EP29 Farmers for Climate Solutions

Farmers for Climate Solutions is a national coalition of farmer organizations and supporters that believe farm solutions can be climate solutions and Canadian farmers need policy support to help mitigate and adapt to climate change. By telling farmers’ stories and creating dialogue between farmers on practical solutions and policy recommendations, the coalition hopes to make agriculture part of the solution to climate change.

In this podcast episode, podcast host Derek Leahy and Jane Rabinowicz, executive director of SeedChange, one of the lead organizations behind the campaign, talk about the newly launched national coalition of organizations working on policy change and climate-friendly farming in Canada. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture account for about 12% of Canada’s total GHG emissions, but the potential for agriculture to be a climate solution.

By taking a deeper look into the context of farming in Canada today and questioning how we farm, what we farm, and who is farming we can get some insight into the links between the farming crisis and the climate crisis. The intersection between the farming crisis and the climate crisis is where farmers have the greatest potential to create and implement climate solutions for the benefit of their farms, their families and communities and ultimately for the climate.


(9:05) Farmers for Climate Solutions wants to effect policy change and to achieve climate targets through agriculture. Agricultural producers are amongst the first Canadians to see climate change impacts on their land and bottom lines and they are also on the frontlines of innovation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to implement climate solutions on their farms. It’s time to shift the discourse from blame and shame of producers for contributing to climate change to more productive conversation about agriculture as a climate solution.

(16:30) How is the farming crisis related to the climate crisis? The farming crisis is increasing farm debt, lower farm income, and fewer farmers across Canada. The systems in place that contribute to the farming crisis have direct links to the climate crisis or can compound effects of the climate crisis in the agricultural sector. For example, as farm debt grows, GHG emissions also grow because of increasing use of chemical fertilizers.

(30:35) Re-imagining agriculture – dealing with the farming and climate crises needs a new approach through a focus on sustainability, reducing inputs and emissions, raising farm incomes, and increasing the number of farms and farmers.

(46:00) The results of the recent federal election in 2019 showed that climate action is important to Canadians. However, no political parties have created a coherent vision for farmers and the role that agriculture can play in mitigating climate change.

Useful Links:

Farmers for Climate Solutions

NFU Report: Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis

SeedChange (formerly USC Canada)

Canadian Organic Growers

Farm Folk City Folk

Prairie Climate Centre

Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario

Farmers for Climate Action (Australia)

4 per 1000 Initiative

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (U.S.)

Want to learn more? Listen to What We Do to find out more about Rural Routes and we also recommend How Organics Fight Climate Change with Dr. Tracy Misiewicz of The Organic Center and Adaptive Agriculture featuring Alberta agricultural producers explaining how they will adapt to a changing climate. And don’t forget The Brown Revolution with soil microbiologist Dr. Kristine Nichols!