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Boise Library Event to Examine Climate Change Impact on Idaho Food System

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The adverse effects of climate change on the Idaho food system are contributing to food security issues across the state. As one way to address the problems, the Idaho Interfaith Roundtable Against Hunger (iirah.org) is bringing environmentalists and agricultural producers together to discuss the impacts of climate change this evening at the Cole and Ustick branch of the Boise Public Library. The event starts at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Speakers will include Boise State University sociologist Rebecca Som Castellano, geoscientist Jen Pierce, and local farmers Arlie Sommer and Brenda Richards, who will discuss where the food system breaks down, what causes it and what steps can be taken by Idahoans to alleviate or prevent some of the problems altogether.

“The impact of severe climate on agriculture is one of these breakdowns,” said Darcy James, chairwoman of IIRAH. “We see this as something to think about and see if there are ways to address it.”

In addition to climate change, the panelists will discuss topics ranging from food justice and fair trade issues to outsourcing, but food security will be a major focus. As an issue facing one in seven Idahoans, problems as complex and wide-ranging as hunger and food security rarely have an answer as simple as material assistance.

“We’re trying to understand and explain anything we see in the system that is creating stress on family food security two or three steps away,” said James. She said working through education and advocacy allows IIRAH to fix breakdowns at the source instead of addressing them once they’ve become problems.

“You have to be going in the right direction,” said James. “We want to have actual solutions, not things that sound good at first flush but then cause damage further down the system.” James said she hopes the presentation will demonstrate the impact of informed citizens multiplying their force to help “make chronic hunger a thing of the past.”


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