GLEANINGS: n. 1. That which has been acquired by gleaning. 2. The monthly eNewsletter of CT NOFA. [Glean:v. 1. to gather relevant information or material by patient effort, bit by bit; to find out. 2. to gather grain or other produce (often: left by reapers); to harvest.]
From the Executive Director
The CT NOFA community thanks those of you who have responded already. However, several thousand Gleanings readers haven't responded yet. We'd love to hear from you.
There has never been a better time to support our work for a strong local and organic food system and for organic land care. There is a great need for more farmers, more gardens, more healthy food, more healthy soil and greater understanding of the value of organic methods.
Although there are lots of reasons why organic methods and local food are important, the increasing evidence of climate change is an especially timely one. Organic soil management (to store carbon and hold water), diversifying crops and diets and encouraging biodiversity are all aspects of organic agriculture and land care that have been identified as important strategies for adapting to and mitigating climate change.
What do we know about climate change and Connecticut Agriculture?
The Agriculture Workgroup released its findings in early 2010. The results were summarized this way:
The 2010 Climate Impacts report found that changes in Connecticut's climate are anticipated to include:
What has happened since then?
Although we can't say definitively that these events were caused by climate change, all of them were likely made worse by the many effects of the heat trapping gases we've added to the atmosphere. These are the kinds of effects that scientists expect.
It seems prescient that the Agriculture Workgroup wrote two years ago: The top five most imperiled agricultural planning areas or features in Connecticut were maple syrup, dairy, warm weather produce, shellfish and apple and pear production.
Click here for the draft Connecticut Climate Change Preparedness Plan. The CT DEEP would be glad to have your comments. Agriculture is discussed on pages 30-40. There is a feature on Organic Agriculture on page 33-34.
If it were just our state that was affected by climate change, it would be one thing. However, some of these disasters were region wide. The flooding of near harvest crops from Storm Irene was much worse in Vermont and parts of New York than here. New York orchards were seriously impacted by this spring's freeze. Three million acres experienced production losses of 30 percent or more. Some lost 100 percent.
The national picture isn't a lot better.
If you'd like more in depth information about the future climate, I'd suggest these two books I read recently: Storms of my Grandchildren by James Hansen and The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet.
So far, at our farm, the growing season has been very productive, although the garlic harvest and ripe blackberries are earlier than usual.
I hope your growing season is going well and look forward to hearing from you.