Helping farms become more resilient to the impacts of climate change—like the record wet spring most farmers experienced this year—will be the focus of a keynote address by long-time researcher, policy-maker, and educator Laura Lengnick at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 41st annual conference, A Climate for Change, this February in Dayton, Ohio.
In her Friday, February 14 keynote address, “Climate Change, Resilience, and the Future of Food,” Lengnick will explore the ways in which sustainable agriculture principles like soil health, biodiversity, and community-based cooperative networks can enhance the resilience of agricultural businesses and the communities they serve. She’ll also share examples of how award-winning farmers and ranchers growing food across the U.S. are using resilience thinking to thrive in these challenging times.
Lengnick will also lead two 90-minutes workshops, “Is Your Land Climate-Ready?” on Friday, February 14 and “Climate-Resilient Grain Production” on Saturday, February 15.
“The evidence is clear: the way that we eat is fueling a climate crisis that threatens our way of life. Although agriculture contributes to climate change, it can also be a source of solutions,” said Lengnick.
“Sustainable and organic agriculture principles promote farm and food system resilience by reducing production risks and increasing profitability,” Lengnick wrote. “For example, healthy soil buffers the damaging effects of more variable precipitation and extreme rainfall on crops and livestock, reduces input costs, and increases product quality. Diversified production systems, especially those that integrate crops and livestock, spread production risk across a diversity of enterprises throughout the growing season.”
“And these days,” Lengnick adds, “everyone is waking up to the potential for sustainable agriculture to cultivate resilience by slowing down climate change with practices that reduce the production of greenhouse gas emissions and promote biological carbon sequestration.”
Lengnick’s scientific and popular articles about climate change, resilience, and the future of food have been published in regional, national, and international publications. Her award-winning book, Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate, explores the practical realities of climate risk management through the adaptation stories of some of America’s best farmers and ranchers. She also contributed to the 3rd National Climate Assessment as a lead author of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report Climate Change and U.S. Agriculture: Effects and Adaptation. Lengnick is currently at work updating Resilient Agriculture for the 2nd edition scheduled for publication next fall. She is also conducting research for a new book about practical resilience thinking tools for small business.
Lengnick is founder and principal at Cultivating Resilience, an Asheville, North Carolina-based private consulting firm that works with organizations of all kinds to integrate resilience thinking into operations, assessment, and strategic planning. Over the past few years, Cultivating Resilience has developed a climate-literate certification for the National Extension Program, explored the potential for climate-resilient agriculture in New York’s Hudson Valley, worked with local and state food policy councils to assess programs and policies, contributed to statewide climate resilience planning in North Carolina, and led concept design and project planning for resilient community development in North and South Carolina.
Lengnick is a Fellow at the Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, is the lead Resilience Partner for Foragable Community, and serves as an advisor to the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance.
Trained as a soil scientist, her research in soil quality and sustainable agriculture systems at the Beltsville Agriculture Research Center in Maryland was nationally recognized with a USDA Secretary’s Honor Award. Lengnick has experience working as a U.S. Senate staffer and on the USDA National Programs staff, and she led the academic program in sustainable agriculture at Warren Wilson College for more than a decade, where she also served as the Director of Sustainability Education.
OEFFA’s 41st annual conference, February 13-15 at the Dayton Convention Center, will also feature keynote speaker Eric Holt-Giménez; more than 70 educational workshops; three full-day Food and Farm School classes on February 13; a three-day trade show; evening entertainment; activities for children; locally-sourced meals; a raffle; book sales and signings, and more.
A limited number of scholarships are available to persons of color, beginning farmers, livestock and poultry farmers, and Columbus area farmers, along with reduced rate volunteer spaces. For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2020.