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Soil Scientist Dr. Laura Lengnick to Speak at SUNY Cobleskill

Written By Editor on 10/26/16 | 10/26/16

How do we feed a growing world population when the way we eat fuels climate change? On Thursday, November 3, Laura Lengnick, renowned sustainable agriculture expert and author of Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate, will discuss how to adapt agricultural practices and food systems to survive and thrive in a changing climate. The lecture will be free and open to the public.

“Climate change is upon us, and agriculture is inextricably involved,” Lengnick said. “Farming is fundamental to our identity as a species, and it is crucial to the health and well-being of our communities.  But the way that we eat fuels the 21st-century challenges that threaten our way of life. How do we resolve this dilemma?”

Lengnick’s book draws on the adaptation stories of 25 award-winning sustainable U.S. producers of vegetables, fruits and nuts, grains, and livestock to find answers to this question. The book features local livestock farmer and retired SUNY Cobleskill faculty member Jim Hayes.

“These producers, many of them third- or fourth-generation farmers and ranchers, have managed sustainable businesses in the same location for 25 to more than 40 years,” Lengnick said, “Since about 2000, most have experienced increased challenges associated with more variable weather and more frequent and intense weather extremes.” Lengnick discovered that these producers are innovating new strategies of sustainable agriculture to reduce climate risk and cultivate resilience on their farms and ranches and in the communities they serve.

Laura Lengnick is an award-winning soil scientist who has explored agricultural sustainability for more than 30 years as a researcher, policy-maker, educator, and farmer. Her work in sustainable farming systems was nationally-recognized with a USDA Secretary’s Honor Award and she contributed to the 3rd National Climate Assessment as a lead author of the USDA report Climate Change and U.S. Agriculture: Effects and Adaptation.

Laura led the academic program in sustainable agriculture at Warren Wilson College for more than a decade, where she also served as the Director of Sustainability Education, and taught courses featuring agroecology, change leadership, whole farm planning with holistic management, sustainability assessment, and sustainable decision-making. In 2015, Laura left the college to launch Cultivating Resilience, LLC, a private consulting firm offering ecosystem-based climate risk management services to government, business, and communities.  She serves as an advisor to the USDA Climate Science Learning Network, NC Adapt, and the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance. She holds an adjunct faculty position in Horticulture at North Carolina State University.

Laura Lengnick’s visit to SUNY Cobleskill will precede and complement a presentation at the annual Farmers’ Museum Conference on Food & Farming in Cooperstown, where she is being sponsored by SUNY Cobleskill as the keynote speaker. This year’s conference is titled “Climate Change & Its Impact on Farming in Central New York”.

During her visit, Lengnick will meet with SUNY Cobleskill students in their classes for conversations about sustainable agriculture. Her book, Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate, will be available in the SUNY Cobleskill bookstore and Lengnick will be signing copies.

Schedule for Thursday, Nov. 3:

5 p.m. - Book signing at Farm Fresh Café in Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources

6 p.m. - Lecture in Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources 101

7 - 8 p.m. - Book signing reception at Farm Fresh Café in Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources
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