Jacobs Farm del Cabo Introduces New Climate Change Initiative
SANTA CRUZ, CA - In the short amount of time that I’ve spent as a trade news writer in the produce industry, I have come to know Jacobs Farm del Cabo (JFDC) as a fierce champion of the environment. The company continues to be a steward of the land, and recently announced a new strategy to address climate change. Its newly launched program identifies climate-related risks and adaptation challenges for vulnerable smallholder farms, ultimately developing solutions to reduce these risks.
“For more than 35 years, this collaboration between JFDC and Baja growers has provided over 1,200 farming families with a much-improved quality of life and a sustainable economic engine for their communities,” says Director of Sales and Marketing Aaron Brookes. “But farming in Baja was different 35 years ago. As recent extreme weather events have increased in frequency and magnitude, so have the impacts of these events on organic production and farming communities.”
To assemble the team, JFDC recruited its first cohort of three young, local student trainees—each actively attending university or coming from second generation farming families. The selected students will gain valuable hands-on experience centered around climate change and how it impacts our food and growing systems.
According to a press release, the program is spearheaded by Dr. Jose DiBella from the University of Waterloo’s Department of Geography and Environmental Management. He is a climate and disaster risk specialist with expertise in business model innovation, a native of Baja California, and a farmer’s grandson. DiBella works closely with a select team of JFDC employees to lead this program.
“The goal of this new program is to work with del Cabo farmers to combine knowledge and experience necessary to adapt to these changes, and proactively build a more sustainable and resilient food system,” Brookes adds.
The student trainees work alongside participating del Cabo farmers to map climate risks in their farming operations, collect data on where climate change has made an existing impact on their farms, as well as identify areas that have the potential for future impact. One key area of focus is soil health, which has the potential to provide crops with increased resilience to external changes. The trainees will document soil type and quality to identify areas for improvement. They will also collect information on farm-level priorities and the needs of each farmer.
The geographic data collected is recorded in a mobile-based app, which will generate fully informed maps of the collective’s many growing zones. This mapping system will allow the company to visibly track the impact of the team’s efforts and create an understanding of recurring trends across farming regions.
Keep reading ANUK to see how our industry’s leaders are tackling climate change.