No Prairie Festival in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
Instead, stay tuned for a major announcement about the future of perennial agriculture.
Nine months ago, speaking from the stage of Prairie Festival 2019, Bill McKibben said that “the genius of The Land Institute is its cussed insistence on reality.” And indeed, for more than 40 years our hallmark has been to embrace the ecological facts of life on this planet and to follow those lessons wherever they lead, in matters large or small. This global pandemic year has brought a new ecological reality to the fore: in light of the ongoing need to drive down COVID-19 transmission rates, it would not be responsible or appropriate for us to gather hundreds of people physically together this fall. For this reason, we will not hold a Prairie Festival in 2020.
But COVID-19 – and the broader gaps in resilience it has illuminated – only serves to rededicate us to our vision of a more perennial and diverse future for ecosystems and the people who are part of them. From human health to climate change to systems that degrade people and soil alike, we understand that our problems are fundamentally interlinked. And so, the work of The Land Institute continues with more urgency than ever. We are about to take the next big step in the journey toward a perennial agriculture. Even though we won’t see you in Salina this September, please stay tuned for details of an online event this fall – a major announcement that will help shape the next 40 years of food and agriculture.
The decision to cancel this year’s Prairie Festival was not made lightly or without regret, and many in our community of supporters – whether 2020 would have marked your 42nd Prairie Festival or your first – will grieve the loss of the opportunity to gather together in the Big Barn by the Smoky Hill River this fall. But perennials are in it for the long haul. When they encounter tough conditions, they hunker down – and prepare to blossom again next season. Prairie Festival will return in 2021. And meanwhile our work continues unabated toward an agriculture and a culture both perennial and diverse.
President, The Land Institute