Prairie Festival 2022: New Roots - Growing a movement from the ground down
September 23-25th, 2022
The Land Institute
2440 E Water Well Rd
Salina, Kansas 67401
Prairie Festival emerges from its two-year dormancy this September, live and in-person (and live streaming) from our outdoor venue at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, USA. This year’s program explores themes of movement, new roots, and how we can adapt and create the tools we need for a livable future.
(Times are approximate and subject to change)
4:00-6:00 PM Registration Opens
Prairie Festival 2022 Begins! Camping areas are open for setup.
5:30-7:00 PM Food Trucks Open
6:30-8:00 PM Welcome Reception
New this year, the weekend kicks off with a reception at the Hedge Fire Circle, open to all guests. President’s Toast at 7:15 PM with a bonfire at dusk, weather permitting.
8:00 PM Barn Dance
Kick up your heels in the Big Barn with The Land Institute’s beloved Land Band at a traditional Barn Dance!
7:00 AM – 6:00 PM Registration Open
7:15 AM – 8:30 AM Kernza® Perennial Grain Pancake Feed
7:30 AM Bookstore Opens
8:00 AM – 12:30 PM Youth Program
Activities, Art Projects, Stories, and more. Ages 5-15 are welcome! Located south of the Research Building. Sign up required at the registration tent.
8:00 AM Welcome Bell
Head to the Big Barn for a full day of exploration, conversation, and connection.
8:30 AM Opening Remarks | Rachel Stroer, President of The Land Institute
8:45 AM Radical Appreciation: Standing in Right Relationship with Prairie Ecosystems | Linda Black Elk, Food Sovereignty Coordinator at United Tribes Technical College
Prairie systems hold a biodiversity, beauty, and resilience level that is rarely discussed. What makes prairies so special, and how can radical appreciation and relation-building contribute to restoring and protecting these landscapes? Join Linda Black Elk as she discusses ways to regenerate our relationship with the prairie.
9:30 AM Back to the Land: How to Live in the World without Destroying It | Eric Schlosser, Journalist, Author, Filmmaker
10:15 AM Break
10:35 AM evolve | become: works on paper from the Konza Prairie | Erin Wiersma, Prairie Festival Featured Artist
10:50 AM We Have Always Been at the Roots: The Black Farm Experience | A conversation with the Kansas Black Farmer’s Association. Hosted by Dr. JohnElla Holmes, Executive Director and President, with Donna McClish, Web Davis, and Ryan Tenney.
11:45 AM Remnant Agro-ecology: Notes from the Fertile Crescent | Dr. Omar Tesdell, Associate Professor of Geography, Birzeit University, Palestine |
11:30 AM – 2:00 PM Food Trucks Open
12:30 PM Lunch Break
2:00 PM Updates on Progress Toward a Perennial Future | The Land Institute’s
Dr. Tim Crews, Chief Scientist, and Dr. Aubrey Streit Krug, Director of Ecosphere Studies
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Research Field Tours, Demos, and Activities | The Land Institute team and partners. Look for the signs to guide you to activities. Field Tour sign-up at the registration tent is required.
5:00-6:00 PM Book Signings | Join Wes Jackson, Erin Wiersma, and more under the trees next to the bookstore.
5:00- 7:30 PM Food Trucks Open
5:30 PM Dinner Break
6:30 PM Bookstore Closes
7:30 PM A Concert in Celebration of the Earth | An evening with Paul Winter and Henrique Eisenmann, with special guest Wes Jackson
A journey through Paul Winter’s world of “living music,” this concert will feature his soprano sax with the dynamic accompaniment of Brazilian pianist Henrique Eisenmann along with the voices of Wolf, Whale, Wood Thrush, and other members of what Winter calls “the greater symphony of the Earth.” The musicians will also accompany Wes Jackson in a narration of texts from his environmental literature.
7:00 AM-12:30 PM Registration Open
7:30 AM Sunrise Activities
Led by Aubrey Streit Krug, Director of Ecosphere Studies at The Land Institute, and Kelly Kindscher, Senior Scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey. Meet at the Wauhob Prairie. Please arrive early, and don’t forget layers, hats, sunblock, and bug spray!
Meet on the lawn south of the Research Building. Please bring your own mat and water bottle.
8:00 AM Launch the Day With Music | Performance by Ann Zimmerman and friends
8:30 AM Bookstore Opens
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM Youth Program
Activities, Art Projects, Stories, and more. Ages 5-15 are welcome! Located south of the Research Building. Sign up required at the registration tent.
9:05 AM Opening Remarks | Rachel Stroer, President, The Land Institute
9:15 AM In Real Time: Chronicles of a Fate Unknown | A conversation with Alexia Leclercq, grassroots organizer and Co-Founder of Start:Empowerment, and Stan Cox, Research Fellow, Ecosphere Studies, The Land Institute
10:00 AM The Old Future is Gone | A conversation with Eric Schlosser and Wes Jackson
10:45 AM Break
11:05 AM Un Mango Grows in Kansas | Perennial Strachan and Vivian Donnelley Family Keynote Address, presented by Huascar Medina, Poet Laureate of Kansas
“You have found me / hidden in a wheat field / within a husk of corn / growing for you ”
Huascar Medina discusses the conversations and connections made during his tenure as the first Latino poet laureate of Kansas. Join us as Medina reads the poems he shared across the state of Kansas and beyond to open dialogue and bridge divides.
12:00 PM New Roots and Our Unthinkable Future | Rachel Stroer, President, The Land Institute
12:30 PM Book Signing with Huascar Medina under the trees next to the bookstore.
1:00 PM Closing Bell
Farewell to Prairie Festival 2022. See you next year!
1:00 PM Bookstore Closes
A live stream of Prairie Festival presentations and performances will be hosted on YouTube for guests who cannot travel to experience events remotely.
Huascar Medina, Poet Laureate of Kansas
Huascar Medina is the 7th Poet Laureate of Kansas (2019-2022), Lit Editor for seveneightfive magazine, creator/host of Kansas is Lit on 785live.com, a staff editor at South Broadway Press, an op-ed writer for the Kansas Reflector, a founding member of the Kansas Arts Writing Cohort and a member of the National Council on the Arts. He has published two collections of poetry: Un Mango Grows in Kansas (2020), a Kansas Notable Book award recipient, and How to Hang the Moon (2017). His words have appeared in The New York Times, Latino Book Review, Green Mountains Review, Flint Hills Review, KANSAS! Magazine, and elsewhere.
Linda Black Elk, Food Sovereignty Coordinator at United Tribes Technical College
Linda Black Elk is an ethnobotanist and food sovereignty activist specializing in teaching about culturally important plants and their uses as food and medicine. Linda is eternally grateful for the intergenerational knowledge of elders and other knowledge holders who have shared their understandings of the world with her, to whom she has dedicated her life to giving back to these people and their communities. Linda works to build ways of thinking that will promote and protect food sovereignty, traditional plant knowledge, and environmental quality as an extension of her work as a gardener, forager, fisher, hunter, and gatherer. With her family, Linda spearheaded a grassroots effort to provide organic, traditional, shelf-stable food and traditional Indigenous medicines to elders and others in need. Thus far, they have fed and healed thousands of people. She has written numerous publications and is the author of Watoto Unyutapi, a field guide to edible wild plants of the Dakota people. In addition, Linda proudly serves as the Food Sovereignty Coordinator at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota, to pass ethnobotanical and food systems knowledge to her remarkable students. She also sits on the board of Makoce Ikikcupi, a Reparative Justice project on Dakota lands in Minnesota. When she isn’t teaching, Linda spends her time foraging, hiking, hunting, and fishing on the prairies and waters of the northern Great Plains with her husband and three sons, who are all members of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires of the Lakota.
Dr. Omar Tesdell, Associate Professor of Geography, Birzeit University, Palestine
Omar Tesdell is an associate professor in the Department of Geography at Birzeit University in Palestine and is the Director of the Makaneyyat research group. He studies landscape and agroecological transformation. His peer-reviewed research has been published in refereed journals and has also been published with a team in Arabic, an article on the Makaneyyat group’s methodology (2022). He has also edited an Arabic-English guide entitled Palestinian Wild Food Plants, 2018 (CC licensed e-book) as part of a community-based research collective. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography and Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Minnesota.
Eric Schlosser, Journalist, Author, and Filmmaker
Eric Schlosser is the New York Times bestselling author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control. Schlosser was an executive producer of Richard Linklater’s feature film Fast Food Nation, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, the documentaries Food Chains and Hanna Ranch, and co-producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary Food, Inc. He was a producer of the documentary Command and Control, which was short-listed for an Oscar. He also serves on the Board of Directors of The Land Institute.
Dr. JohnElla Holmes, Executive Director and President of the Kansas Black Farmers Association
JohnElla Holmes serves as the Executive Director and President of the Kansas Black Farmers Association. Under her leadership, the organization has received numerous grants, enabling KBFA to focus its mission of education, research, and incorporation of best and regenerative farming practices for its members. She is a proud alumnus of Fort Hays State University with a master’s in communication and higher education and holds a doctoral degree from Kansas State University. Retired from K-State as an assistant professor, she continues to teach an online graduate course in multicultural advising. Residing in Historic Nicodemus, the oldest all-African American town west of the Mississippi River and a National Historic Site, JohnElla is a fifth-generation descendant of the original settlers. She has three children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Web Davis, Senior Policy Advisor, Farm Action
Webster Davis owns Triple D Produce near Auxvasse, Missouri. He works with local Future Farmer of America groups to secure vegetable starts and encourages youth to pursue food production as an occupation. Davis worked with Lincoln University as a mentor for the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS). He hosted an intern through Lincoln University and has served on the planning committees for Minority and Limited Resources Farmers and Ranchers Conferences. Webster is also a proud Ambassador for the Missouri AgrAbility program, which helps farmers and ranchers return to their passions and livelihoods after accidents. A veteran who turned 18 years old in boot camp, he served nearly 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and Missouri Army National Guard and is currently a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. He also conceived of and is Chairman of the State of Missouri NAACP Agriculture Committee, whose goal is to increase awareness of agriculture issues and opportunities. In addition, he proudly serves as the Secretary for the State of Missouri NAACP Conferences.
Donna McClish, Founder, CEO, Common Ground Mobile Market
Donna Pearson McClish is the founder and CEO of Common Ground Producers and Growers and Mobile Food hub. She is a multi-generational urban farmer and is involved in many community activities. Donna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Friends University and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Southwestern University.
Ryan Tenney, Farmer, Artist
Ryan Tenney is a returning generation farmer and artist in his 11th growing season. He is the owner of Sankara Farm, founded in 2017, and the founder of a community arts organization, AgroArt, a 2017 Charlotte Street Rocket Grant awardee. His artistic practice has accompanied and anticipated his agricultural work. In response to the current and ongoing crisis, his work in food sovereignty and culture has allowed him to make himself useful as an artist producing cultural work, a farmer growing organic produce, and in social movements, supporting mutual aid, sustainable agriculture, and art education projects.
Alexia Leclercq, Grassroots organizer, Artist, Co-founder, Start: Empowerment
Alexia Leclercq is a grassroots organizer, educator, scholar, and artist. She has led dozens of environmental justice campaigns, from passing national climate and chemical reform legislation and fighting for clean water to addressing aggregate mining pollutions, relocating toxic tank farms, organizing mutual aid reaching over 4,000 people, and more. Alexia is also the co-founder of Start:Empowerment, a social-environmental justice education non-profit, and her curriculum has reached over 120,000 students across the United States. The NYC Department of Education, UN Youth Assembly, and NYU Global Awards Center have recognized Alexia’s work. They were awarded the prestigious Brower Youth Award and Jericho Activism Prize. Alexia has spoken at numerous events, including Bioneers, CUNY Climate Education Conference, and Princeton University. Alexia graduated Summa Cum Laude from New York University, where she published research on the commodification of land and the impact of climate health during the Covid-19 crisis. Alexia is currently a graduate student at Harvard University.
Erin Wiersma, Prairie Festival Featured Artist
Artist Erin Wiersma’s art focuses on the body’s capacity to absorb and respond to an environment. Her current work is site-specific, incorporating Konza Prairie Biological Station elements. Wiersma was born in New Jersey and now resides in Manhattan, Kansas. She holds an MFA from the University of Connecticut and a BA from Messiah College. Wiersma is an Associate Professor at Kansas State University. Robischon Gallery in Denver, Colorado, and Galerie Fenna Wehlau in Munich, Germany, represent her.
Rachel Stroer, President of The Land Institute
Rachel Stroer serves as President of The Land Institute, the first woman president to lead the organization in its 45-year history. Stroer has held key roles at the institute since joining in 2015, including Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy Officer. Surrounded by a community of scientists and researchers, Stroer is now leading adoption of a bold new strategic vision to reconcile the human economy with Nature’s economy, starting with food. Under her stewardship, The Land Institute is catalyzing an international network of collaborators and advocates, connected across space and deeply rooted in place, working to develop diverse, perennial grain agriculture and an ecological future for all.
Stan Cox, Author and Research Fellow, Ecosphere Studies at The Land Institute
Stan Cox is a research fellow in Ecosphere Studies at The Land Institute. From 2000 through 2019, he led The Land’s perennial sorghum breeding program. He is the author of six books, most recently The Green New Deal and Beyond (2020) and The Path to a Livable Future (2021) and currently writes the monthly series ‘In Real Time,’ published and distributed by City Lights Books.
Dr. Tim Crews, Chief Scientist of The Land Institute
Chief Scientist Tim Crews has held several roles at The Land Institute, with his first and most extended engagements as Director of Research and Lead Scientist, Soil Ecology. Most recently, he served as the Director of Ecological Intensification. During his nearly decade-long tenure, he contributed crucial research to IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land Usage. In addition, he led vital work on diverse agroecology systems, carbon sequestration, and nitrogen fixation in perennial grain-legume polycultures. Tim was recently named the Director of the New Roots International Initiative to create an international network of hubs to support expanded research and adoption of perennial grain agriculture.
Dr. Aubrey Streit Krug, Director of Ecosphere Studies at The Land Institute
Aubrey Streit Krug is the director of Ecosphere Studies program at The Land Institute. A writer and teacher in the environmental humanities who studies stories of relationships between humans and plants, she earned her Ph.D. in English (American US & Indigenous literature) and Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also a student of the Omaha language and collaborates on educational and interdisciplinary projects that build knowledge across communities and cultures.
Wes Jackson, Co-Founder and President Emeritus of The Land Institute
Wes Jackson is the co-founder and president emeritus of The Land Institute. A 1992 MacArthur Fellow, he is the author and co-author of numerous books, including An Inconvenient Apocalypse: Environmental Collapse, Climate Crisis, and the Fate of Humanity, Hogs Are Up: Stories of the Land, with Digressions and New Roots for Agriculture. Jackson is widely recognized as a global leader in the movement for more sustainable agriculture. He was a Pew Conservation Scholar in 1990 and received the Right Livelihood Award in 2000. Life magazine included him as one of 18 individuals predicted to be among the 100 important Americans of the 20th century. Smithsonian in 2005 had him as one of “35 Who Made a Difference.”
Paul Winter, Musician
Paul Winter’s musical odyssey has long embraced the cultures and creatures of the world. His concert tours and recording expeditions have taken him to 52 countries and wilderness areas on six continents, into which he has traveled on rafts, dog sleds, horses, kayaks, tugboats, and Land Rovers. In addition, he has recorded over 50 albums, seven of which have been honored with Grammy awards.
Henrique Eisenmann, Musician
Drawing inspiration from different world genres, chants, voices, poems, and animal sounds, Henrique Eisenmann is changing the paradigm of contemporary improvisation, creating an original musical universe that is powerfully inventive, authentic, and accessible to anyone. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Eisenmann has always been intrigued with the idea of translating different musical sonorities to the piano. Henrique is a faculty member at The Juilliard School (NYC) and the New England Conservatory in Boston.
Ann Zimmerman, Musician
With roots deep in Kansas grasslands, Ann Zimmerman works musical magic with songs of life on the windy plains. Her confident Kansas style and compelling stage presence have taken her across the continent. Her songs – winners of the Wildflower! Festival, Great American Song, and the Just Plain Folks national song contests – tell stories and paint portraits, leaving audiences laughing, thinking, and singing. With four independent recordings, she is also a lawyer and mediator, an elementary education graduate with a Harvard Law degree.
The Land Band
Once a year, the Land Band musicians make a place in their complex lives to lead the traditional Friday evening Prairie Festival Barn Dance. Keyboardist Ann Zimmerman, Salina, known for her Sunday Prairie Festival performances, sings year-round and mediates legal disputes. Guitarist and teacher-rancher-songwriter Annie Wilson was named “Flint Hills Balladeer” by Kansas for Flint Hills-themed songs she performs with her band, Tallgrass Express. Lisa Grossman, an acoustic bassist from Lawrence, is better known for her landscape painting but loves playing for dances. Fiddler Alice Boyle joins us this year from Manhattan, where she teaches biology at K-State and performs with her band, Dire Ducks. Baldwin artist Matt Kirby also plays in the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band on a hammered dulcimer he built. Lisa Harris, our caller from Lawrence, loves to help people have fun through community dance and directs continuing education programs in transportation at the University of Kansas. Finally, Lenexans Frank and Christine Martin play in the contra dance band Calliope, which, like the Land Band, has been around for over 30 years; Frank plays a wooden flute, whistle, and banjo. Chris plays the accordion.
We will strictly follow the latest CDC guidelines. Protocols are subject to change.
A variety of food trucks and concessions will provide meal options for purchase. Attendees are also free to bring their own food, beverages, and coolers. Food truck menus will feature The Land Institute research crops, bison meat pastured on our land, and vegetarian and other options. There are also numerous restaurants within a 10-minute drive of The Land Institute.
This year, we have expanded our seating in our Research Building to provide an indoor ADA-compliant viewing area to watch a televised live broadcast of presentations from the Big Barn.
Kansas weather is unpredictable at all times. Come prepared for the weather to be hot, windy, dry, cold, rainy, wet, and muddy (sometimes all in one weekend!) We recommend wearing comfortable shoes and dressing in layers. Please protect yourself from the sun, ticks, and mosquitos.
Saturday & Sunday 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM Activities, Art Projects, Stories, and more. Ages 5-15 are welcome! Located south of the Research Building. Sign up required at the registration tent.
Saturday 7:30 AM – 6:30 PM, Sunday 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM Find books by Prairie Festival authors, The Land Institute team, and friends, plus a variety of Land Institute t-shirts, water bottles, mugs, and more! Co-hosted by The Raven bookstore from Lawrence, Kansas.
Pets are not allowed at Prairie Festival. Service animals are permitted.
Simple tent camping is available Friday and Saturday nights. No water or electrical hook-ups are provided. Amenities include port-a-potties, hand-washing stations, solar showers, electronic charging stations, and water stations. Campfires will be permitted unless there is a county-wide burn ban.
We cannot accommodate RVs or trailers. For our friends who will be traveling cross-country in motor homes, travel trailers, or fifth wheels, there are two campground-RV parks in Salina.
Hotels are within a 10-minute drive of The Land Institute. There are also numerous Airbnb and VRBO options in Salina and nearby communities.
Prairie Festival is held at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, USA.
Salina is located at the junction between Interstate 135, running north and south, and Interstate 70, running east and west.
Nearby airports include Salina Airport, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, and Kansas City International Airport. Car rentals are available at each airport, along with some shuttle services.
The first Prairie Festival occurred in 1979 on Sam and Terry Evans’ farm near Salina, Kansas, with David Brower as the featured speaker. Since then, our signature annual public event has drawn thousands of attendees worldwide.
Held over the last weekend of September along the banks of the Smoky Hill River on The Land Institute’s home campus outside Salina, Kansas, the festival revolves around “low tech” presentations by notable guests in The Land Institute’s Big Barn.
The Prairie Festival offers a unique opportunity to interact with some of the world’s most compelling authors, thinkers, artists, and advocates focused on agriculture, food, the environment, science, sustainability, and social and environmental justice.
Our science staff provides tours and an in-depth update on our plant breeding and ecology work and partnerships. There’s excellent food and music, the Hedge Fire Circle, and always a few surprises. Join us for the “intellectual hootenanny,” that has become a remarkable can’t-miss event on the prairie.
Videos of talks and presentations from previous Prairie Festivals can be viewed in our Video & Audio Library. To see the most recent speakers, visit 2019 speaker presentations on our YouTube channel.=