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May 4 symposium on food security and climate change

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 CAMDEN, Maine — How climate change may affect global food supplies and security, around the world and here in Maine, will be the subject of a one-day symposium on Saturday, May 4, at the First Congregational Church in Camden.

“Food and Climate Change:  Global Challenges and Maine Responses” is being organized by the Quaker Peace Center of the Midcoast Meeting of Friends and the First Congregational Church of Camden, in collaboration with the Camden Conference.

“Global warming poses enormous risks to global food production and security,” said Brewster Grace, an event organizer for the Peace Center of the Midcoast Meeting of Friends. “Major effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions — droughts, floods, rising temperatures, and unpredictable growing seasons — are now devastating many regions of the world. Maine is already affected by ocean acidification and plant infestations as temperatures rise.”

“We can see the trends in temperature, weather patterns, and extreme weather, but there are questions concerning where these trends will take us and what we can do to assure that critical production of our farms and fisheries continues to meet the needs of growth populations,” said Bruce Cole, event organizer for the First Congregational Church of Camden, in a press release.

The symposium will address how global farming and fishing efforts can be modified to adapt to climate change and how we can use farming to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It will then consider the relevance of these global activities to farming and fishing in Maine.

Grace noted that agriculture now accounts for about 30 percent of total worldwide greenhouse gas emissions through the production of fertilizer, the use of energy to produce and transport food, and deforestation for crops and grazing. “But agriculture also contributes to mitigating climate change by sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere, especially through organic farming and forest and land conservation, in both of which Maine sets an exceptional example.”

Speakers for the May 4 symposium include: Molly Anderson, Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems, College of the Atlantic; Seth Shames, EcoAgriculture Partners, Washington, D.C.; Doreen Stabinsky, professor of Global Environment Politics, College of the Atlantic; Chellie Pingree, (invited) U.S. House of Representatives; Julia Olmstead, senior associate, Rural Communities Program, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Timothy Griffin, associate professor and director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program, Tufts University; John JemisonCooperative Extension, University of Maine; and Robin Alden, Penobscot East Resource Center, Stonington.

The May 4 symposium, “Food and Climate Change:  Global Challenges and Maine Responses,” is also a community event of the Camden Conference, which will present its major regional conference in February 2014 on the topic of “The Global Politics of Food and Water.”

Site of the May 4 symposium will be the First Congregational Church, located near the center of Camden at 59 Elm Street.  Registration forms are available at:  http://www.midcoastfriendsmeeting.org/peace-center/   The registration fee is $25 for the one-day program.

For additional information call Bruce Cole, First Congregational Church, at 691-4893.