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

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

by Wes Jackson


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

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. A longtime leader of this movement is Wes Jackson, who for decades has taken it upon himself to speak for the land, 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.

Jackson believes the time is right to do away with annual monoculture grains, which are vulnerable to national security threats and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs. Soil erosion and the poisons polluting our water and air—all associated with agriculture from its beginnings—foretell a population with its natural fertility greatly destroyed.

In this eloquent and timely volume, Jackson argues we must look to nature itself to lead us out of the mess we’ve made. The natural ecosystems will tell us, if we listen, what should happen to the future of food.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781582437804
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 10/04/2011
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part I Some History and Assumptions

Chapter 1 Introduction 3

Chapter 2 One Man's Education 19

Chapter 3 Earth Is Alive 64

Chapter 4 The 3.45-Billion-Year-Old Imperative and the Five Pools 73

Chapter 5 The Rise of Technological Fundamentalism 85

Part II Losses

Chapter 6 The Most Serious Loss of All 100

Chapter 7 Chemicals on the Landscape 131

Chapter 8 The Loss of Cultural Capacity 135

Chapter 9 Global Warming: How a Little Change Can Mean a Lot 140

Part III Reversing the Damage

Chapter 10 Consulting the Genius 146

Chapter 11 A 50-Year Farm Bill Proposal Goes to Washington 177

Chapter 12 An Appeal to the Russians 188

Chapter 13 Were Ants the First Agriculturists? 201

Part IV Analyzing the Resistance

Chapter 14 Analyzing the Resistance 208

Part V Away From the Extractive Economy

Chapter 15 Away From the Extractive Economy 218

Part VI An Enigma

Chapter 16 Thoughts on the Natural History of Eden 238

Coda 243

Acknowledgments 250

References and Notes 254

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