Comparing Farmer Observations and Modelled Projections of Climate Change in the Canadian Maritimes
28 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2017 Last revised: 22 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 11, 2017
This paper uses a case study in the Maritime provinces of Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) to compare farmer observations of climate change and its impacts on production agriculture with the modelled projections available in the scientific literature. Farmers have typically been ignored in discussions of climate change in the region, leading to a homogenous knowledge structure; I argue that such a structure undermines the project of climate change assessment and adaptation. Semi-structured interviews (n=40) were performed with small-scale vegetable farmers across the Maritimes, and analysed using grounded theory methodology to establish a series of observational themes and insights. The study found that farmers’ observations across the region widely corroborate with the established modelled projections; in many areas, the observations have allowed for more precise assessment of impacts than using models alone. I argue that farmers should be included in the discussion around climate change in a more formal sense in order to provide the best information possible to policymakers and researchers.
Keywords: Farmer knowledge, climate change, Canada, Maritime provinces, knowledge integration, food systems
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