Washington, DC - Our food system contributes about 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other sector except energy production. At the same time, agriculture is the human endeavor most threatened by drought, increased rainfall, higher temperatures, and other impacts of climate change.
But agriculture can also be the solution—adapting to, mitigating, and even reversing the effects of climate change. “It is time to innovate,” says U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva, “This time, innovation means increasing the resilience and sustainability of our food systems, especially in the face of climate change.” Agroecology, for example, could be key to helping our global food system weather the challenges of a changing climate in more socially and environmentally sustainable ways. For instance, in Niger farmers are using agroforestry to improve crop yields and soil health while protecting trees on farmland. And the Kansas-based Land Institute is helping farmers all over the world discover the value of perennial grain crops for battling food insecurity and climate change.
Researchers and other organizations are also seeking ways to improve agriculture’s effects on climate change, and vice versa; for example, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) has laid out three pillars of climate-smart agriculture (CSA), while TEEBAgriFood has developed a framework to estimate the real costs and benefits—including environmental and social costs and benefits—of different food and agriculture systems. Moreover, organizations like the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) and the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) are working to develop and spread technologies and crop varieties to help farmers adapt to climate change.
These possibilities—and the stories of hope—are what Food Tank is excited about, and we want to know from our readers: What agricultural innovations do you think work best as a way to combat climate change? We want to know from you what’s working and why!