Week of January 31, 2021



Kansas is the home of an internationally known organization that is dedicated to bringing farmers, scientists, and communities together using what they refer to as “Natural Systems Agriculture”.  Founder, author and visionary, Wes Jackson, was one of the first to use the term “sustainable agriculture” and to go on to develop a pathway to perennial grain production.  The production of perennial grain crops is a game changer in retaining and even replenishing the fertility of the soil.  We know that soil can be a great carbon sink, if undisturbed, but releases carbon when plowed into year after year.  The Land Institute, close to Salina, sent out a snapshot of their activities for the year just ended.  Here are some of the highlights for the year 2020:

In Yunnan Province China, farmers and scientists that collaborate with The Land Institute have at least 14,800 acres panted in perennial rice.  More acres are planned for this year.  In the United States, more than 100 visionary farmers, 20 or more organizations and dozens of food and beverage producers are working to bring the perennial wheat known as Kernza into the marketplace.  (personal note:  bread made from perennial wheat called Kernza has a nutty whole wheat taste—sampled at a Prairie Festival at the Land Institute several years ago).  University soil scientists and farmers in Argentina and Germany are experimenting with over 99 wild prairie plants babied in the greenhouse of the Land Institute.  They are joining others at Kansas Universities and universities in Minnesota and Colorado.  There plants were gathered from remnant prairies and modified in the natural manner.  More than 53 other global partnerships are studying and getting prepared to participate in some more practical manner in the future.  The scientists and the lay people at the Institute authored or co-authored 12 articles in peer-reviewed journals in 2020.  The Land Institute has 43 employees working at the present time.

All of us should be proud of the work that The Land Institute is doing in furthering the concept of sustainable agriculture.  When the pandemic has subsided, plan to visit The Land Institute.  Also, check their website to see when the next Prairie Festival is scheduled.  It is a weekend filled with wonderful speakers, chances to see the work up close and have fun too.


EARTH STEWARD ACTION:  Please check out the website for the Land Institute and, if able, donate.  Also, begin or continue your compost pile.  It is a personal way to increase soil fertility.

SOURCES:  Please go to https://landinstitute.org and www.kernza.org