Wes Jackson on the problem of agriculture and the perennial solution
Wes Jackson is a visionary. Plant geneticist, founder of the Land Institute, he has a deep understanding of ecological communities — how the many species of life interact with one another on the land — and uses that knowledge to breed grains and other crops that feed the health of the land rather than detracting from it. Over decades he’s been breeding perennial grains, like Kernza, which grows deep roots, feeds the soil, helps sequester carbon, and is being made into products like bread and beer.
While the full potential of perennial crops has not yet been reached — Jackson compares this work to the invention of the airplane, and we’re not yet at the 747 — it may well have the capacity to address the biggest problems in agriculture: the many harmful chemicals and fossil fuel inputs, and the plow itself.
We talk to Kevin Watt from TomKat Ranch about the practice and benefits of regenerative agriculture, how to incentivize it, and the dire long-term consequences of the degenerative practices of industrial agriculture.
Kate Zeigler is a geologist who works with farmers and ranchers in the arid Southwest to monitor their wells and the water table that keeps them flowing–and helps them to come up with water conservation strategies.
Jillian Hishaw works with farmers to protect themselves, their families, and their land–legally and financially. Attorney and food systems strategist, she provides free or low-cost services, particularly to African American farmers.
The hemp plant is amazingly versatile and resilient, and it can be used to produce innumerable healthy products and services. So why was it made illegal, and what does the future hold? We talk to hemp farmers Ed Berg and Scott Perez.
What does it take to be an apprentice on a farm or ranch? What does it take to mentor the apprentices? Paul Neubauer knows both sides, and talks about learning–and teaching–both practical and personal skills on the land.
Diana Rodgers is the author of several books and is working on a new book and documentary film project, Sacred Cow. She hosts the Sustainable Dish podcast, and she lives and works on an organic farm in Massachusetts.
Dr. Robert Fetsch has for decades been helping farmers and ranchers deal with disabilities — from injuries brought on by hard work, to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and anger.
Nicole Masters is an agro-ecologist and educator in regenerative agriculture. She’s founder of Integrity Soils, and author of the new book, For the Love of Soil.
The food business is beginning to realize that they’re unsustainable — but don’t really know how to transition. Bio-Logical Capital provides demonstrations and research that point to possible paths forward.
Graeme Hand teaches Holistic Management, and how to restore grasslands with cattle–and his techniques might surprise you!