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A new exhibit in Bradford shows how local farmers are responding to climate change

A woman speaks into a microphone in front of art work.
Zoey Knox
Hanna Flanders from Sweet Beet Farm speaks about the impacts of climate change on soil health at the Climate Farmers Stories exhibit event in Bradford.

The Climate Farmers Stories exhibit at Sweet Beet Market and Café in Bradford is telling the stories of local farmers who are responding to climate change.

Local artists and farmers teamed up to create portraits and infographics about their work building healthy ecosystems, like developing soil to store carbon through cover crops, rotating livestock grazing, and minimizing tilling.

Erica Hiller from Vital Communities, an Upper Valley nonprofit that organized the Climate Farmers Stories project, said farmers offer more to their communities than just producing food.

“In a time of climate change and pandemics and industrial supply chain breakdowns — there's no community resilience without farm resilience,” Hiller told a crowd gathered at Sweet Beet to view the exhibit on Thursday. “The program is really designed around this really important storytelling aspect to try to draw people in, to be thinking about these issues a lot more and hearing the farmers' voice directly.”

Illustrations of farms line a wall with text underneath them.
Zoey Knox
Local artists and farmers teamed up to create portraits and infographics about their work building healthy ecosystems.

At the Thursday event, people milled around the colorful portraits of farmers across the region. Text below the images described specific climate resiliency methods that the farms used.

Hanna Flanders is a co-founder of the Kearsarge Food Hub and farmer at Sweet Beet Farm which is featured in the exhibit. She said she’s glad that the project is centering farmers’ voices, especially as the farm navigates the effects of climate change.

A poster shows how building healthy soil ecosystems can address climate change
Zoey Knox

“There's droughts and then there's floods, as we saw last year,” she said. “We do focus heavily on our soil building to help regulate some of these wonky, unpredictable cycles,” Flanders said. “We also are experimenting with more indoor growing – high tunnels and things that we can grow and extend our growing season.”

That adaptive mindset encourages Xochi Berry with Northeast Organic Farmers Association of New Hampshire, or NOFA-NH, which partially funded the exhibit gathering. She sees farms changing the way they operate to be more mindful of the environment, like avoiding chemical fertilizers But they face challenges on several fronts.

“There are really intense pressures on farmers right now on an economic level, on an environmental level, and on a social level of what is expected and how we are to move forward and adapt together for the future,” Berry said.

The exhibit will be available at the Sweet Beet Market and Cafe through July 4th.

Jackie Harris is the Morning Edition Producer at NHPR. She first joined NHPR in 2021 as the Morning Edition Fellow.

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