Prairie Festival 2022 – Opening Remarks
Rachel Stroer, President of The Land Institute kicks off Prairie Festival 2022 in the Big Barn.
Is the Future of Agriculture Perennial – Groundswell 2022
Researcher, collaborator, and board member Lennart Olsson presented at the UK’s premier regenerative agriculture conference, Groundswell 2022, on perennial agriculture.
The root causes of many environmental problems in agriculture, like greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, nutrient leaching, water pollution, and high agrochemical use, come from our dependence on annual crops and cropping systems. Social predicaments, like labor and capital intensity, our dependence on expensive inputs, and government subsidies can also be attributed to annual crops.
Shifting to perennial grains could dramatically improve all these aspects. Recent advances in domestication and breeding of new perennial grain crops show the technical feasibility of shifting to perennial crops. However, what are the prospects of such a radical shift toward this “perennial revolution” when it is at odds with the economic interests of the agricultural inputs industry?
Lennart Olsson presents potentials and obstacles and gives three reasons for optimism about the future.
Kernza® Perennial Grain Meeting 2022 in Salina, Kansas. An international group of presenters included Tessa Peters, Lee DeHaan, Aubrey Streit-Krug, Sophia Skelly, Amy Teller, Jake Jungers, Tara Ritter, Hanne Thomsen, Guangbin Luo, Javad Najafi, Pedro Correia, Prabin Bajgain, Jared Crain, Steve Larson, Valentin Picasso, Thomas McKenna, Olivier Duchene, Hannah Stoll, Connie Carlson, Tim Crews, Jess Gutknecht, Colin Cureton, George Annor, Christopher Abbott, Douglas Michael, Alexandra Diemer, Peter Miller, and Tammy Kimbler.
George Monbiot: Regenesis – Feature The Land Institute
George Monbiot discussed his new book, Regenesis with journalist and broadcaster Lucy Siegle live from London. A team from The Land Institute was present in the live audience. Kernza® perennial grain was featured in the talk.
Monbiot opens Regenesis with a chapter on the fundamentals of soil science and covers the use of perennial rather than annual crops, i.e. crops that can be harvested multiple years in a row.
“Large areas dominated by annual plants are rare in nature. They tend to colonize ground in the wake of catastrophe […] in cultivating annuals, we must keep the land in the catastrophic state they prefer.”
Is Science Enough? Aviva Chomsky and Stan Cox
Video recording of Professor Aviva Chomsky, author of Is Science Enough: Forty Critical Questions About Climate Justice, and author Stan Cox speak virtually at the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center. This book examines why social, racial, and economic justice are as crucial as science in determining how we can reverse climate catastrophe.
Perennial Grain Species as Border Crops Webinar Recording
Watch video of Dr. Ebony Murrell from The Land Institute and Jessica Butters from Kansas State University hosting a virtual webinar to discuss data collected during a 3-year research study on utilizing perennial grain species as border crops, and the services they provide in pollinator habitat, weed suppression, and forage potential. They also gave a brief virtual tour of the research plots and answered questions regarding perennial border crops and the services they provide.
Border crops have the potential to deliver agronomically important ecosystem services to crop fields. Perennial plantings could be advantageous in providing low-maintenance ground cover for field borders, flowers for pollinators, and even forage for livestock. In this webinar, we will discuss the border crop potential of four perennial species at The Land Institute being domesticated as perennial grain crops – sainfoin, silflower, cup plant, and Kernza® – compared to two known border and forage crops, alfalfa and a 9-species prairie mixture.
A Perennial Revolution of Agriculture – Is It Desirable, Possible, Imminent?
About 87% of the world’s harvested area is cultivated with annual crops, mainly grains, that must be resown every year/season. As continued climate change is rendering our existing cultivars increasingly vulnerable to stress, a shift to perennial grain crops would turn cropping into a carbon sink for decades, would likely reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as nitrous oxide, and would significantly reduce erosion and nutrient leakage. Perennial crops also have the potential to drastically reduce the costs of farming by cutting the need for external inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, machinery, energy, and labor) and hence generate social and economic advantages particularly to farmers and rural societies.
As part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the UN is convening a Food Systems Summit to highlight how organizations are harnessing science, technology, and innovation to work towards the aspiration of efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems. As a side event associated with the Science Days for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, The Land Institute (USA) in collaboration with Birzeit University (Palestine), Lund University (Sweden), Yunnan University (China), and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden), hosted a conversation about the potential of perennial agriculture.
An Integrative Story: Civic Science Communities for Perennial Crops and People
Oct. 1, 2020–For the next installment in the Center for the Study of the American West’s (CSAW) research talk series, Aubrey Streit Krug, Director of Ecosphere Studies at The Land Institute, presented “An Integrative Story: Civic Science Communities for Perennial Crops and People.” Aubrey Streit Krug is a writer, teacher, and researcher who studies stories of relationships between humans and plants.
At The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, Aubrey leads transdisciplinary civic science communities that bring together researchers and a range of people around the US to grow and observe new perennial grain crops. These civic science projects involve collecting agroecological data and learning through people’s stories, images, and experiences. Streit Krug grew up in a small town in Kansas, where her parents farm wheat and raise cattle, and she loves limestone soils and rocky prairie hillsides. She holds a PhD in English and Great Plains Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a co-author of the collaborative textbook The Omaha Language and the Omaha Way.
CSAW research talks are a chance for academics to share in-progress work related to the American West.