The Shift to Perennialization in Agriculture & the Broader Culture
To maintain annual agriculture, we wipe out perennial vegetation and effectively destroy everything on the landscape in order to plant crops every year. The negative consequences of this ecological disaster include soil erosion, loss of organic matter, and loss of nutrients. So, what if we shifted to a perennial crop system that regrows from year to year without having to be reseeded? Could such a transition facilitate a broader cultural shift toward sustainability and justice? And what impact would perennialization have on reversing climate change?
Fred Iutzi and Tim Crews serve as President and Director of Research, respectively, at The Land Institute, a nonprofit based in Salina, Kansas. The organization is focused on developing perennial grains, pulses and oilseed bearing plants grown in diverse crop mixtures known as perennial polycultures. The team of 40 plant breeders and ecologists on six continents are collaborating to create an agricultural system that mimics natural systems, producing ample food and reducing the negative impacts of industrial agriculture.