Wendell & Mary Berry, a conversation

(notes by Ben and Gordon Stallings on a talk given at the Land Institute's Prairie Festival, 2012)

35th anniversary of The Unsettling of America. Fields that have been in grass for a lifetime or more are now being herbicided and planted with corn or soybeans.

"Nature says keep the ground covered, and her best spokespeople have always said so." Annuals are nature's emergency crew, when there's a wound that needs to be covered, but you can't run indefinitely as an emergency.

P. Sainath, the farm as the last frontier

(Notes by Ben Stallings on a talk given at the Land Institute's Prairie Festival, 2012)

P. Sainath broke the story of farmer suicides in India. Prefers title of "rural reporter."

"The two greatest crops on this earth are hunger and thirst, not wheat and rice." The Arab spring was not about google and twitter, it was about agricultural policy and unemployment. The UN FAO food price index is a very accurate predictor of violence.

Eric Gimon - Decarbonizing the Grid

(Notes on a talk at the 2012 Land Institute Prairie Festival, transcribed by Ben & Gordon Stallings)

Sense of place meant different things from American and French grandparents. 5th generation vacationing in northern California alpine meadows. After studying neuroscience and physics, moved to Pasadena, took up hiking. Took on family foundation, made grant to Land Institute. Learned that global warming would affect alpine meadows. Father died suddenly, reevaluated physics career.

Michelle Mack: Fire, Ice, and the Future of Agriculture

Notes on a talk delivered at the Land Institute's Prairie Festival, September 29, 2012.  Notes by Ben and Gordon Stallings.

1) To the arctic and back

She is an ecosystem ecologist specializing in the mechanism of non-native grass invasions.

As a Land Institute intern 20 years ago, main memory is moving chairs, but also hearing famous speakers.  Now an ecologist, from questions asked as an intern Drawn to arctic for 14 summers and several winters to explore wild ecosystems and climate change. 

2) climate carbon connection

2012 Prairie Festival notes

(The notes below were taken by Gordon Stallings during a variety of short talks at the Land Institute's Prairie Festival, Salina, Kansas, 29 Sep 2012.)

Jim Cruse

Polyculture: Mixture of perennials.

Perennial agriculture preserves:

  • microorganisms
  • Carbon
  • Nitrogen
  • energy
  • water
  • soil

and reduces weeding.

Lee De Hahn - since 2001

Perennial wheat: Kernza is an intermediate wheat-grass, a close relative to wheat.


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