Resilient Agriculture: Planning for Climate Change

by: EJ on 05/28/2015

Climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the productivity and profitability of agriculture in North America. More variable weather, drought and flooding create the most obvious damage, but hot summer nights, warmer winters, longer growing seasons and other environmental changes have more subtle but far-reaching effects on plant and livestock growth and development.  Laura Lengnick's new book, Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems in a Changing World, explores the challenges of managing crops and livestock in a changing climate.  Drawing on the personal experience of award-winning farmers from across North America, Resilient Agriculture combines the latest science on climate risk, resilience and climate change adaptation with the personal experience of farmers and ranchers. 

Laura Lengnick has been actively exploring the community-enhancing potential of agriculture and food systems for more than 30 years. Through her work as a researcher, policymaker, activist, educator and farmer, she has gained the expertise necessary to better understand what it takes to move sustainability values into action at every level.  Laura has been nationally recognized for her work with a USDA Secretary’s Honor Award, and she contributed to the 3rd National Climate Assessment as a lead author of the report Climate Change and U.S. Agriculture: Effects and Adaptation. She directs the academic program in sustainable agriculture at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, and spends much of her free time growing food using biointensive and permaculture methods.

Laura is also sharing her knowledge through the Climate Listening Project, a storytelling platform for conversations about climate change resilience.  You can  learn more in the following video.



As we start to change the weather, resilience will become a watchword for farmers, as this fine book demonstrates. It's strong advice--and it reinforces the essential truth, which is that we must keep climate from changing too much--because there's nothing even the best farmer can do to cope with a truly overheated planet. --- Bill McKibben, author, Deep Economy

Food Tank, an organization that focuses on sharing innovative ideas for creating a sustainable food system, pointed out in their blog this week how vulnerable our food system is. "Farmers depend on just a handful of crop varieties: according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), approximately half of farmland—more than 60 million hectares, or 150 million acres—in the U.S. is planted with corn or soy. This lack of diversity limits farmers’ ability to adapt to varying weather patterns and climate change."

Laura Lengnick's Resilient Agriculture, addresses this and several other climate change issues facing farmers today. 



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