Farmers across the North Central region are already experiencing production, marketing, and management challenges due to climate change. In Kansas City, yields and weather have become less predictable, pests and diseases have become more prevalent, and farm business management and planning have thus become more challenging.
Cultivate KC is dedicated to ensuring that growers have the skills and access to resources needed to start and maintain sustainable farm businesses. Climate change is a threat to farm businesses and the food industry, as well as to society at large. We need to start educating our farmers to be prepared, adaptive, and resilient with the coming changes to our environment. While some resources on climate change effects and adaptations are available, much of this information is overly complex and inaccessible to non-native English speakers.
Cultivate KC is seeking funding for three years to educate and train current and graduate refugee farmers in our farm business incubation program, New Roots for Refugees, on climate resilience and adaptation to weather extremes, season extension practices, improved sustainable pest, weed and irrigation management. We will use a combination of classroom teaching, in-field demonstrations, and hands-on training. In addition to educational components, we will help farmers develop individual resilience plans and provide participants with access to free or low-cost materials (shade cloth, trap crop seeds and sprays, mulches, etc.). Graduates of the refugee training program will also be invited to participate in the training and resource sharing. Over three years, farmers will implement climate adaptation and season extension strategies, increasing the profitability and sustainability of their farms.
In order to ensure that trainings and education are as effective as possible, we will work with a local Adult Education professor to develop assessment tools. Educational materials will be developed jointly by experienced educators and professionals and program staff. For the first time in the history of the program, we will begin a Farmer Leadership Team that will support the development of the assessment tools, educational materials, supply ordering, and overall program development. As a part of this project, the team will create SOPs for integrating “Farmer Leadership Teams” that will be shared with other similar and interested programs.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Increase the sustainability, self-sufficiency, and profitability of refugee farmers.
- Increase participants’ knowledge of the effects of climate change, season extension techniques, and improved pest, weed and irrigation management.
- Farmers implement newly-learned strategies in their farming practices.
- Farmers use low-cost or shared supplies with technical assistance from staff.
- Farmers improve their local ecosystem through use of more environmentally sustainable pest and weed management practices.
- After three years, farmers experience extended growing season, thus increasing their overall sales.
- Farmers are better prepared to protect crops from extreme weather effects.