This article has been translated with DeepL.

How farmers are preparing for the consequences of the climate crisis

Farmers in northern Sweden are preparing for the future.
The impact of climate change on the landscape is particularly evident for farmers in northern Sweden. Photo: Canva.

Farmers are facing major challenges due to climate change. So how are they preparing for an uncertain future? This is what educational researchers at Norrlandsnavet are investigating.

Sweden is currently dependent on goods from other countries to meet its food supply. However, interest in self-sufficiency, local food and sustainable food is growing.

– Not least because of the crises we have in our neighborhood. We have become painfully aware of how fragile the food chain is. Therefore, the domestic agricultural sector is extremely important to us, says Caroline Graeske, Professor at Luleå University of Technology.

Caroline Graeske. Photo: Luleå University of Technology.

Radically changed landscape

Already by the turn of the century, the natural areas in northern Sweden are expected to have become distinctly different, with new plant species, new plant patterns, and changing landscapes. Among other things, there is talk that other crops than today may be relevant in the country’s northernmost areas.

– Agriculture in the north of the country has great potential. If climate change continues, it may be possible, for example, to convert a large part of the land to cereal production,” says Niklas Johansson, a doctoral student in a research project on lifelong learning in the agricultural sector.

The project investigates how small farmers in northern Sweden are preparing for the consequences of climate change. The idea is to develop recommendations and strategies to support agricultural development.

Practical experience at the heart of learning

Halfway through the project, Niklas Johansson has devoted many hours to understanding how farmers learn.

Niklas Johansson. Photo: Private.

– Learning is based on learning by doing. By farming their land and reflecting on their experiences in different contexts, they develop an understanding of their different lands and their practices,” he says.

In educational science, this is called place-based learning. Based on the results, the recommendation to small farmers should be to slow down and take time to reflect on their practice and experiences, says Niklas Johansson.

– Agricultural training can advantageously be based on the places and the land that the farmers themselves work with.

However, the researchers are open to the possibility that other training methods could also be used.

– It will probably be necessary to complement place-based learning with different types of digital workshops. It is extremely important that farmers have the opportunity to share their experiences, both for their own sake and for Sweden’s future food supply,” says Caroline Graeske.


This article is produced in collaboration with Norrlandsnavet.

More about the project and Norrlandsnavet
The research project is called Learning from the landand is part of Norrlandsnavet, at Luleå University of Technology. The initiative works to develop business in northern Sweden and is funded by the Kamprad Family Foundation. Read more about Norrlandsnavet.