two states and all the House members representing the Kansas City region. Representatives Sharice Davids (KS-3), Mark Alford (MO-4), and Tracey Mann (KS-1) as well as Senator Roger Marshall (KS) serve of their chamber’s respective agriculture committees. Additionally, Senator Jerry Moran (KS) serves on the Senate appropriations committee that oversees agriculture.
Farmers in the delegation included Lydia Nebel of the KC Farm School, Tom Ruggieri of Fair Share Farm, Ca Saw of Fresh Green Farm, Michael Pearl of Pearl Family Farm, and Alana Henry of Young Family Farm. Also in attendance was Cultivate KC’s executive director, Brien Darby.
Thoughts from some of the farmers in attendance:
“Listening to the the stories of the successes and struggles of small, urban and BIPOC farmers, community food system leaders, and other activists over the 3 days we were in DC was a true inspiration. Marching up Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol to make our voice heard through our democratic system was, and will remain, an empowering moment in my life. The guidance and leadership of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition made it all work, and is greatly appreciated.” -Tom Rugieri, Fair Share Farm
“I have been to White House and Capitol before. However, the importance of our visit might help shape the future and health of our planet in general, our soil and the people that choose to feed us. It was great to see our democracy in practice, to freely walk through the halls of Congress and being able to voice our stances and perspectives. To switch hats from farmer to advocate. God bless America and let’s take care of her.” -Michael Pearl, Pearl Family Farm
“My favorite part of the time in DC was being around so many farmers from around the country. I know everyone’s issues are important to them, but these farmers were out there demonstrating and advocating on behalf of every other person in our country and world! They have already given their lives to producing food and it was inspiring to see that they are also giving so much energy and effort to preserving our Earth and species. I have returned reignited to continue our good work.” -Lydia Nebel, KC Farm School