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Find your voice. Join Lindsey and local organizers from the National Young Farmers Coalition at our upcoming Farmer Storytelling for Policy Change workshop at the RE Farm Cafe at Windswept Farm in State College.
Farming can be an isolating profession.
Even though we share many of the same challenges—like extreme weather events damaging our fields, making it harder for us to feed our communities—it can often feel like we’re facing them on our own.
So when I learned through my work with National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) about plans to organize a national “farmer climate action,” I knew that I had to be involved.
I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to stand alongside my fellow farmers and say with a united voice:
“Climate change is real, it’s impacting our farms, and we need help.”
Since late last summer, organizers from across the country have been applying for permits, raising money, coordinating transportation, and recruiting farmers to bring the Farmers for Climate Action: Rally for Resilience to life in Washington D.C. this spring.
The policy asks of this movement are anchored by three foundational principles:
It featured a truly inspirational lineup of speakers who shared their stories of resilience in the face of hardship, displacement, and oppression. They painted a picture of a future in which farmers are celebrated not just for our output, but for our ecologically sound practices and for the communities we nurture along the way. They detailed a path forward that elevates the solutions of small-scale, diversified, and regenerative farms—solutions that have millennia of evidence to support their efficacy.
Fortified by a generous donation of Painterland Sisters yogurt, we cheered at Freedom Plaza, sang along to John Mellencamp, and marched to the Capitol building, passing by USDA and Congressional office buildings en route. Our chants of “What do we want? Climate Action! When do we want it? Now!” rang through the streets.
I was deeply appreciative of the time Pasa’s delegation of farmers spent in these meetings and the candor with which they shared their stories.
I had the privilege of attending meetings with San Sankofa of Herbal Affirmations, whose work through Pasa’s Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship at Katydid Hill and through The Seed Farm incubator has helped him launch his own farm business. I got to sit beside Russ Wilson of Wilson Land & Cattle and Gary Bloss of Josie Porter Farm as they educated their representatives on the power of healthy soils. I listened to Sabine Carey describe how her Centre Markets initiative is building a resilient local supply chain in Centre County and supporting the bottom line of over two dozen farm businesses in the process. And I witnessed Emma Jagoz of Moon Valley Farm share the hurdles she faced in working with the USDA, while also acknowledging the relative ease of her journey compared to her BIPOC peers.
When farmers take the time to share our personal challenges, they can no longer be dismissed as isolated incidents or anomalies. They must be acknowledged as products of systems in need of significant reform.
When we share our stories, we’re no longer in it alone. Our individual struggles and aspirations become a collective movement for change.