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Natural Awakenings Fairfield County & Housatonic Valley CT

Rethinking Rice: Farmers Respond to Climate Change

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Growing up in Gambia, Nfamara Badjie’s parents taught him it’s much healthier to eat food they grew rather than food bought in a store. Badjie, a well-known drummer who moved to the U.S. in 2005, bought a plot of marshy land in Ulster Park, New York, two hours north of New York City, and is learning how to adapt the rice-growing practices of his West African ethnic group, the Jola, to East Coast climates. Agronomists hope the innovative operation, Ever-Growing Family Farm, can provide a blueprint for other area farmers to introduce new crops due to the threat of climate change. Erika Styger, an agronomist from nearby Cornell University, says, “We can reinvent agriculture even today, and if we have that mindset, there is a lot that can be done. We shouldn’t get stuck in how we have done things, and we need to adapt to climate change.”
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