Climate change poses a real threat to farmers around the world. Agriculture is highly dependent on good weather, including high and low temperatures, rainfall, wind intensity, and many other variables. Estimates show that climate change might reduce global agriculture productivity by 17% by 2050.
Three sites were selected for continued field research into growing industrial hemp in North Carolina for 2019. Set in the rolling hills of Anson County, near Charlotte, hemp is a potential boon to a place where commodity crops and forestry are four of the top five industries. Certified hemp seed was drilled onto plots of seven acres, four acres, and nine acres, at a rate of 100 pounds per acre.
Clearly, mainstream meat production needs much improvement. But this is precisely why faux meats are such a distraction. They get people like Bill Gates and other techies all excited. This siphons the energy, media attention and money away from the work that really needs to be done to fix agriculture. We need all hands on deck to transform mainstream agriculture from extractive to regenerative.
Gardeners new to the concept of carbon gardening often ask these two questions: What good soil management strategies will help maximize carbon sequestration? And, what would be a good plant palette to help accomplish this? Good questions both, to which I wish I could give detailed, specific answers.
Encouraged by the Federal legalization of hemp in 2018, Fibershed has continued research into the versatile crop this year, deepening understanding of the plant and the fiber, prototyping hemp textile production in Northern California, supporting agroecological trials, and charting a path forward for weaving hemp into the region.
This year, my summer favorites like tomatoes, bell peppers, winter squash and cucumbers failed badly. This begs the question: What survives a drought? What thrives when the pasture grasses are baking and the thermometer sits at a hundred day after day?
In 1989, she brought naturally colored cotton back to the market. The iconic image of a white cotton ball had become pervasive. Yet Sally Fox had been looking at ancient, pest-resistant (by nature) varieties that came in shades of the Earth like greens and browns.
Neighborhood groups, business improvement associations, and unions can adopt policy. Universities can adopt policies to buy local and sustainable food. The power of public and para-public purses is more widely available than ever before. As well, the talents of citizens for self government and leadership are higher than ever before. We need to look ahead to a world of policy partnerships.
We often talk about how important it is to see the ‘whole system’ – to understand more fully the relationships and interdependencies in the world. Our own work – across food, farming and countryside, public health and wellbeing, economics and rural development – seeks to illuminate the links.
What we must not forget amid the reams of policy briefings and papers, is that rural economies are not an abstract concept, but a mosaic of real people, places and passions that drive creativity and entrepreneurship. Here are two such stories of the many remarkable everyday tales of rural economy folk.
The Democratic primary debate on 27th June was probably the first time that soil management — as climate policy — was ever mentioned at a primetime Presidential campaign event. It was also one of the first tangible mentions of farm policy in two nights of debates.
As farmer and Christian writer Wendell Berry made it clear in ‘The Pleasures of Eating’, most of us eat in great ignorance today. Faith and food have become, literally, like water and oil.