Helping America Navigate a New Energy Reality

Advisory Board – Wes Jackson

Wes Jackson is an American educator, biologist and the founder and president of the Land Institute. Wes Jackson established and chaired the Environmental Studies program at California Sate University — one of the first in the nation. He left academia to establish the nonprofit Land Institute in 1976. For three decades, the Land Institute has been working towards developing ‘Natural Systems Agriculture’ which uses nature as a model for more sustainable agricultural methods.

The nonprofit organization also publishes The Land Report, a newsletter about sustainable agriculture in America. One of Wes Jackson’s most powerful arguments is for ‘perennial polyculture.’ He advocates that more than one type of plant should be planted in the field, and that perennial plants should be grown rather than annual crops. This would better help prevent soil erosion, and would greatly reduce the need for polluting chemical fertilizers.

The Land Institute has been developing perennial wheat, sorghum and sunflower crops that can be used in this more sustainable agricultural model. Wes Jackson has written numerous articles and books about sustainable agriculture and other environmental issues. Life magazine predicted he would be among the 100 “most important Americans of the 20th century,” and in 2000 he received the Right Livelihood Award (often called the Alternative Nobel Prize) “…for his single-minded commitment to developing an agriculture that is both highly productive and truly ecologically sustainable.”