Climate Change and Future Harvest

Amanda Behrens, Future Harvest conference, 2015

“Most farmers I talk to don’t believe in ‘climate change,’” said Lester Vough, a forage specialist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Maryland. “But they do believe in ‘climate extremes.’”

Vough, who is known through Maryland as “the hay guy,” was speaking about how climate change is affecting farming, specifically the hay business. He was one of the guest speakers at Future Harvest CASA’s annual conference, presenting his observations in the “Environment, Community and Policy” track organized by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Read More >

Conference Envisions a Very Different Future Harvest

future-harvestThirty years ago, Bruce Springsteen wrote the lyric “from small things, mama, big things one day come.” In a sense, that was part of the message of Fred Kirschenmann’s keynote address at the 12th annual conference of Future Harvest-Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, although his address had more of a positive twist than the song.

By way of encouraging the small-scale farmers who made up about 75 percent of his Jan. 15 audience, Kirschenmann alluded to their farms as incubators for ideas that could become mainstreamed in the not-so-distant future.

“We are going to be moving toward a food system that looks like what a lot of you are doing on a small scale now,” said Kirschenmann, himself an organic farmer and rancher in North Dakota.

In making the point that innovation can be a collective endeavor, rather than the solitary pursuit of a rare genius, Kirschenmann referenced a book by Richard Ogle entitled “Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas“. The book introduces the notion of “idea spaces” as a launching pad for innovation. The author, Richard Ogle, describes an idea space as:

“A domain or world viewed from the perspective of the intelligence embedded in it, intelligence that we can use – consciously or not – both to solve our everyday problems and to make the creative leaps that lead to breakthrough.” Read More >