Wes Jackson and Perennials

Wes Jackson, founder of the Land Institute (http://www.landinstitute.org/) was on campus November 30 to present a seminar “An Agriculture where Nature is the Measure”.  Brad Cosentino, a postdoctoral associate in NRES hosted him as part of PEEC’s seminar series.   Wes, pictured here to the right of Mark David in front of a Miscanthus Plot on the Bioenergy Farm, was in classic good form, dealing a full rash of wisdom and wit.  He brought samples of Kernza, a wonderful whole gran flour made from perennial intermediate wheat grass that is being selectively bread at the Land Institute, and a beautiful display of perennial grass roots.  This link to an article in Scientific American written by Jerry Glover and John Reganold includes a photo of the roots displayed and makes the case for perennial agriculture. http://www.landinstitute.org/pages/Glover-et-al-2007-Sci-Am.pdf.  During his presentation, Dr. Jackson laid out a plan for a multi-institution research effort to develop the perennial grains needed to achieve his vision and lamented the damage that narrow disciplinary training has wrought on applied scientists.  In a plea for interdisciplinarity he used the blind kitten metaphor, explaining that they will never learn to see if blind folded during their early weeks of life.   After his presentation, which ran long because he had a lot to say, he joined a small group at a reception hosted by ASAP that was held at the Bread Company. It was a treat.

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