Transforming Agriculture, Perennially

Ecosphere Studies

Ecosphere Studies asks: if the ecological future of agriculture is to be perennial and diverse, what is required of us in social terms?

Through transdisciplinary research and collaborations, we build learning communities that help society cross the threshold into diverse, perennial grain agricultures.

Key Tenets

  • Just, caring, knowledgeable communities that accept limits may be our best hope to sustain ourselves and bring perennial crops that hold soil and work with ecosystems into production. Our motivation for developing sustainable agriculture is to ensure the longevity of such equitable communities.
  • Ecosphere Studies investigates what we need to learn and remember if we are to create good human futures, nourishing people’s minds, hearts, and bodies. We explore the richness and relevance of perenniality and diversity for human communities. We develop sociocultural research and educational projects for a perennial future.
  • We emphasize material and energetic constraints. For life to thrive in the ecosphere, we must embrace healthy limits. The ecosphere is the creative, living globe that is our home. Rather than viewing Earth as a planet composed of living and non-living parts, and people as separate from our environments, Ecosphere Studies understands human communities as nestled within ecosystems.

Prairie Festival visitors participate in a sunrise walk organized by the Ecosphere Studies team that led participants through native prairie and woodlands along with Land Institute perennial crop breeding plots.


Join us by supporting this work with a donation to The Land Institute!


Program History

In 2015, Wes Jackson convened a conference about how the invention of new perennial grain crops grown in mixtures requires new ways of thinking and making a living within the ecosphere. Since then, Ecosphere Studies has designed events and experiments to bring together researchers, teachers, students, and community members to co-produce and test ecospheric approaches to unlearning and learning.

Program Goals

  • Create intergenerational practices and localized models of learning how to provide ongoing care to crops, soils, and land communities
  • Develop accessible educational materials and opportunities—such as civic science communities—that share emerging scientific knowledge about diverse, perennial grain agricultures and that empower people to courageously move toward a perennial future
  • Grow projects and partnerships that accelerate near-term perennialization for landscapes and people


In addition to colleagues at The Land Institute, our membership includes artists, activists, agroecologists, economists, farmers, geographers, historians, lawyers, philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and writers.

Key collaborators include:

  • Bill Vitek, New Perennials Project director, Middlebury College
  • Robert Jensen, professor emeritus at the University of Texas-Austin
  • Omar Tesdell, Makaneyyat research collective in Palestine

Educational Resources

Aubrey Streit Krug presents a series of six experiential learning videos, called Perennial Practice, which introduce The Land Institute’s work, invite us to observe the world more closely, and help us reflect on our outlook and choices.

watch videos


The Land Institute’s Ecosphere Studies team and collaborators share their foundational knowledge and perennial inquiry in an educational collection freely available to the public. The Perennial Turn: Contemporary Essays from the Field, edited by Bill Vitek, includes a dozen essays by scholars, activists, and artists including Wes Jackson, Aubrey Streit Krug, Stan Cox, Terry Evans and Rena Detrixhe, who focus on the interaction between people, societies, and the larger living world.

Download PDF

Project Team

Aubrey Streit Krug
Director of Ecosphere Studies

Wes Jackson
President Emeritus

Stan Cox
Senior Researcher, Ecosphere Studies

Anna Andersson
Research Technician, Civic Science

Lydia Nicholson
Post-Baccalaureate Researcher, Ecosphere Studies & Crop Stewardship

Claire Wineman
Post-Baccalaureate Researcher, Ecosphere Studies

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