When Rodrigo Cala moved from Mexico to the U.S., he realized he could not find some ingredients that he cooked with back home, such as high-quality Mexican herbs and squash blossoms. That helped inspire him to become a farmer here in the U.S.
Now Cala and his brother run an organic vegetable farm in western Wisconsin. He also works for the Minnesota-based Latino Economic Development Center, training other immigrants to run farming businesses.
But he says farming is getting harder and riskier as the climate warms and weather patterns grow more erratic.
“Every year is different,” he says. “Some years are really rainy, some years are cold, some years are really warm, some years are like a mix of everything.”
Cala teaches farmers methods that can help them adapt. For example, planting cover crops can help soil absorb and store water, and plastic-covered structures called high tunnels can protect plants during storms.
But he says farmers face difficult times ahead, and everyone should be concerned.
“Because we’re talking about food, and everybody needs to eat every day,” Cala says. “Sooner or later it’s going to be an issue for everybody, so we need to start thinking about the solutions now.”
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.