Climate change is here.
40 years ago, a fisherman’s boat dock in the Florida Keys was easily above water, even during high tide. Today the same dock is under the water, even during low tide. Slowly, the effects have crept up and will continue to increase.
Climate change affects food supplies. Fish in waters that are warming, swim northward into cooler waters. Drought brings water shortages affecting crop irrigation. Farm animals need crops to eat, but the cost of crops is rising. The cost of human food is rising too.
Rising food costs tied with the rising population and war during climate change can cause food shortages.
Wheat is the main staple of the American diet. Rising temperatures are already reducing wheat production. (Nature Climate Change)
In the United States, there is a growing block of small farmers who are preparing for such bad circumstances. Lenore Baker and her husband, Dave, are chestnut farmers. After researching benefits and sustainability of the chestnut tree, they planted a sampling on their property in Mauckport, Indiana. Today they have planted over 200 trees.
Historically, the chestnut kept communities alive during times of famine in the Old World. The nut is high in protein, has vitamin C, is gluten-free, low in fat, and contains complex minerals, vitamins and nutrients. The chestnut can be dried and ground into flour for the making of bread or pasta and can be added to soups or eaten whole. Vacuum packed, it will last for years.
The American chestnut tree nearly died out from a foreign fungus, but Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, where Lenore purchased her trees, has crossbred it with the Chinese chestnut tree, giving the American chestnut a vaccination of resistance.
The chestnut tree is large, does not need constant watering, and produces large nuts at only seven years old. Bakers Organic Chestnut farm is located not far from the Ohio River, which creates a fog each morning. Grow tubes, invented by the University of Florida, surround the trunk of each planted seedling and collect the fog’s early morning moisture, making the trees “self-watering.”
Another benefit of the chestnut tree is its ability to retain carbon from carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas that causes global warming and climate change. Deforestation and burning fossil fuels contribute to the rise in carbon dioxide, which according to NASA, is at 404.93ppm. In 2005, the level was below 380. It rises a little each year.
“Increasing forest cover has been identified as an important way to slow climate change.” (Purdue University)
Specifically, reforestation with chestnut trees—a fast-growing tree, can slow the effects of climate change in the United States. The chestnut tree can be grown in North Florida north up into Massachusetts and west into Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri.
Lenore Baker is like Issachar—a woman who sees the times, and does something to make life better. Lenore’s father kept an organic garden and helped develop her love of raising her own food. In high school, Lenore studied horticulture in a college dual enrollment program. At age 18, she became a certified horticulturalist and used her skills in a work-study opportunity at a local government hospital. Today, Lenore and her husband Dave, are pioneers, implementing her knowledge, preparing to feed the country and clean the air.
Bakers Organic Chestnut Farm is small, but growing. Lenore and Dave are looking forward to investors who are like-minded. They plan to expand the farm from 24 acres to 100 acres.
Americans—we must all look forward into the future, which will be different from what we have known. But with knowledge we can overcome obstacles, even those which are life-threatening. With creativity, new businesses, like the Baker's, can be sown, ready to reap fruit in due time. If you live in an area which will grow chestnut trees, plant three, four or five 35 to 40 feet apart. The chestnut tree is a tree of life.
© 2017 "Hometown Heroes" Kelly Jadon