Sustainable Agriculture and Land Institute Founder Wes Jackson’s 50-Year Plan

Sustainable agriculture will depend on perennial strains of wheat

Sustainable agriculture will depend on perennial strains of wheatWes Jackson is president and founder of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. The Land Institute is an agricultural research facility whose purpose is to “develop an agricultural system with the ecological stability of the prairie and a grain yield comparable to that from annual crops.”

The key to sustainable agriculture, says Jackson, is a shift away from annual crops to perennial crops.  In an essay in the Post Carbon Reader published by the Post Carbon Institute, Jackson describes “the problem” with current agricultural practices and offers a concrete plan as the solution. It’s what he and his colleagues have been working on for 30 years at the Land Institute. Along with Wendell Berry and others, in 2009 Jackson proposed to Congress a “50-year plan” to “perennialize the American landscape” in hopes that it will spread across the globe.

“Our fifty-year farm bill would protect soil from erosion, cut wasteful use of water, cut fossil-fuel dependence, eliminate toxic chemicals, manage nitrogen, reduce dead zones, and restore an agrarian way of life,” writes Jackson.

Read more about Jackson’s ideas and our current agricultural system in an article I recently published on Perennial Crops, Sustainable Agriculture: A 21st Century Green Revolution

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