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The Challenges and Potential of Biodiversity

  • 5268 Sound Avenue Riverhead, NY, 11901 United States (map)

Biodiversity is a critical component of life on Earth, crucial to the continuation of every single ecosystem, yet it's disappearing at a seemingly inexorable rate.

How can we not be profoundly alarmed by the increasing price we must pay for a decreasing spectrum of life? More specifically, in the dynamic sphere of “agriculture,” we know we pay a heavy price for extinct or close to extinct things that sustain us.

In the context of the evening's discussion, we’ll ask: “What does it cost to grow and keep healthy
diversity and how do we redefine a framework to support and finance this work?

Rather than discuss abstractions from an observer's viewpoint, we believe the time is now to hear from people challenged every day by the demands of diversity as they work hands on within a framework designed to promote that diversity.

What does this work actually look like? What do these farmers actually do? And what does “work” mean anyway? Equally important, are the people who tangibly, and in tandem, support these efforts by working within the wider community.

Moderator - Hazel Kahan

Panelists -

Phil Barbato - Farmer, Biophilia farms, certified organic.

Phil is a passionate organic farmer and past NOFA-NY president. Prior to his farming career, he was employed by DEC, working on water protection and became Regional Water Engineer. As a farmer, he has been a tireless advocate for agricultural and environmental causes, healthy soil, and healthy people. For the 2019 year, Biophilia Farm is in its 20th year of operation.

Laura Klahre - Laura Klahre, Blossom Meadow Farm

Laura’s farm was designed with the knowledge that more complete pollination of a flower results in higher yields and higher quality berries. To this end, she no longer keeps honeybees, maintains a tract of grassland and natural areas throughout her farm, follows organic growing principles, ensures multiple species are flowering throughout the growing season, and turns off the lights at night (moths pollinate).

CR Lawn - Fedco Seeds

CR Lawn founded Fedco Seeds Co-operative in 1978 and served on its management
team for 40 years, conducting some of the Fedco Seed field trials and seed grow-outs.
He is currently on the Board of the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI)

Abra Morawiec - Feisty Acres

Abra and her partner Chris founded Feisty Acres in 2015 and raise game birds and specialized poultry that includes quail, French Guinea Flow, Chukar Partridge, Silkie Chicken, and a plethora of other heritage ducks, turkeys and chickens. They began the Bobwhite Quail Release program with the intention of re-invigorating the native population of Northern Bobwhite Quail.

Laura Accardi - Patchogue-Medford Seed Library

Laura works in Promotions and Development in the Patchogue-Medford Library, in addition to being a community activist and seed library lover. She began working on their seed library in 2015 and was the first library to collaborate with LIRSC on a local and national level. The seed library has blossomed into a thriving community resource which continues to grow due to novel methods of community engagement and interaction. The mission is to gather communities to grow, harvest and save seeds, as well as to develop best practices for doing so in a wider context.

After hearing from our farmers, we will invite the audience to a Q&A which we hope will foster an ongoing dialogue that will continue for the rest of the year and onwards.

We’re thinking about what does a meaningful active participation model look like? Not just for farmers but for everyone who eats?

Light refreshments served afterwards.

Earlier Event: March 16
Later Event: March 23
Seed Saving 101