Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture by Wes Jackson

Book CoverConsulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture, Wes Jackson (Counterpoint, 2010)

Locavore leaders such as Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and Barbara Kingsolver all speak of the need for sweeping changes in how we get our food. Also a longtime leader of this movement is Wes Jackson, who, for decades, has taken it upon himself to speak for the grasses and the land of the prairie, to speak for the soil itself. Here, he offers a manifesto toward a conceptual revolution: Jackson asks us to look to natural ecosystems — or, if one prefers, nature in general — as the measure against which we judge all of our agricultural practices.

Wes Jackson believes the time is right to do away with monocultures, which are vulnerable to national security threats and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs. Soil erosion, overgrazing, and the poisons polluting our water and air — all associated with our contemporary form of American agriculture — foretell a population with its physical health and land destroyed.

In this eloquent and timely call to arms, Jackson asks us to look to nature itself to lead us out of the mess we’ve made. We do this by consulting with the natural ecosystems that will tell us, if we listen, what should happen to the future of food.

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Chelsea Green