The Project

For this research, I interviewed farmers in the Cascadia Bioregion – this encompasses southern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands.  This is what I learned:

Changing Environmental Conditions  The farmers I talked to were experiencing increases in pests and precipitation, cooler springs, increasingly variable temperature and unpredictability in the seasons. Farmers have always dealt with variable weather – it’s pretty much an essential part of farming.  But with our changing climate, farmers are going to be dealing with increasingly variable weather and extremes that they have never had to deal with in the past.  How are farmers perceiving climate change, and what are the ways that they are adapting to it?

Locally-specific, Locally-relevant Information and Knowledge                    In Canada, there is a lack of funding for agricultural extension, specifically for small-scale organic growers, and that means that we can’t always find the information that we are searching for.  And with an aging farmer population, we are experiencing a knowledge gap – new, aspiring farmers have a lot to figure out on their own.  Getting locally-relevant information that deals with locally-specific environmental conditions can be challenging.  This is becoming even more  critical as we see greater weather change and variability.  How can we find ways to interchange “tried-and-true” knowledge of experienced farmers with new ideas from new, aspiring farmers?

Can’t count on the weather, but you can count on a farmer… The exciting thing is, you can always count on farmers to be creative!  Farmers are finding ways to adapt to these changes by implementing different innovations on their farms, just as they always have.  Farmers prefer learning new techniques from other farmers, so the logical step would be….

Sharing Knowledge  Most farmers want to visit with other farmers, but one thing they really lack is time.  This website is a place for techniques and practices to be showcased and shared with farmers in this region, both aspiring and experienced, and even somewhere in between.  While this really can’t substitute for learning-by-doing on the farm, the videos are just another way to inspire ideas, share knowledge and connect farmers. The farmers I interviewed said they wanted short, quick, easily accessible information – so that’s what we tried to do with the videos. There’s just so much to learn, so we might as well take a stab at trying different ways of doing it.

As long as farmers continue to generously share their time and techniques, I will continue to add content.  I have to say, I had never made a film or a website when I started this project – it was watching a farmer in the field filming with her iPhone that really started that part rolling…It’s my hope that those tech-saavy farmers out there are going to want to contribute a video, photo or post about some farming techniques/practices that you want to share (and really, if you have an iPhone or a camera, I can help with the rest).

As we all know, it’s all about DIVERSITY,
so please share your ideas!

5 thoughts on “The Project

  1. Hi Hannah,

    I was referred to your website by a friend. I can’t tell you how excited I am about finding your website. Your “project” is amazing! A group of us here in Kamloops are thinking about doing videos about farmers too. We are also interested in documenting farming techiques that are easier to “see” rather than “reading” about the technique. I am also concerned about how our farmers are aging and if this information is lost in this generation, it might be difficult to regain.

    Here is a link to my website. I hope to have videos about local farmers soon:

    • Great to hear that you are enjoying the site Caroline! If you would like to post some of your videos on the farmersfilmanac when you are finished recording them, please let me know and we can get them up here. Good luck with your project!

  2. OK Hannah, you can delete that, because I found your ‘About you’ and now I know it’s you! (Also there is a spelling mistake in the above comment and it won’t let me delete it! argh! haha). This is sooo sweet. I didn’t know you were doing this! What a great project! Farming in the blogosphere. Thanks for being awesome. I’ve read everything and now I can’t wait to watch the videos. I’m working with Caroline (above comment) on the videos here in Kamloops! It’s a small and awesome world, thanks for being in it! 😀

  3. This is a truly exciting project! It could truly become a huge network of bridges bringing together all sorts of theories and proven concepts from farmers across the land. I think you may be the first to come up with such vision! Or at least to act on it. Do you have a facebook page that individuals could share with other farms? That might potentially bring a huge surge of attention to your project, and before you know it the website could be swelling with all sorts of cunning, out of the ordinary and altogether beneficial bits of wisdom from young and old farmers alike! Perhaps a forum for farmers to discuss ideas, problems and solutions would create an even more diverse network of bridges between farms/communities from all over. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I truly admire your vision and hope it grows into something as beautiful as you dream it to be!

    Best of luck!

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