Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Jill and I just went and saw a talk by Wes Jackson of the Land Institute. Very interesting -- he talked a lot about how when we think of cool local agriculture, we are thinking about the cool farmers who are growing vegetables and fruits. He thinks that's totally great but the problem is that 68 percent of our agriculture is devoted to grains and it is mostly in the midwest where there is not a lot of opportunity to grow lots of veg. So while he is completely in support of the current trend in local agriculture he wants to also focus on overhauling the way we grow grains, primarily by breeding (not using genetic modification) perennial versions of our staples (primarily wheat, which seems the easiest). These perennials will have longer roots, thus less erosion and water run off anbd less need to fetilize. basically he would recreate the prairies, but with grasses that produce seeds in bulk that we could eat.