Energy, Innovation, and Stewardship on Valley Farms

Joni's Oct. forum flyer2.400While some urban dwellers can avoid going outside for days if necessary, the Valley farmer is outdoors facing the elements every day of the year, rain or shine, drought or flood, snow or heat wave.  And when he/she comes inside, it’s to plan how to reduce the risks and uncertainties of not only the weather but the markets, government regulations, the cost of energy, and the changing climate, with better ways to improve resiliency and productivity.

The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley is hosting a forum to address these issues on Tuesday, October 15th at 6:00 pm at the Massanutten Regional Library, 174 S. Main St, Harrisonburg.  Well acquainted with the problems Valley farmers face, our speakers will include Eric Bendfeldt, Extension Specialist in Community Viability with the Virginia Cooperative Extension; Dr. Maria Papadakis, ISAT professor at JMU; and Mike Phillips, a farmer and a soil conservation technician with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Council.  Bendfeldt will talk about the innovative ways farmers are working as good stewards of the land to keep agriculture a viable part of Valley life, everything from growing forage radishes and drought resistant feed crops to co-ops and the Produce Auction.  Papadakis will speak about Valley farms, energy, and climate change: how energy conservation can help with greenhouse gas mitigation, and the increased demands on energy consumption that Valley farmers will face adapting to a changing climate. Phillips will offer us his point of view as a farmer and government worker implementing best management practices.


See the Daily News Record‘s October 17, 2013 coverage of the forum here by Alex Rohr. (Note that Firefox’s built-in PDF renderer might not display this correctly; right click here and choose “Save Link As…” to download it instead.)

Les introducing Mike Phillips _Converted
Les Grady introduces Mike Phillips with a screen photo including Mike’s father as a young plowman in the background.
Joni with Mike and Eric
Joni Grady with presenters Mike Phillips and Eric Bendfeldt
Maria Papadakis
Maria Papadakis fields a question from the audience
lush forage crops.500
Lush forage crops planted by Mike on August 10, 2013, harvested October 15.
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