In the small scale farm, the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees. This fact makes the resilience-the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change-an essential feature, especially for small, young and beginning farmers. As on the west side extended drought and increased demand for good food and water, we have to keep asking what it takes to ensure our farms remain strong and prosperous.
Last weekend, NYFC the Valley Organic Growers Association (VOGA) and Farm Hack partnered to bring farmers, ranchers, defenders of the field, agricultural professionals and experts in water policy together in western Colorado for the first resistance to agricultural drought Hack “. drought building resilience in small-scale farm” the day began with a farm tour on Zephyros Farm in Paonia, CO and was followed by presentations by local professionals on topics as diverse as sustainable irrigation practices, climate variability and trends and policies surrounding the future of the-the main source of water in the Colorado River Basin in which we in the west depend.
The rest of the day was devoted to a discussion of the key elements for resilient dryland agriculture. Collaboration among Colorado farmers and ag industry professionals-confirmed that resistance, particularly in terms of water-will be essential to sustaining agriculture in the West. The consensus was that resistance includes not only innovative technology and management, but also greater social capital: networks stronger, more data sharing and storytelling and a broader community base on which to draw in times particularly difficult . This farm Hack showed that horizontal exchange of knowledge and information better thrives on community capacity to negotiate the challenges facing the production of healthy food and reinforces the need for the purposes for which all of us building the young farmer movement strive. From this, we have developed two online platforms, or Wikis: the first is a tool for generating new ideas about what is needed for agricultural recovery capability; Wiki second, the virtual “Coffee Shop” where farmers can share relevant data, on-farm practices and stories.
Sharing open source across the country-it is applicable not only in the West. If a room to 30 farmers and community professionals minded can generate realistic strategies for resilience, then a national community of farmers and allied engineering, architecture, design and marketing skills can be supported in their collective experience and ideas to collaborate and form guidelines resilience in agriculture.
Agriculture has always required resistance, but we are at a new crossroads with increasing variability. Dealing with these changes requires creativity and significant adjustment in practices on farms. Resiliency and make adjustments survive challenges are feasible tools learned. While these tools for learning resilience, but can also be shared.
As a young farmer, I understand the fear associated jump in agriculture for young people. Today, agriculture is an occupation fraught with uncertainty; between climate and market variability and a confused political arena, agriculture is a daunting occupation. Many young people are willing to work hard at your job, and small-scale farming makes sense, but no one wants to choose a job that promises financial difficulties and constant stress. The more we work for the open exchange of information available to young farmers exchange, greater uncertainty will be repaired for beginning farmers. Strengthening the collaborative exchange of information within our communities still give useful guidelines for resistance. Providing these guidelines strength will be a step to attract bright and ambitious young nation to assume the mission of raising healthy and sustainable food.
Kacey Kropp is the Regional Organization and Policy Intern for the National Young Farmers Coalition. He lives in Paonia, CO and farms in the garden of the third generation of his family, First Fruits Farms Organics.