Consulting the Genius of the Place
An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture
By Wes Jackson
(Counterpoint LLC, Hardcover, 9781582435138, 272pp.)
Publication Date: October 2010
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Locavore leaders such as Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and Barbara Kingsolver all speak of the need for sweeping changes in how we get our food. Also a longtime leader of this movement is Wes Jackson, who, for decades, has taken it upon himself to speak for the grasses and the land of the prairie, to speak for the soil itself. Here, he offers a manifesto toward a conceptual revolution: Jackson asks us to look to natural ecosystems or, if one prefers, nature in general as the measure against which we judge all of our agricultural practices.
Wes Jackson believes the time is right to do away with monocultures, which are vulnerable to national security threats and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs. Soil erosion, overgrazing, and the poisons polluting our water and air all associated with our contemporary form of American agriculture foretell a population with its physical health and land destroyed.
In this eloquent and timely call to arms, Jackson asks us to look to nature itself to lead us out of the mess we’ve made. We do this by consulting with the natural ecosystems that will tell us, if we listen, what should happen to the future of food.
Wes Jackson is the president of the Land Institute and former professor at Kansas Wesleyan and California State universities. He is the author of several books, including "Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place," "Becoming Native to This Place," and "Altars of an Unhewn Stone,"