Open letter to Cara Buckley
New York Times
Twitter handle @caraNYT
Dear Ms Buckley :
I just read the article that you wrote entitled The Unlikely Ascent of New York’s Compost Champion in the 13 May 2022 edition of the NYT. Domingo Morales is an inspiration. Well-deserving of all the accolades that have been bestowed upon him. He is a climate change hero. We need more such stories.
I have a suggestion for your next climate change article. I invite you to come to Clare, Michigan and write a story about the Climate Change Permaculture Project (CCPP). Below, is some information to help you to decide.
I am a Senior Evaluation Officer for a small, specialized agency of the United Nations, based in Geneva, Switzerland. In this capacity, reports about climate change come across my desk quite frequently. These reports alarmed me to the extent that I, together with my wife Karen, decided that in our upcoming retirement, we would relocate somewhere safe and create a sanctuary from climate change for our family and friends.
We conducted research and found out that many scientists think that our home state of Michigan will be one of the best places to survive climate change. This is because Michigan is a peninsula, surrounded by the Great Lakes, that will act as a buffer.
Therefore, in 2019, right before the pandemic began, we made a whirlwind trip of the state and ended up buying a 56-acre Amish farm outside of Clare. Clare is smack-dab in the middle of the state. Its moniker is “Gateway to the North”.
The pandemic began and I received permission from my agency to telework from outside my duty station. For two years, I teleworked from 6:30 to 14:30. Then, I would go out and work on the farm until dark.
Because of the pandemic, many people were laid off from their jobs. Food insecurity is, and will continue to be, a big problem. Since we had an outside source of revenue to support the farm, we donated our surplus production to the Community Compassion Network, a food bank in nearby Mt Pleasant.
We slowly came to the realization that, even if we create a sanctuary, if climate change renders the planet uninhabitable, we will perish with everyone else. Therefore, we resolved to join the larger fight against climate change.
We did more research and found that currently about 25 per cent of the greenhouse gases that are emitted come from agriculture. However, if we transform our agricultural system, it could not only avoid emissions, it could also actually sequester large amounts of carbon, thus helping to mitigate climate change.
We came to conclude that the best way to transform our agricultural system might be through a system of ecological design called permaculture. Permaculture’s design principles, based on whole-system’s thinking, seem to us to be ideally suited to the task.
We set out to learn more about permaculture and, in the process, Russon Family Farms received Permaganic Authentication, at the pioneer level, from the Great Rivers and Lakes Permaculture Institute. It’s kind of like the USDA’s organic certification—only better. We are only the second farm in Michigan to receive this honour.
Our commitment to fight climate change led us to form a private operating foundation called the Climate Change Permaculture Project (CCPP). The purpose of the foundation is to help create a critical mass of farmers who will adopt regenerative farming practices, embodied in the principles of permaculture, to begin to reverse the effects of climate change and, at the same time, help to address food insecurity.
Russon Family Farms will take 10 acres out of production and donate its use to CCPP to create a farmer incubator program, like a small business incubator. New and diverse farmers will receive training from internationally recognized permaculture experts. Then, they will put their training into practice on their own two-acre plots.
We think that our story would be of interest to your readers because it shows that common folks like us can do uncommon things to try and reverse climate change.
Here’s a link to our website: https://www.climatechangepermacultureproject.org/ Hope to hear from you soon.
Climate Change Permaculture Project