Transforming Agriculture, Perennially

Ecosphere Studies

*Join Director Dr. Aubrey Streit Krug in Perennial Practice experiential learning exercises through a new video series.

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

A just, caring, pluralistic society that accepts 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 develop sociocultural research and educational projects with a perennial perspective.

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.

Program History

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

In addition to colleagues at The Land Institute, our membership includes artists, activists, agroecologists, economists, farmers, geographers, historians, lawyers, philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and writers. They take what they learn back to their home places, where several are creating Ecosphere Studies courses and perennial education efforts.

Ecospheric learning and teaching is also going forward in public workshops and civic science projects as we create a network to engage people of all ages beyond formal school settings. We aim to embed emerging scientific knowledge about our ecosphere and perennial agriculture into durable educational and cultural practices, and to spread a new way of thinking throughout society.

Program Goals

Through transdisciplinary research and collaborations, we build learning communities to help society cross the threshold into a new perennial grain agriculture. Ecosphere Studies seeks to:

  • Create intergenerational practices of learning how to provide ongoing care to perennial crops, soils, and land communities.
  • Build the cultural capacity, values, and institutions needed for the positive transformation of human food systems.
  • Engage and educate the courageous constituency needed for just transition toward perennial agricultural economies.


Project Team

Aubrey Streit Krug
Director of Ecosphere Studies

Wes Jackson
President Emeritus

Carl Bowden
Ecosphere Studies Associate

Stan Cox
Lead Scientist, Perennial Sorghum/Ecosphere Studies Research Fellow

Siena Polk
Research Resident

Sophia Skelly
Research Resident


Abstract Glaring inequality, both between and within societies, makes it difficult to talk about ‘we’ – a collective human project of understanding and responding to multiple, cascading ecological crises. Assigning…

Read More

The classic domestication scenario for grains and fruits has been portrayed as the lucky fixation of major-effect “domestication genes.” Characterization of these genes plus recent improvements in generating novel alleles…

Read More

Program Videos

Support The Land Institute’s Ecosphere Studies efforts with a donation today!

learn more

Share On: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Select other ways to share