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Climate conference

2016 Matching grant opportunity

climate-changeInvest in your local foodshed and North Carolina’s food security, and make your donation count twice!  

From December 1 to February 29, 2016, any donations made through this campaign will be generously matched by The Fund for Democratic Communities.  Give $25, and your donation is actually worth $50.  Give $100, and it’s worth $200!



Conference attendees watching keynote address

Our Climate Change Adaptation conference grew out of a need for education and support of our local farmers, who have been in distress due to the extreme weather challenges they’ve been facing in the last several years. This was an innovative and first of its kind conference that draws powerful speakers and has sold out each year.

The 4th  Annual Climate Change Adaptation Conference will be held March 3 and 4, 2016 at Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro.  Natasha Bowens is the keynote speaker, author of The Color of Food.

Full Schedule and Speaker Bios are here



Responding to community needs

In the fall of 2012, Pittsboro farmer Laurie Heise called the Abundance Foundation with a question. She asked, “How do I prepare for climate change on my small, diversified farm?” Abundance didn’t have an answer. So the Abundance staff started calling around and in doing so we found we were not alone. It seemed many farmers, thinkers and organizations were themselves wondering the same thing.  The idea for a conference was born.

Over 140 farmers, researchers and activists convened at the first conference if its kind, Farming Strategies for Today’s Changing Climate, in February 2013 in Pittsboro, NC. Farmers shared observations of increases in unpredictable and extreme weather events, greater heat and drought causing early bloom drop, reduced fruit production and an environment that was more difficult for farm workers.


Farmers and researchers collaborate in a breakout small group discussion


Breeding and seed saving was a topic of interest at the conference.

An interactive, idea-sharing conference:

During the conference, farmers chat with scientists and researchers, as well as other farmers. This is a chance for NC farmers to put their hands on the pens and democratize agricultural policy on a local level.  It is the growers, the researchers, the activists, and the eaters who will make successful adaptation possible. All of us are being called upon to “stretch,” or to challenge ourselves to change how we do things. Passing knowledge along at events like this conference is one way to do it.

On February 7th, 2014, we continue our conversation on how to adapt farming strategies to climate change. The 2nd Annual Farming Adaptation Conference educates and empowers North Carolina farmers on the impacts of climate change on agriculture, climate risk and variability on crops and livestock, and strategies for adapting and reducing vulnerabilities for today and five to ten years down the road.

farmconferencelogoView 2014 Conference photos:

Pre-Conference Amuse Bouche – by Gary Simpson

Pre Conference Amuse Bouche – by Annie Huth

Farming Adaptation Conference – by Gary Simpson

Thanks to everyone who helped make our 2nd Annual Farming Adaptation Conference a huge, energizing success! And thanks to everyone who came out to Amuse Bouche and/or the conference to join the conversation on building a more resilient food shed for the future of our NC.

Event Overview:

  • Pre-conference networking event at Fearrington Barn on Feb 6th: Amuse Bouche – a Sampling of Perspectives on Climate Adaptation with NPR’s Frank Stasio
  • Break out sessions for in-depth analysis of specific issue for large scale, medium, and backyard farmers along with foodshed activists.
  • Keynotes Albert Bates and Laura Lengnick.  READ SPEAKER BIOS HERE
  • Local lunch from CCCC Natural Chef Program
  • Open Source Facilitation session led by participants’ concerns and greatest needs

Leaders of a breakout session discussion.


Conference attendees awaiting the next speaker.

Topics Covered:

  • water and weather challenges forecasted for NC
  • tools and techniques used for effective season extension
  • why and how to create a strong regional organic seed system
  • improving water management
  • carbon farming strategies: agroforestry, intensive planned grazing, keyline design
  • challenges of farming in a possible tracking future
  • what climate challenges are occurring around the country and how farmers are adapting
  • opportunities to form small affinity groups to discuss greatest needs

Conference Schedule:
Read the press release from the first Farming Conference:

Farming Strategies in Today’s Changing Climate Conference
Big, bushy eggplants with no fruit, livestock sold prematurely in the face of drought, and declining pollinator populations are some of the challenges facing North Carolina farmers as they adapt to today’s climate.
Demand for locally produced food has never been stronger, but both conventional and sustainable farmers are forced to change their operations in order to operate in today’s conditions… (keep reading)


Mipso, an up and coming local band, played the after party in 2013.


The community college sustainable chef program provides delicious fare for our lunch.

Thanks to all of our Sponsors!

  • Fund 4 Democratic Communities
  • Alphin Design Build
  • Central Carolina Community College
  • Mellow Marsh Farm, Inc.
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Larry’s Beans
  • Slow Money NC
  • Carolina Farm Stewardship
  • NC State University and A&T University Cooperative Extension
  • Center for Environmental Farming Systems
  • Rural Advancement Foundation International
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Whole Foods Market

Chef Jay Pierce and Slow Money NC’s Carol Peppe-Hewitt deep in discussion at the conference