Agicultural Sanity for A Change

An Interview with Wes Jackson (at Counterpunch)

Future Farming By ROBERT JENSEN

As everyone scrambles for a solution to the crises in the nation’s economy, Wes Jackson suggests we look to nature’s economy for some of the answers. With everyone focused on a stimulus package in the short term, he counsels that we pay more attention to the soil over the long haul.

“We live off of what comes out of the soil, not what’s in the bank,” said Jackson, president of The Land Institute. “If we squander the ecological capital of the soil, the capital on paper won’t much matter.”

Jackson doesn’t minimize the threat of the current financial problems but argues that the new administration should consider a “50-year farm bill,” which he and the writer/farmer Wendell Berry proposed in a New York Times op/ed earlier this month.

Central to such a bill would be soil. A plan for sustainable agriculture capable of producing healthful food has to come to solve the twin problems of soil erosion and contamination, said Jackson, who co-founded the research center in 1976 after leaving his job as an environmental studies professor at California State University-Sacramento.

Jackson believes that a key part of the solution is in approaches to growing food that mimic nature instead of trying to subdue it. While Jackson and his fellow researchers at The Land Institute continue their work on Natural Systems Agriculture, he also ponders how to turn the possibilities into policy. He spoke with me from his office in Salina, Kansas.

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Urban Farming Links - Wisconsin, Chicago, etc.

Milwaukee and Greater Wisconsin

Alterra Coffee

Family Farm Defenders

Fondy Food Center

Hunger Task Force

Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability

Milwaukee Renaissance

Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network

Neu Erth Worm Farm

Oneida Community Integrated Food System

Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative

Sixteenth Street Community Health Center

Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast

UW Cooperative Extension

Urban Aquaculture Center

Urban Ecology Center

Walnut Way Conservation Corp


Advocates for Urban Agriculture

After School Matters

Angelic Organics Learning Center

Chicago Botanic Gardens

Chicago Park District

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Fourth Presbyterian Church

God’s Gang

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Greater Chicago Food Depository

Green City Market

Green Youth Farm

Growing Home

Heifer International

Healthy Schools Campaign

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Organic School Project

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The Talking Farm

National and International Groups

Added-Value, Brooklyn, NY

Afri-Can Food Basket, Toronto, ON

The Brotherhood SisterSol, New York, NY

Community Food Security Coalition

East New York Farms, Brooklyn, NY

The Food Project, Lincoln, MA

Food Share, Toronto, ON

Growing Hope, Ypsilanti, MI

The Humane Metropolis

Heine Brothers Coffee, Louisville, KY

Just Food, New York City, NY

Massachusetts Avenue Project, Buffalo, NY

New Orleans Food and Farm Network, New Orleans, LA

People’s Grocery, Oakland, CA

ReVision Urban Farm, Dorchester, MA

Rooted in Community, Washington, D.C.

The South Plains Food Bank, Lubbock, TX