EarthLight Resources

The Land Institute

Exploring the relationship of Ecology & Spirituality

Empowering individuals and faith communities
to live and work in touch with the Earth

EarthLight is a magazine published quarterly by the Unity with Nature Committee
of the Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends [Quakers]

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The Land Institute Programs

Background information to go with the article Land, Community, and Love
[EL #23, Fall 1996, p 10-11]
by Wes Jackson

The Natural Systems Agricultural Program (perennial polyculture research) seeks to develop an agriculture with the ecological benefits of native prairie - using nature as the standard for growing our grains.
The Sunshine Farm Research Program grows conventional crops without pesticides or fertalizers using innovative management techniques and renewable energy technologies. Through research and demonstration, the Sunshine Farm is designed to explore the possibilities of farming without fossil fuels. The farm finished its fourth season, collecting comprehensive data on the energy, materials, and labor expended on the farm. We also have integrated our longhorn cattle with the cropland by having them graze in the fall and winter on strips of crop residue and legume cover crops.
Our program in Matfield Green promotes the promise of ecology as an organizing principle for human communities. Here we look to develop conceptual tools which will help communities for cultural innovation and adaptation. We have completed restoration of the old grade school in Matfield and hired an individual to coordinate conferences for the faculty.
The Intern Program at Salina is designed to develop leders committed to the builing of a sustainable agriculture and its integration into a sustainable society. Each year we bring in a highly motivated group of post-baccalaureate students for a 43-week 'head and Hands' learning experience, balencing their responsibilities between field research, classroom discussions and lectures, and farm labor.

Two Recent Successes

The Land Institue signed a mission statement drafted by a committee of Kansas University scientists to conduct joint Natural Systems Agriculture research guided by our 'nature as measure' philosophy. This document represents a major breakthrough for the credibility of The Land Institutežs research.
The Land Institue worked with officials in the US Department of Agriculture to determine how the 'natural systems' approach could be integrated into the USDA research agenda. They Also contracted to develop a report to recommend in specific terms the best strategy for creating a team of researchers committed to the natural systems approach. Natural Systems Agriculture language was incorporated in the 1995 Agriculture Appropriations Bill signed into the law this fall by President Clinton.

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Return to: list of resources to go with articles in EarthLight #23

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Page last updated on 2/14/97 by Tom Farley of Spontaneous Combustion