Keri Brandt and Janine Fitzgerald

Zombie Agriculture

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Industrial agriculture has resulted in dead soils and animals living in torturous conditions. We call this process “zombie agriculture” in reference to constant supply of synthetic inputs required to reanimate the dead. This process hurts farmers and ranchers relationships with their land and animals and allows consumers to eat without having to confront death. The imperative is to engage in eating and producing food as a sacred activity and being in relationship with all living beings. It is also about understanding that part of the human legacy is to be aware of the complexity of eating and its sacred relationship to death. This, we hold, brings us back to the radical center.

Keri Brandt, PhD is a Professor of Sociology at Fort Lewis College. Her research is primarily in the field of Human Animal Studies where she is endlessly fascinated with how humans and animals craft shared worlds together. She lives on the Off Family Ranch in the San Luis Valley with her husband David, a 4th generation cattle rancher, and their son Ryder.

Janine lives in a straw bale house she built with her husband on her parent’s dry land farm in Southwest Colorado. She gardens an old road on that land, milks her cow and makes cheeses. She has fought against oil and gas drilling in the HD Mountains with a coalition of ranchers, neighbors, and environmentalists. She also hays 20 irrigated acres of land that she and her sister co-own with her draft horses. Her day job is teaching Sociology and Environmental Studies at Fort Lewis College. Her area of interest is to honor the knowledge of rural people, animals, plants and soil with the “bookish” wisdom of academia.

We invite you to enjoy videos from our 2017 Conference here. The annual Quivira Conference is internationally renowned for bringing together leaders, innovators, and stewards of the land for three days of provocative plenary presentations, roundtable discussions, and networking with diverse attendees from across the southwest, the country, and globe. The conference creates a unique environment where ideas are sown, exchanged, and grown. Quivira’s outstanding speakers and attendees contribute expertise in ranching, farming, conservation, community, and all things soil, which is the key to it all. Every attendee brings something unique to the table, and each departs with inspiration, new connections, broader perspectives, and the tools necessary to effect change.

2017 Conference Speaker Videos

The Quivira Coalition documents its conference every year. We love to share the content of this event with those who were not able to join us in person.

2017 filming by Crash Roll Films and editing by Downstream Media Maven.

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More Resources

Technical Guides

Open-source know-how on erosion control, monitoring, apprenticeship and more.


Quivira’s annual newsletter.


Videos of speakers from past conferences

Down to Earth

The planet to plate podcast hosted by Mary-Charlotte Domandi