Episode 36: The Climate-Proof Farm

Denise Chang-Yen (yes, Chris’ mom) asks whether climate change will end up being a net benefit for farms in our area.

Listen first, then scroll past the spoilers bar for more information.

spoilers below

Our first step was to interview Karen Haugen-Kozyra, President of Viresco Solutions and a colleague of Denise’s.

Karen Haugen-Kozyra, President of Viresco Solutions, stands in the garden in front of lilies together with Denise.
Karen Haugen-Kozyra, President of Viresco Solutions, together with Denise.

Karen has worked in research, government, and non-for-profit roles helping the agricultural sector in Canada mitigate and adapt to climate change.

She walked us through some of the ways farmers are already planning for climate change in our region, including cloud-seeding and experimenting with new livestock feed and crop varieties. Karen pointed us to the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative‘s research on Climate Scenarios for Alberta.

Then we drove south of Edmonton to visit Takota Coen at Coen Farm, near Ferintosh. They raise cows, pigs, and chickens, and they grow an increasing range of fruits and nuts on the farm.

Takota Coen with his boot on an adjustable culvert where the creek flows under this road.

Takota showed us some of the ways they’ve increased water retention and storage on their property to prepare for both droughts and heavier floods.

Takota and Denise look out on the new creek.
A handful of duckweed.
The chickens chowing down on duckweed.
Lay of the land on the farm, with the neighbours’ canola fields in the background on the opposite side of a shelterbelt of trees.

We also got to see the huge variety of plants they’re growing, from bur oak and black walnut trees to seabuckthorns and black currants.

Most importantly, we fell in love with Takota’s dog, Kazlow.

The sweetest dog.

Further Reading:

This episode is made possible by support from Taproot Edmonton and the Edmonton Historical Board.

We also gave shout-outs in the episode to the Edmonton Public Library summer reading club and The Well- Endowed Podcast.


  1. How much valuable farmland in a unique microclimate has been “developed” (i.e., ruined) here with urban sprawl on the scale of far more populous cities? (Edmonton covers as much ground as Chicago.) It’s valuable for local ag now, and yes surely much more in the future. 😔


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