Farmers are on the frontlines of climate change

Reflection from farmer Ariana De Leña of Kamayan Farm; originally posted on Facebook 8/15/18

It’s hot and smoky and I feel so grumpy and sad about the state of the planet. I want to talk more about how farmers and farmworkers are on the frontlines of climate change and how we are the canaries in the proverbial coal mine. We generally have to work regardless of air quality, downpours, extreme heat because folks need food and we need to survive as farmers.

Farmers are so intricately linked to the weather; we see the shifts first, we notice and track changes year to year, and we have systems that have the ability to both improve and hurt the current climate disaster. I keep wondering how farmers are going to continue being mitigators of climate change - running around trying to solve new problems each year on top of all the regular challenges and surprises involved in farming - while constantly under financial pressure. How will we keep producing food and maintain our physical, mental, and emotional health? What about farmworkers who have even less agency over their working conditions and climate exposure?

… I want to show all the beauty and joy that comes with farming but I also think it needs to be balanced with the truth. The truth is that I love my job and want to do it for a long time and I question whether that’s possible for me if conditions continue to worsen. I want people to know how precious and sacred good food and healthy soil and vibrant forests and clean air and land workers are and I don’t think that can happen unless we talk about the links between them all.

Keep up with Ari & Kamayan Farm on Facebook & Instagram, attend an upcoming workshop, sign up for her CSA, or find her produce at the Rainier Beach Farm Stand and ROAR.

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