A few weeks ago we left the farm after harvesting for the weekend markets to attend a global climate rally that was being held on the University of Michigan campus. The efforts of the climate strike resonate deeply with the crew and the signs of climate change are beginning to be more apparent with each year that passes. The more time we devote to working directly with the land the more it sinks in just how intertwined our work is with mother nature. Although each day is different, on any given week we may watch the weather move in overhead, see birds and bugs migrating, and then get ambushed with unexpected rain. The stability and predictability of the climate is what farmers have used for many years to navigate their growing season. With such unpredictable changes in the weather, it's becoming harder and harder to anticipate what the challenges and successes of each season will look like.
Heres what we know, climate change is affecting the world in a lot of ways. The planet is warming, more rain is falling. There are colder winters and warmer summers. And all of this is having a profound effect on agriculture. This year, Michigan corn and soybean farmers were devastated by soggy fields and potential crop loss in what’s been called the third-wettest season on record history. That's a lot of rain folks! You may be thinking to yourself, rain is good, we need rain. True, but too much rain also has its drawbacks. More rainfall worsens soil erosion and improves breeding conditions for crop-damaging pests, creating harder growing conditions in the soil, and more likelihood for crop loss. For example, our tomatoes turned out to be quite a conundrum this season. We started the seeds earlier than the season prior assuming the conditions would be similar. The conditions were drastically different, arguably the complete opposite. We were unable to get the tomato starts into the ground until the beginning of June, putting us at least 2-3 weeks behind. The cold wet spring created difficult conditions for the transplants to root, attracting more pests and bringing hardship to the plant's life early on. The result, not many tomatoes and a huge learning experience for us.
As we continue to wrestle with the effects of climate change, we learn more about the land and innately become more intimate with mother nature. The season's weather conditions, directly affect our ability to be successful. That being said, we are always learning, adapting, experimenting, and challenging ourselves to come up with new ways to overcome these challenges. All the while, gaining new knowledge about the repercussions of climate change and how they will affect us in the future. May we make an effort every day to stay aware, get educated, adapt, and always look after our mother, mother nature.