Adapting to Climate Change: Farmers at the Frontline

Adapting to Climate Change: Farmers at the Frontline

 Monday, September 23, 2013, 3-5pm, Alumni House

As prolonged droughts, record high temperatures, and higher frequencies of floods and storms become the “new normal”, farmers are at the frontline, working to produce food, fuel and fiber under increasingly adverse conditions.   The stakes are high, and how successful farmers are in meeting the challenge will affect people’s lives everywhere on our planet.  This discussion will focus on the changes that growers are making right now, how these changes will affect the resilience of our food system, what policies are needed to help growers adapt, and what is at stake politically and economically, in California and around the world.

A forum moderated by Mark Schapiro, a correspondent for the Center for Investigative Reporting and an affiliate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

The panel will feature:

Miguel Altieri, Professor, Environmental Science Policy & Management, CNR, UC Berkeley

Altieri is one of the leading global experts on agroecology, food sovereignty, and sustainable agriculture in Latin America.

Maximilian Auffhammer, Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics, CNR, UC Berkeley

Auffhammer is known for his expertise in environmental and resource economics, energy economics, and applied econometrics.

Russell Lester, Owner and farmer, Dixon Ridge Farm, Winters, CA

Lester has farmed walnuts at Dixon Ridge since 1975, and raised walnuts organically since 1990. He participated in the California Department of Food and Agriculture Consortium on Climate Change, an advisory group of growers, academics and industry professionals.

Garrison Sposito, Professor, Environmental Science Policy & Management, CNR, UC Berkeley

Sposito is the Betty and Isaac Barshad Chair in Soil Science, and has received numerous awards for his contributions to the field of soil science and hydrology.


Mark Schapiro is a veteran environmental journalist, and former Senior Correspondent with the Center for Investigative Reporting. Over the past several years, he focused on the environmental and economic impacts of global efforts to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases. His work is published in Harpers, The Atlantic, Yale 360, Mother Jones, The Nation and other publications; and he has worked as a correspodent on the PBS tv newsmagazine FRONTLINE/World. In 2012, Schapiro embarked on a series of stories exploring the impacts of climate change on California agriculture, which led to Heat & Harvest, a documentary for KQED and an associated newspaper series; the package received a Society of Professional Journalists Award. He is currently completing a book investigating the back-story to our carbon footprints and applying a cost to carbon (The Carbon Hunt, publication, 2014). His previous books include Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power, and he was co-author of Circle of Poison, which revealed the export of banned pesticides to developing countries. Schapiro is also a lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he co-teaches a course in International Environmental Reporting.