Harvests of Hope: join the film’s creators at Local Food Happy Hour (April 21)

Last week I had the privilege of attending a conference on local solutions to global climate change hosted by Antioch University New England and The EPA. Community leaders, scientists and government agencies gathered from all over the eastern United States to discuss the challenges facing their communities and share ways they are confronting those challenges.


One of the themes that surprisingly emerged from the conference was that our most important asset is not money or technology, or special government programs, but rather hope. Hope for the future and a belief that we as individuals and communities can and do have a meaningful impact on the larger world. The premise is that if we believe in our power to do something, we will be much more likely to actually achieve it. This idea of self efficacy, or the belief in one’s own ability to create change isn’t just a feel good idea, it’s a well-understood concept rooted in public health and sociology. Hope is one of the first steps toward creating positive outcomes through self-efficacy.

As a PhD student researching climate change, the more I explored the data, the more grim and hopeless the outlook became to me. I went through a period of extreme grief for the future of the world. It felt almost impossible to continue my work. The problem just felt too big. I now understand first hand, why people tend to want to deny the existence of climate change despite overwhelming evidence that it’s real. It’s just so daunting, and the implications so complex and scary, that it’s almost easier just to cognitively shut down, and to lose all hope.


This is why a year ago, my partner, my dog Peaches and I set out cross country to talk to farmers about climate change. We wanted to give a voice to their untold stories. Yes, Harvests of Hope is partially a story about the devastating impacts of climate change on our already broken food system but while that story is important, it has been told many times over in different ways. We set out to tell a different story, one about hope, community and resilience in the face of extreme uncertainty.

Despite the enormity of the task of feeding people in a climate changed world, there are so many reasons to have hope. Harvests of Hope showed me first hand how communities and farmers are doing incredible work propping each other up and using farming to change the system.

There are farmers like Colby Layton, a heritage breeder and permaculturist in Lawrence Kansas who quit his job a chemist to devote his life to creating synergy in livestock production and teaching his kids how to farm. Then there are people like Ryan Tenney and Marty Kraft from the Niles Home for Children a few hours away in Kansas City, who are giving kids who don’t have strong families or support systems the opportunity to heal through gardening, to eat nutritious food, and gain skills for self-sufficiency.


These are small, very localized projects with limited resources, but the more we learn about complex systems the more important the concept of emergence becomes. Emergence means simply that collectively, localized behaviors have a significant impact on the structure of the entire system. This is a powerful idea, with real science to it, and that gives me hope.

Attending the conference last week, reaffirmed for me the importance of not just sharing good science but also hope and confidence in our ability to come together, to create resilience in the face of crisis.


On April 21st we will be hosting a special local food food happy hour film screening of Harvests of Hope in partnership with Community FARE at Area 31 in Frederick, Maryland

The doors open at 6:00pm, followed by a one hour special sneak preview at 7:00pm, and a discussion on climate change and agriculture and the impacts on local communities. It will be a unique opportunity for us to share the movie before it is complete.


“Local Food Happy Hour film screening with the creators of Harvests of Hope” on this Facebook event page

Find us on the web, Facebook and Twitter for event updates.

Harvest of Hope on the web

Harvest of Hope on Facebook

Harvest of Hope on Twitter

EMAIL: info@harvestsofhope.com

To Donate: https://www.indiegogo.com/campaigns/harvests-of-hope

About the producers:

Karen Buchsbaum


Karen has a lifelong passion for food, farming and education Karen founded Community FARE while completing her Master’s degree in environmental education and working as an agricultural Extension Agent with University of Maryland Extension

She is currently a PhD candidate at Antioch University New England, where she is using agent-based modeling to study agricultural adaptation response to climate

After years of researching, teaching and advocacy, Karen grew tired of being inundated with disempowering and hopeless messages about our broken food system, and the future of the planet. She set out to find a real reason for hope, and that’s how the idea of Harvests of Hope was born.

Koorosh Farchadi


Koorosh received a degree in film and media studies at George Mason University, where he was Director of the Mason Cable Network . After graduating, he focused his work on video journalism and documentary, working for the Associated Press.

Since then, he has produced media in English, Spanish and Farsi for organizations like The World Bank Institute, The E-Collaborative for Civic Education, and George Mason University.

He currently works as a video producer for the National Science Foundation.

In his free time Koorosh is an avid gardener and world traveler. Harvests of Hope is a project that allows him to merge his work in film with his love of nature and the outdoors.