Creating sustainable farming practices and researching new ways to grow more climate-resilient crops were two of the main issues addressed at the Climate and Food Systems Summit, taking place in Kelowna.
The two-day event saw over 25 agricultural scientists and researchers from across North America come together in the Central Okanagan to brainstorm sustainable farming solutions in an era of intensified climate change.
Event co-host Tamara McLellan said the idea of the summit started when she and another colleague decided there needed to be a more meaningful change in the agricultural field.
“I left the traditional agricultural field and moved into a more philanthropic world to work on more humanitarian issues like food security,” she said.
“The other co-host, Brena Tjaden, also left the conventional agricultural world. She then spent two years studying the organics market and soil health. That led to regenerative agriculture, which what this event is all about.”
Through funds raised by the event, the two partners hope to expand their existing educational workshops around inter-cropping and carbon-friendly agricultural practices for farmers across Canada.
There is also talk of a possible organization forming from the event which will put pressure on local governments to invest more in sustainable farming practices.
Brian Smoliak, an agricultural expert and speaker at the event, said industry partners need to work more efficiently together to find agricultural solutions for farmers who have been increasingly impacted by climate change.
“When we look out there, we haven’t seen as much progress to reduce emissions (from farming) as we might hope,” he said.”
“We’re going to have to do some adaptation in farming moving forward. So, were here at the event to find out from people what are the tools and strategies within agriculture that will help farmers thrive for years to come.”
Locally sourcing and reusing agricultural material, mitigating the amount of agricultural waste that enters landfills and influencing big corporations like Starbucks to make sustainable agriculture business contacts were other topics discussed at the event.
According to the United Nations, pasture and crops have taken up 37 per cent of the earth’s land area since 1999.