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Community gardens help Michigan adapt to climate change

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A car filled with produce from the Western Upper Peninsula Food Systems Collaborative. In the Western Upper Peninsula, climate change is hurting local food sources.

Warming water temperatures reduce fish spawning, and snow compresses on itself less during the winter –– which hurts wild rice, said Rachael Pressley, a regional planner with the Western U.P. Planning and Development Region based in Hancock.

Habitat warming allows new species of plants and trees to migrate northward, along with invasive pests, she said.

For example, the drosophila –– a type of fruit fly –– lays eggs in berries, causing them to ripen and die too quickly to be harvested. They can now survive in the U.P. because the climate has warmed. As the effects of climate change impact day-to-day necessities like food security, community gardens can operate as one avenue of adaptation, said Jennifer Hodbod, an associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability.

Pressley is a member of the Western U.P. Food Systems Collaborative, a grassroots movement working to repair the U.P. ‘s food system damaged by climate change and a lack of grocery stores in rural areas.

The collaborative helps build gardens through community programs and in schools, shelters and low-income housing. It […]

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