Th Apr 24th - Wes Jackson is one of the foremost figures in the international sustainable agriculture movement. Founder and president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, he has pioneered research in Natural Systems Agriculture — including perennial grains, perennial polycultures, and intercropping — for over 30 years.
Added to the calendar on Monday Apr 21st, 2014 11:15 PM
Thursday, April 24th
7:00 - 8:45pm
We Can Now Solve
The 10,000 Year Old
Problem of Agriculture
with Wes Jackson
Right Livelihood Award Laureate
At the UCSC
Kresge Town Hall
Directions and Parking
This event will be held at the UCSC Kresge Town Hall. There will be directional signs from the corner of Bay and High Streets directing people to park at the Core West Parking Garage. From there it is an easy walk across the Kresge bridge to the Kresge Town Hall.
To park in the Core West Garage you may pay $3 cash or credit card at the pay station located next to the elevator on the second level of the structure. This will allow you to park in any A-permit spot (which are the unmarked spots).
(Note: The event was previously advertised to be at the UCSC Village A3 building however the location was moved due to an overwhelmingly positive community response. We wanted to make sure there would be room for everyone.)
About Wes Jackson
Wes Jackson is one of the foremost figures in the international sustainable agriculture movement. Founder and president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, he has pioneered research in Natural Systems Agriculture — including perennial grains, perennial polycultures, and intercropping — for over 30 years. Life magazine predicted Wes Jackson will be among the 100 "most important Americans of the 20th century" and Wes has been listed as one of Smithsonian's "35 Who Made a Difference"
In 2000, Wes received the prestigious Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, "for his single-minded commitment to developing an agriculture that is both highly productive and truly ecologically sustainable." Common Ground Center is pleased to host Wes in Santa Cruz as part of our Right Livelihood College initiative, connecting our students and communities with visionary innovators, activists, and leaders to create a more just and sustainable future. Click here to learn about the Right Livelihood College initiative at UC Santa Cruz.
“Our task is to build cultural fortresses to protect our emerging nativeness. They must be strong enough to hold at bay the powers of consumerism, the powers of greed and envy and pride. One of the most effective ways for this to come about would be for our universities to assume the awesome responsibility to both validate and educate those who want to be homecomers -- not necessarily to go home but to go someplace and dig in and begin the long search and experiment to become native.”
― Wes Jackson, Becoming Native to This Place
The Land Institute (TLI) is a private, non-profit organisation established in rural Kansas in 1976. Jackson, a geneticist-agronomist, was its co-founder, abandoning academic life to pursue his vision of a natural farming system based on perennial crops.
At the outset, Jackson set himself and the Institute a 50-year timeframe for proving and demonstrating that there is a better alternative to the wasteful and destructive conventional agriculture. The alternative in his region would be a mix of perennial foodgrains, derived from perennializing conventional annual crops plus domesticating wild perennials. The biggest advantages would be ecological stability and grain yields hopefully as good as those achieved with annual crops. The ecological objectives would be attained by ending the huge problem of soil erosion, since annual ploughing would no longer be needed, and by ending the pollution caused by agrichemicals.
Through the 1980s the Institute's long-term research, education and field trials took shape. By the mid-1990s, at the end of the programs second decade, Jackson was able to report positive answers to his key research questions, some of which were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Jackson has emphasized that the implications of this work were not limited to the American prairies. "By demonstrating underlying principles rather than practical applications only, we are showing that the 'natural systems' approach could be transferable worldwide, as long as adequate research is devoted to developing species and mixtures of species appropriate to specific environments. We believe that an agriculture is well within reach that is resilient, economical, ecologically responsible and socially just."
Also in the 1990s, Wes Jackson received a Pew Conservation Scholar Award and a Macarthur Fellowship (1992), a book was published on the Land Institute's first 10 years - Farming in Nature's Image: An ecological approach to Agriculture. By the end of the decade more researchers in different universities and institutes were taking up the challenge of perennial crops - often inspired by his example.
The work of the Land Institute has been featured extensively in the popular media, including The Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, and All Things Considered.
"The agriculture we seek will act like an ecosystem, feature material recycling and run on the contemporary sunlight of our star."
- Wes Jackson
For the future, Jackson aims to establish a full-scale Center for Natural Systems Agriculture. An advisory team has been assembled who believe the work is worthy of major funding. In 1998, Newsweek described the Land Institute as "the spiritual home for a growing group of farmers, scientists and prairie visionaries who are quietly redefining the meaning of agriculture." And the article concluded: "The first domestication of grains paved the way for 10,000 years of civilization. If Jackson can persuade the world to re-examine the way we farm, he might just buy us another millennium or two."
Wes has an M.A. in botany from University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University. He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan and later established the Environmental Studies program at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor. He is the author of several books including Becoming Native to This Place (1994), Altars of Unhewn Stone (1987), Meeting the Expectations of the Land (1984, edited with Wendell Berry and Bruce Coleman) and New Roots for Agriculture (1980).
This event is sponsored by the Kresge College Common Ground Center, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. UCSC Food Systems Working Group and UCSC Sustainability Office, and Program in Community and Agroecology.