Inventors: Dr. Inanna Hamati-Ataya and Mr. Hemelkart Ataya, CRASSH, Sociology and Cambridge Sustainability Initiative
One of the observable impacts of climate change is the effect on which agricultural crops and products can be produced in different regions. In some cases this opens up the opportunity for farmers to grow new types of crops for their region (e.g., increasing wine production in England), while in others it can leave them unable to continue make a living from their family farms.
Agricultural producers of many foods such as olive oil, cured meats and cheese, have built up significant knowledge in how to cultivate the crops and domesticate the animals successfully, how to deal with different weather patterns in different years, and also knowledge in how to process the crops to create the best end product. In some case this knowledge has been built up over centuries, but if farmers can no longer farm their traditional crops themselves or produce their traditional dairy products, then this knowledge risks being lost forever. The small scale family farms typically operate in a highly sustainable way which preserves soil quality and biodiversity, which is precisely what we need to maintain.
The researchers’ goal is to create a database and a platform for knowledge exchange between farmers in different regions. They aim to collect the ethnographic, historical, cultural and technical information of the various regions and agricultural productions, and then work with other farmers to transfer that knowledge into other regions as the climate changes. By providing a revenue for the negatively-impacted farmers by effectively selling their expertise, the researchers hope to create time for them to develop other crops and continue farming their land in a sustainable way.
The question for the i-Team is to investigate possible partners for the project, both as sources of funding, and also as sources to help connect the researchers with relevant family farms. By doing so, they will help the researchers in their aim of supporting small farmers positively through the negative impacts of climate change.