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New CLF Film Examines Solutions to Farming Crises Like Climate Change

“Growing Solutions” Documentary Shows How Agriculture Can Become More Resilient

Jun 23, 2020

The new documentary film Growing Solutions explores innovative ways farmers are addressing urgent challenges including climate change, water scarcity, and soil loss. The 42-minute documentary is the third in a series of films created by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.

“All three of our films are focused on solutions,” said Leo Horrigan, the director of the film and Food System Correspondent at the CLF. “This one shines a light on how to grow food in ways that don’t degrade the soil but actually build soil, how to deal with water scarcity, and how to make farming part of the solution to climate change. We think the projects we’ve highlighted can help point the way to a more secure food and farming future.”

Growing Solutions tells the story of farmers, researchers, and educators across the United States that are using both new and historically-proven approaches to farming challenges, including:

  • A bold effort to create a new agriculture that would mimic the Kansas prairie by using perennial crops in mixtures instead of annual crops in monoculture.
  • A farmer/rancher in South Dakota whose regenerative methods help him grow new topsoil while his farm neighbors experience soil loss.
  • A centuries-old irrigation system called acequias that relies on a small dose of engineering and a large dose of community solidarity to overcome water scarcity in New Mexico.
  • A Maine high school that saves seeds from around the world while teaching students about the cultural connections those seeds engender.
  • A program in Virginia that trains military veterans to be farmers.

The film can be used as an educational resource in conjunction with FoodSpan, the CLF’s online curriculum about the food system. A discussion guide for Growing Solutions, as well as CLF's other educational documentaries, Out to Pasture and Food Frontiers, are available on the FoodSpan website.

“We hope this film can help ignite a greater interest in these critical issues among young people, who long term stand to benefit the most from improvements to our farming systems,” Horrigan said.