Three Wise men, Planting Ideas Where It Counts
by Al Cross
Author-farmer Wendell Berry, right, geneticist Wes Jackson, center, and sustainable-agriculture advocate Fred Kirschenmann, left, lobbied the Obama administration and senators this week “for a new kind of food policy,” The Washington Post reports. The trio wants “a 50-year-farm bill, a proposal for gradual, systemic change in American farming. The plan asks for $50 million annually for plant breeding and genetics research. But it also puts forward a new vision of agriculture, one that values not only yields but also local ecosystems, healthy food and rural communities.”
Jackson is president of the Kansas-based Land Institute, Berry farms and writes at Port Royal, Ky., and Kirschenmann is a fellow at Iowa State University‘s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and president of New York’s Stone Barns Center. They are looking for allies in urban America, not just in Congress.
“We’re building a constituency, an urban agrarian constituency that is devoted to farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture,” Berry told the Post’s Jane Black. “You’ve got a farm population that’s too small to count. So should we delude ourselves that we represent a politically significant population? No farmer thinks that. We’re not going to get anywhere if we don’t have urban allies.” For the Q & A with Black, published in the Food and Dining section of the Post, with the same headline as above, click here.
Reprinted with permission from The Rural Blog. Al Cross, former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and The Rural Blog.